Mila Thigpen joined the Conservatory in 2014 and is chair of dance. Her teaching portfolio includes salsa, dance and pop culture, dance history, and senior project and independent studies advising.
A “lively dancer” (the Boston Globe), Thigpen is an international teacher-artist who has danced works by Doris Humphrey, Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Seán Curran, Germaul Barnes, Wendy Jehlen, Arthur Aviles, and Aszure Barton. Thigpen's work has been presented in CRASHarts's Ten’s the Limit and the Bronx BlakTina Dance Festival. Her commissions span from concert to commercial work internationally. Thigpen was a Boston cast member of the Bessie Award-winning Skeleton Architecture. She was also the movement coach for Pass Over, under the direction of Monica White Ndounou, which received a Lortel Award for outstanding play.
Thigpen’s advocacy for equity has been nationally recognized, and she has been called to major gatherings on social justice and equity to lead people in embodied practices that support their work. Thigpen created and implemented a cultural humility professional development workshop for artists and educators, which she has facilitated for secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. She has presented research on teaching dance from racialized bodies, and continues learning new methodologies for culturally informed somatic healing practices. Her work in this field has led to invitations as a guest speaker at the Beijing Dance Forum and the Gulf Center for Law and Policy's Sacred Waters Pilgrimage.
Thigpen earned a B.A. from Kenyon College, an M.F.A. from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, an Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in dance at Texas Woman’s University. Her research reclaims salsa as part of the African diaspora through ethnographic inquiry of the Bronx-based Yamuleé Dance Company. Thigpen has presented multiple times at the Dance Studies Association and the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance.