Dr. John Kilbourne

KHS 4435
One Campus Drive Allendale, MI 49401

Moving All Ways, Always Moving

John R. Kilbourne, Ph.D.

John Kilbourne

Dr. Kilbourne has devoted nearly all of his adult life to helping individuals and communities understand the deeper meanings of play, games, sport, and dance. His Bachelor’s degree is in Creative Drama & Movement from California State University Long Beach. His Master’s Degree is from the University of California at Los Angeles in Dance Education with an emphasis in Dance & Sport. While at UCLA he served as Graduate Assistant (Dance/Basketball Conditioning) to then Headcoach Larry Brown. His Ph.D. is from The Ohio State University where he continued his work in exploring the relationships between sport and performance. His dissertation is titled, “Building A Bridge Between Athletics and Academics.”

In 1982 John became the first full-time Conditioning Coach in the National Basketball Association with the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers. He helped them in the pursuit of their 1983 World Championship.

In addition to his work in basketball, John has extensive experience in figure skating both in the United States and Canada. He and his wife Elizabeth were fortunate to attend the 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010 Winter Olympics. John is a former member of The Margalit Dance Theatre and The Detroit Dance Collective.  For ten years John served as a Professor in the Department of Movement Arts at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts.

In 2004 he accepted a position in the Department of Movement Science at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. John has won numerous awards including, GVSU’s 2009 and 2011 Sustainability Champion’s Award, GVSU’s 2010 PEW Excellence in Teaching Award, GVSU’s 2009 Distinguished Professor of the Year, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Citation of Outstanding Performance, The 2004 Bridgewater State College Award for Academic Excellence, The 2000 Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Honor Award, The Ohio State University 1993 Graduate Associate Teaching Award, The 1993 National Dance Association Presidential Citation, and The Ohio State University 1993 Success Stories Multicultural Teaching Award.

 Presently Dr. Kilbourne is leading efforts at GVSU and in western Michigan to create activity permissible classrooms. Students in his theory classes are free to sit on stability balls, stand at fixed-height desks, sit in a Steelcase Node Chair/Desk, or a Steelcase buoy chair. Dr. Kilbourne’s research has been cited in hundreds of  newspapers,  journals, and on local and national news, including National Public Radio and ABC World News. Dr. Kilbourne is a productive scholar with numerous articles and one book. The title of his book is, "Running With Zoe: A Conversation on the Meaning of Play, Games and Sport; Including A Journey to the Canadian Arctic." He is a frequent guest speaker both in North America and abroad. His current research interest is on the traditional games of Arctic People. During the fall of 2001 he and his family moved to the Canadian Arctic where they experienced the life-world of Canada’s Inuit. In the winter of 2011 he traveled to Norway to research and practice the games of the Sámi. He and his wife Elizabeth are the proud parents of their greatest productions ever, their children Zoe and Parker.



Running With Zoe

Running With Zoe

Running With Zoe: A Conversation on the Meaning of Play, Games, and Sport
Including: A Journey to the Canadian Arctic
By: John Kilbourne, Ph.D.

Running With Zoé shares Dr. Kilbourne’s personal journey to understand the deeper meanings of the games we play. The journey includes Dr. Kilbourne’s creative and pioneering efforts in dance conditioning with the U.C.L.A.’s men’s basketball team under head coach Larry Brown, his tenure as the first full-time conditioning coach in the National Basketball Association for the 1982-84 Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers (1983 World Champions), his work with Olympic level figure skaters in the United States and Canada, his discoveries in the academic arena about play, dance, games, and sport, and his journey to the Canadian Arctic where he examined the importance of traditional Inuit games.

Dr. John Ratey author of SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain said of Dr. Kilbourne’s writings, “Your book touched me deeply and made me think that someone who got Moses and Julius to dance together must have had such a strong self-awareness and trust in your mission.” Of John’s work with basketball players Larry Brown said, “He’s the best in what he does. The kids love him and have a lot of respect for his knowledge.”

Available: Your local bookseller or preferred on-line retailer
ISBN: 978-1-4490-0845-1 Hardcopy
ISBN: 978-1-4490-0846-8 E-Book