Heidi Echols

Heidi Echols

Chair and Professor of Dance
Third Floor Commons Building Dance Studio



Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Ms. Heidi Echols came to Salem in 2001. Before teaching at Salem she professionally danced in New York, worked in retail management with Abercrombie and Fitch, and taught dance at UNC Greensboro. The history and strong liberal arts focus attracted her to Salem. She also liked the small class size and being able to work closely with students. Ms. Echols wanted to make a real difference in students’ lives and be at a college that allowed for growth and faculty interaction.

Ms. Echols is in charge of the Dance Studies programs at Salem. She teaches courses such as ballet, jazz, modern, dance history, and choreography, and the dance program offers special topics such as Dance for Everyone and West African dance. Besides teaching, she serves as the faculty adviser for the Salem College Dance Company.

Ms. Echols also directs the Center for Teaching Excellence at Salem. In that role, she organizes workshops, discussions, and guest speakers to assist faculty with building innovative teaching. Other community involvements include the NC Dance Alliance and the NC Association for Athletics Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance. In terms of research, Ms. Echols is interested in how dance defines gender roles, focusing on how dance creates and maintains social constructs.

In her spare time Ms. Echols teaches yoga and a creative movement dance class for three-to-five-year olds in Greensboro, where she lives. She also enjoys having dance parties with her children, Samuel, Arden, and Simone, as well as going to the park and pool and spending time with loved ones.

Advice to prospective dance students:

“Dance is not only the study of movement…it is an academic discipline with theory and rich history. Since the beginning of time, we have danced!”

Favorite Books:

  • Anatomy of the Spirit 
  • Ethics for the New Millenium 
  • When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough 

Favorite Quote:

  “I see dance being used as a means of communication - to express what is too deep, too fine for words.” 

—Ruth St. Denis 

  • BA, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; MFA, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Research Interests:
Movement research, gender embodiment through dance
Personal Interests:
Yoga, poetry, family