“Sarah is consistently committed to recruit and motivate dancers and to bring professional performers, dance students, and members of several communities together to share works and ideas. She is a talented, hard working, passionate practitioner and advocate of contemporary dance. Her dedication and capability to motivate performers coupled with her unique artistic vision make her truly outstanding. The high standards that she sets for herself can only be of the utmost value to the dancers under her direction and the dance students in the classroom.”

—Susana B. Williams
View the full letter from Susana B. Williams. (PDF)

“My first class to attend as a Freshman at the University of Alabama was ‘Intro to Dance’ taught by professor Sarah Barry. From the very first class that I took, I realized that Sarah’s approach to teaching and movement in general was unique. Unlike most dance professionals, she encouraged creative exploration of movement rather than requiring all students to move exactly the same. Sarah encouraged each student to express themselves according to their ability, strengths, and interpretation while educating on various approaches that could be taken. This was extremely influential in my career, because I realized through Sarah’s approach that although I did not possess the technical execution of other classmates, that if I explored, I would be able to create something that was truly unique. Realizing this, I continued with dance classes at UA graduating with a degree in Dance. Throughout the four years that I studied under Sarah I always felt valued as a student because she focused on making each student the best that they could be as an artist based on their individuality without being concerned of ‘right or wrong’- this to me is inspiring.”

—Morgan Hamm

 “I absolutely loved the time that I had working with Sarah as an undergraduate! Entering UA as strictly a ballet-focused dancer I really believe she helped me branch out and explore other types of dance that I was not formerly comfortable with! Her creativity and expertise in specifically modern dance really influenced me and I had never experienced true modern dance technique until my time at the university. I believe Sarah without a doubt has a special talent and an eye for lines and choreographing truly exotic pieces of work. She inspired me and helped me branch out like I never thought I could!”

—Kelly A. Beckham

 “Sarah Barry is truly one of the most inspiring dance instructors I have ever had. She taught be to believe that dance is more than just a form of entertainment. Thanks to her and her love and respect for the art of dance, I have learned that dance can be a form of true artistic expression, portraying and evoking the most complex emotions and lifting both dancer and viewer to a higher state of self awareness and deeper state of emotion.”

—Lindsay Sockler

“Sarah Barry is the most professional and caring faculty member I came across while at UA. Sarah acted as my professor, choreographer, and faculty adviser. Beyond that, Sarah helped me immensely in my academics and personal life because she truly cares about all of her students. I felt (and still do) that she was always on my side and very willing to help with any situation. I cannot imagine my career as a student being as successful without her.

Sarah was able to help me grow as a dancer. During my sophomore year, she gave me the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a performance. I was able to take classes, watch the other performers, and learn many of the behind the scenes aspects of performance. Additionally, I had the privilege to work with Sarah on multiple pieces of her choreography. She puts 110% into all of her work. She is a fabulous choreographer to work with and every performer knows that they will grow and better themselves with each rehearsal and performance.

I also had the opportunity to take one of Sarah’s dance academic courses. She is an incredibly professional teacher and always expects her students to do their best day in and day out. I learned a lot from her class because she was always well prepared and committed to our learning. She also made her class incredibly fun and interesting, which is not a characteristic everyone can posses.

Above all else, Sarah is a fabulous person, mentor, and role model. I had some very trying times during my four years in college, and I always knew that Sarah was there and that she cared. Without Sarah, I’m honestly not sure I would have been able to finish college.”

—Ashley Young


“Sarah was a big help to me in my time at UA. I knew that if I ever had a question or concern, she would have the right answer or point me in the right direction. She has so much to offer her students and is extremely knowledgeable. Even though I was in only one of Sarah’s dances, it pushed me in new ways and opened my eyes to all areas of dance.”

—Jamal Edwards

“I observed Sarah’s organizational and people skills as she worked with the school principals and physical education teachers [to implement the Dance in the Schools Program]. Her excellence as an educator was accentuated by her students. The three teaching groups were always well prepared, ready to teach skills they had learned from their teacher.”

—Regina Noland
View the full letter from Regina Noland. (PDF)

“I have a true passion for choreography and Sarah’s classes helped me to become a better creator. She taught us about a huge range of dance and in doing so about how to create and make dance innovative. I did not have the blessing of knowing so much about dance until I enrolled in her classes. She taught me how to not only dance about my thoughts, but how to write and talk about my choreography.”

