Debra Collins Ryder

Debra Collins Ryder headshot

Dance Faculty


The Hartt School
860.768.2468 HPAC

BA, Virginia Intermont College

A Philadelphia native, Debra Collins Ryder began her professional ballet career in New York City before joining the Hartford Ballet, under the direction of Michael Uthoff. A long time dancer with the Hartford Ballet, Debra traveled extensively with the company throughout the US, Latin America and China, and was featured in many full-length ballets including: The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland. She was often reviewed as a “graceful dancer with marvelous nuance and girlish charm,” that “captivates not merely by bravura;” but “communicates a joy of dancing.”

Since 2006, Ms. Ryder has been a member of The Hartt School faculty teaching ballet, pointe, and dance history, and has choreographed several original works. In 2013, Ms. Ryder was honored with the University of Hartford’s Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty.

Prior to her arrival at The Hartt School, she co-directed the Eastern Connecticut Ballet and taught at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Ms. Ryder graduated with honors from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in Ballet Teaching, and was on full scholarship at the American Ballet Center (the school of the Joffrey Ballet).

Putting her love of dance history to practice, Debra has reconstructed and performed one of Anna Pavlova’s beloved nature solos, California Poppy, for Festival Ballet’s Tribute to Pavlova; and  most recently she has worked with the Connecticut Dance Alliance as Dance History Consultant on the exhibit, Connecticut Dances: a visual history, which opened in January 2017.