Donna Krasnow is professor emerita and senior scholar in the Department of Dance at York University in Toronto where she taught modern dance based in Limón technique, composition and choreography, conditioning for dancers, dance kinesiology, prevention of dance injuries, motor learning for dance, and repertory. She has a distinguished career as a choreographer, performer, teacher, researcher, and author. In 1988, she founded the York Dance Ensemble, York University’s pre-professional repertory touring company, and has toured several times with this young company, doing performances and master classes in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Sudbury, and Montreal. In June 2002 she received the University-wide York University Excellence in Teaching Award. Before retiring from full time teaching, Donna was on the faculty in the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at California Institute of the Arts and at California State University at Northridge.
Donna founded Dance Source, a professional training school in San Francisco in 1976, and was Artistic Director for its resident company Möbius until 1980. In addition to performing as a guest artist with such companies as Footloose, Northern Lights, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, she performed with the Daniel Lewis Repertory Dance Company in New York, and assisted Mr. Lewis in staging José Limón's classic works There Is A Time and A Choreographic Offering. Donna has taught extensively in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, including Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia and Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, Canada. She was head of the modern division at the Canadian Children's Dance Theatre (now Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre) in Toronto, Canada, and served as company rehearsal director for the CCDT company from 1988 to 2007. Other teaching appointments included the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Calgary.
Donna specializes in dance science research, concentrating on injury prevention, conditioning for dancers, and motor learning and motor control. Her most recent research focus has been the adolescent dancer, psychological issues surrounding injury and dance training, and motor control in elite dancers. She received her M.S. degree in Dance Science in 1994 from the University of Oregon, where she was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Research Award. In 2015 she received the University of Oregon’s Distinguished Alumna Award and was invited to give the convocation speech for the School of Music. Donna received her Ph.D. in Dance Science in 2012 from the University of Wolverhampton in England.
Donna's articles have been published in Medical Problems of Performing Artists; Journal of Dance Medicine & Science; Impulse: the International Journal of Dance Science, Medicine, and Education; Journal of Dance Education; Bulletin of Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences; Medecine des Arts; and Dance Research Journal. In 2007 she was guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science about motor learning issues in dance. Donna was the Associate Editor for Dance for Medical Problems of Performing Artists from 2014-2016.
In 2016 Donna received the Outstanding Dance Research Award from the National Dance Education Organization. In 2018, Donna received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from Healthy Dancer Canada for outstanding contributions in dance education, science, health and wellness. In 2020, Donna received the Dance Educator Award from the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, given annually in recognition of a teaching practice that integrates principles of dance medicine and science, and to acknowledge the educator’s influence on future dance teachers. In 2021, Donna received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Dance Education Organization.
In addition to her published articles, Donna wrote the book Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers, which was published in 2010 and co-authored with dance artist Jordana Deveau. Donna wrote the book Motor Learning and Control for Dance: Principles and Practices for Performers and Teachers, with co-author Dr. Virginia Wilmerding, released by Human Kinetics in 2015. They also co-edited the book Dancer Wellness, a collaborative project with IADMS, published by Human Kinetics in 2016. Donna wrote Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance, published in 2020 and co-authored with Daniel Lewis, well-known dance artist, choreographer, and educator.
Donna also specializes in teacher training workshops, and has done residencies for faculty at Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, Cecchetti Ballet Australia, the Royal Academy of Ballet, the Society for Russian Ballet, Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, Canada, and faculty seminars at York University. She was the Conference Director for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) from 2004 to 2008, and has served on the Board of Directors for IADMS and for the Performing Arts Medicine Association. She has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, the Journal of Dance Education, and Medical Problems of Performing Artists.