—Tyra Jackson


“Sarah has been a blessing to the University of Alabama and its dance department. She came in and immediately had an impact by engaging students in classes, rehearsals and organizations. I have had the privilege to work with Sarah in many capacities and have enjoyed every minute of it. She pushes students to put everything they have into their academics, choreography, performing and work. She also encourages students to get involved in the community, which is above and beyond what her job calls for. She is an asset to the University of Alabama and we are lucky to have her.”

—Elaine Randant

“My first interactions with Sarah were in the dance studio learning from her as a dance teacher and choreographer. I was so thankful for her willingness to work with all levels of students and her interest in my personal growth in dance, which she fostered during that first semester. I believe Sarah creates a supportive environment for her students, which stimulates learning. While this atmosphere may be intangible, it always produces corporeal results in the dancers’ technique and performance. There is a reoccurring pattern in the dance program that after students work with Sarah for a semester in the repertory concert, they are recognized and receive greater roles the following semester.”

—Shannon Lindamood
View the full letter from Shannon Lindamood. (PDF)

“Sarah is a wonderful role model, both in the respect of dance and in life. She embodies a sound mind in which she is always willing to help her students no matter the cost. She helps us, teaches us, and she pushes us to become something greater and to never give up. Most importantly, Sarah is open to learning from her students. She doesn’t have this idea that since she is a teacher that she knows everything. Instead, she asks us questions, she makes us think we too can be as successful in life as she is.”

—Shey Thorn
View the full letter from Shey Thorn. (PDF)

“Sarah Barry was one of my most influential professors at the University of Alabama. She taught me the importance of diversity in dance and equipped me with the tools to tackle any aspect of dance whether it be on a stage, in a studio, or in a classroom. Sarah was also one of my toughest professors as she was always pushing for more effort and quality from her students. It was definitely an honor to be a student of hers, as well as, a part of the many great pieces she has set for the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre. Thanks Sarah, for being such an influence on my career!”

—Alicia Thompson

“Sarah Barry was one of the most influential teachers of my college experience and of my overall dance education. After my initial introduction to her teaching in a modern dance technique class, I intentionally sought her classes taking choreography, dance history, and dance instruction under her. She challenged the way I move, the way I view and appreciate various dance styles, and even helped shape my now very inclusive definition of dance. I love that all her classes made me very aware– aware of the many styles of dance, aware of the people and societal events which affected it, and aware that there is so much to learn, love, and appreciate about the art. I love that she was available to discuss lesson plans before I taught dance classes at elementary schools or to give me notes on papers before I turned them in for a grade. I love that she has a high standard and asks for quality work from her students. I love that her realm of influence reaches beyond the classroom to personal relationships with her students and involvement in the community. I love that she makes her students aware of teaching opportunities and continues to foster communication between graduates and the university dance program. I am certainly the better for it and hope to be similarly selfless as a teacher in future years. Sarah Barry is beyond an asset to the University of Alabama dance program, and I hope that Alabama students have the fortune of studying under her for years to come.”

—Meredith Beeman

“When I think about Sarah Barry, two words come to mind – Compassion and Loyalty. Throughout my years of training, performing, and choreographing, I have yet to meet an educator and choreographer that is as in tune with and considerate of their dancers as Sarah. She makes an effort to go beyond the superficial boundaries of her dancers to get to know them first and foremost as individuals. I believe this gives her a real advantage when setting her works. She has a natural ability to form a relationship among her casts that gives everyone a sense of belonging and importance. One of the greatest qualities that I have taken away from working with Sarah is her dedication to details, and her ability to speak constructively and intelligently on how to achieve her desired results. As an aspiring choreographer, this is a characteristic that I work on consistently, and one that Sarah has perfected. Anyone can give feedback to their performers, but the way in which Sarah approaches her dancers by not only providing them with feedback, but also giving them potential solutions allows her performers to achieve direct results and feel a sense of pride over their accomplishments. Finally, Sarah extends her support of her dancers beyond the classroom and studios. Once you’ve established a relationship with her, you have a friend for life. She’s always available as a mentor for not only choreographic and dance needs, but also as a friend who is more than willing to give advice on life.”

