Donald Lunsford headshot

Donald Lunsford teaches Open Studio Practice Jazz. Throughout 20-plus years of instructing, he has constructed a jazz fusion dance class with therapeutic elements to condition and rehabilitate the body. His incorporation of holistic aesthetics into dynamic movement lead his direction of apprentice-, collegiate-, and professional-level performing artists. Lunsford’s teachings aim to accommodate all dance idioms and moving bodies.


Donald T. Lunsford is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia and holds a degree in Horticultural Science. He began dancing as recreation, performing in studio concerts, campus plays, and musicals. Lunsford’s formal training began at University of the Arts, where he earned a BFA in Modern Dance. At that same time, he entered PHILADANCO’s training program. Ultimately, Lunsford became the featured dancer and guest artist for the company.

Since 1990, Lunsford has inspired dancers through his artistic direction with Danco 2 (D/2), the Philadelphia Dance Company’s apprentice performance group. Under his leadership, many dancers have moved on to other companies and schools, including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York, New York; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ohio; Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver, Colorado; Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas; Garth Fagan Dance, Rochester, New York; The Washington Ballet, Washington, D.C.; the Juilliard School, New York, New York; Rod Rodgers Dance Company, New York, New York; African-American Dance Ensemble, Inc., Philadelphia; Muntu Dance Theatre, Chicago; Transitions, Yuba City, California; Koresh Dance Company, Philadelphia; Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Los Angeles; Ron Brown’s Evidence, Brooklyn, New York; and PHILADANCO, Philadelphia.

A winner of the American College Dance Festival Award, Lunsford is listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities and the Who’s Who Among American Teachers. He has received a certificate of appreciation from the Mayor’s Office of Community Services and has been recognized as part of the 100 Black Men Making a Difference. A recipient of a fellowship grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, he was honored with the African American Theater Arts Award, in association with the National Create-A-Drama Laboratory for research in the related arts. He attended the ADF Teachers Enrichment and Skill Enhancement training and the Philadelphia New Impulse Choreographers Workshop. Lunsford has also been a recipient of several choreographic grants, including a Philadelphia New Edge Mix and C.E.C. Dance Advance Grant.

Lunsford has taught and choreographed for Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Swarthmore College, among other institutions. Presently, he is an adjunct professor at UArts and serves on the faculty of PHILADANCO, the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, and Wissahickon Dance Academy. Lunsford is also a performance coach for new and upcoming artists with the label I AM Entertainment group.


Professional Experience

  • Artistic director and choreographer, Philadanco D2, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997–present

  • Philadelphia public schools, 2000–2003

  • The History of African American Dance, Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pennsylvania

    • Stage manager, 2003–2005

    • Producer/director 2004–2005

  • Director of dance program, jazz instructor, Unique Physique, 1987–1988

  • Founder and artistic director, Dance ldioms, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1989–1994

  • Choreographer and performer for dance fashion shows, CDC Productions, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1987–1994

  • Director of dance and fitness, Unique Physique, 1987–1988

Professional Performance Experience

  • Guest soloist, Philadanco, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2003

  • Company member, Jean Ruddy Dance, 2001–2003

  • Film guest performer, Beloved, 1998

  • Guest performer/choreographer, Night Music, WHYY-TV, 1986

  • Guest performing artist, Philadelphia Civic Ballet, Pennsylvania, 1985–1987

  • Guest performing artist, I’Domeneo, Academy of Vocal Arts, 1983

  • Company member, Waves, 1981–1984 (performances include appearance at 1984 Emmy Awards)

  • Company member, Falstoff, Rumpelstiltskin, Joan of Arc, Philadelphia Opera Company, Pennsylvania, 1981–1983

  • Guest performing artist, Annual Dance Celebration Festival, Philadelphia Community College, Pennsylvania, 1980

  • Company member, Group Motion, 1979–1983

  • Company member/soloist, Philadanco, 1979–1992

  • Choreographer and performer, Tenor Suite and Abie's Last Stand, Theatre Center of Philadelphia, 1978–1979

Teaching Experience

  • Adjunct professor, University of the Arts, 1983–present

  • Ballet, jazz and modern teacher, Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, Pennsylvania, 1989–1994

  • Jazz and modern teacher, Philadelphia Dance Company's Summer Program, Pennsylvania, 1995–present

  • Jazz, modern and improv teacher, Wissahickon Dance Academy, Germantown, Pennsylvania 2000–present

  • Fitness and exercise teacher, Celebrate Age Expo,

  • Dance therapy, exercise and conditioning teacher, Philadelphia Corporation on Aging, Pennsylvania, 1994

  • Choreography instructor, musical entertainment groups, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, tristate area, 1995–present

  • Instructor, City of Philadelphia's Cultural Arts & Education Summer Program, Phil-a-job, Pennsylvania, 1989

  • Ballet, modern, jazz, improv instructor, Bucks County Dance Center, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, 1988

  • Modern and jazz instructor, Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1986–1988

  • Instructor, all levels, jazz dance and jazz dance performance, Performing Arts High School, 1986–1989

  • Jazz instructor, School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia, 1985

  • Jazz and modern instructor, all levels, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, 1984–1986

  • Jazz and modern instructor, Civic Ballet Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1984–1986

  • Jazz and modern jazz instructor, all levels, Waves Jazz Dance Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1983–1986

  • Jazz instructor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1983–2000

  • Jazz instructor, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, 1981–1983

  • University of Pennsylvania Upward Bound program, 1983

  • International Association of Blacks in Dance, 1996–present

  • Alonso King’s Choreographers Intensive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997

  • American Dance Festival, Durham, North Carolina, 1996

  • American Dance Festival and University of the Arts, 1996

  • New Impulses Choreographer’s Workshop, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1995

Awards & Accolades

Lunsford has been honored numerous times for his work. 

  • Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, 1981

  • American College Dance Festival Award in Choreography, 1983

  • African American Theater Arts Award for Choreography, 1987–1988

  • Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, 1993

  • 100 Men Making a Difference, 1994

  • Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 1995

  • Kennedy Center Certificate of Merit for Choreography, Villanova University Theatre, Pennsylvania, 1998

  • Festival Des Arts, De Saint Sauveur Choreography Competition, Quebec, Canada, 1998

  • American Dance Festival Scholarship Recipient, 2000

  • Most Outstanding Teacher, Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, 2000 and 2005

  • Fellowship Grant From Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, 2003

  • New Impulses Choreographers Workshop, 2003

  • New Edge Mix Dance Advance Choreography Grant recipient, 2003

  • Dupont Certificate of Appreciation, The Dupont Black History Month Celebration, 2014