Charles Vincent Burwell joined the Conservatory in 2020. An educator, actor, singer, dancer, entrepreneur, musician, and musical theater composer, Burwell has long felt that diversity and creative identity are instrumental in the fashioning of a well-rounded artist. A San Francisco native, Burwell began playing the piano at the age of seven. By his teenage years, he had learned to play most brass instruments and was beginning to compose original music. He received a B.S. in choral/vocal music education from Florida A&M University and his M.F.A. in musical theater writing and composition from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
For 16 years, Burwell taught musical theater and worked at the Ailey School/Fordham University, where he authored and implemented the musical theater and audition techniques curricula for their B.F.A. program. He also collaborated with choreographers on various dance pedagogies including jazz, tap, West African, and hip-hop. For many years, he also maintained a private vocal studio in New York City.
Burwell has worked with an array of internationally acclaimed artists and prestigious performing arts institutions, including the Lincoln Center Institute, National Dance Institute, Urban Bush Women, City Center, the Katherine Dunham Institute, Festival del Caribe (Cuba), Ile Aiye (Brazil), and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. He served as a teaching artist for the National Dance Institute and was a longtime member of the faculty at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
A musical theater composer and lyricist, his work includes Cubamor, a modern retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Afro-Cuban Orisha music/dance and hip-hop; Bottle Shock, a rock musical based on the 2008 cult film; Black Count, depicting novelist Alexandre Dumas’s Haitian ancestry; and the children’s musical Beautiful Game, which is about soccer legend Pelé. He has composed music for the Cairo Opera House Ballet and Cairo Modern Dance Company and the National Dance Institute under the Artistic Direction of Jacques d’Amboise.