—Bryant Henderson


Joy Spears“I have grown more than I could have imagined in my time at UA and mostly due to the classes I had with Sarah Barry. I came into the dance program open-minded, however I never realized how limited my perceptions were until taking Sarah’s dance history class. My choreographic process has also expanded so much through her choreography class. Recently I was watching some work I set at several studios and it was the first time I’ve been truly satisfied with my work. I thank Sarah especially for helping me find that part of myself. Sarah is a true gift to this generation and students can learn so much from her.”

—Joy Spears

“Mrs. Barry’s approach to teaching is very innovative and helpful to her students. She is always prepared when it comes to class work, readily available to help students outside of the classroom, and easy to understand when teaching in class. An outstanding moment during her choreography class was at the end of the semester when she evaluated our final choreography projects. She was very emotional and presented a stirring speech about how much we had grown as choreographers, dancers, and artists. We owed that growth to her, yet she was thanking us for the opportunity for her to see our choreographic works. This shows that Mrs. Barry truly cares about her students’ successes.”

—Cody Schmidt
View the full letter from Cody Schmidt. (PDF)

“Throughout the years of many students setting choreography of our own, the idea of your work being critiqued is quite frightening at times but always beneficial in the long run. The faculty takes time to sit down with us and help take our ideas and make them into something greater once the final product is complete. Although scrutiny is hard to hear, Sarah is one person I have always respected in regard to critique and criticism and I have taken the advice to make my work always be better. She is such a “mentor/mother” to us all in the department, yet still she is so effortlessly professional when the time arises.”

—Anna Solomon
View the full letter from Anna Solomon. (PDF)

“In college, there are always a small number of professors who impact your life in the way you work, learn, and mature as a professional and individual. Sarah Barry is that professor in my life. As a modern and choreography instructor, Sarah’s methods of teaching inspire students to create their own movement qualities, as well as investigate multiple venues in which you can be inspired to choreograph. Many students, counting myself, are very intimidated by choreographing, but Sarah begins at step one and guides us daily as we mature as choreographers, never rejecting our ideas or movements we present. Because she has confidence in her students, we always want to meet her high expectations as we know wonderful rewards will come with it. “

—Kelsey Ebersold
View the full letter from Kelsey Ebersold. (PDF)

“Sarah Barry changed my life. She is the kindest, most genuine person and teacher I’ve ever had the pleasure of dancing for and working with. She made me understand modern dance and modern life better than anyone I’ve ever known. Her passion for dance, her students, dance history, and choreography is truly inspirational. I worked with Sarah on many different projects during my four years at UA and dancing for and working with Sarah on the various pieces, projects, and collaborations was such an amazing experience. When in rehearsal with Sarah, I always felt appreciated, engaged, and important. Sarah’s instruction and friendship made me realize my love of teaching and now I teach modern. I even teach Sarah’s same warm-up! I only hope one day to be the teacher Sarah was for me–a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend.”

—Allison Michalke

“Sarah Barry is the epitome of a teacher and the example I will use in becoming a teacher myself. What has often struck me is the clarity of her teaching. Artists tend to become cluttered by their gifts and unable to articulate the “hows” and “whys” of their work. Sarah is able to take her artistic genius, use it as an example, and communicate her process effectively to students. Not only does she show the process clearly, Sarah allows her students to explore and create along withher. This gave me the understanding and confidence to work on my own. I have a better understanding of art and what it means to me because of Sarah’s classes and rehearsals.”

—Taylor Murray


“Sarah was such a blessing to me during my years at the University of Alabama. I jumped at the chance to take her Modern class when it was first offered. At the time I was desperate to find the type of dance that I was truly comfortable with. During that class, I really found out where I wanted to take my dance career. Working with Sarah as a choreographer was also such a great experience. It was super hands on and as the students we were allowed to give a ton of input that made us think for ourselves. It also allowed us to expand our knowledge of how choreography can come together in so many different ways. I learned so much from Sarah at my time at UA . Her classes and rehearsals played a pivotal role in my learning experience at the University. They still do today. She’s such an asset to the department and I’m so thankful I was able to have her as a teacher and a choreographer.”

—Anna Walker