Van’s unorthodox teaching technique challenges and inspires to evoke the best artistic environment in the studio. This serves as the basis and conception of his choreography company, RASA. One reviewer described his stating, “Van Collins lays out an idea and makes you wonder what will happen next.” Van was awarded Best Choreography from the Black Theatre Alliance Awards for the piece he choreographed for Dance Chicago 2000 entitled “3/5”.
Van was in the first graduating class of the Chicago Academy for the Arts and went on to dance with such companies as Tyego Dance Company, Anatomical Theatre, River North Dance Company, American Danz Theatre, Farago Dance Company, and the Joel Hall Dancers, where he also held the position of Rehearsal Director. He also performed and directed the JHD outreach program D.I.A.L. (Dance Is A Language).
He began his teaching career at Joel Hall Dance Studio (410 S. Michigan) and then went on to teach at Lou Conte, Gus Giordano, Milwaukee Ballet, Salt Creek Ballet, and several Chicagoland area studios. Currently he teaches at Dance Dimensions and Inspire.
In April of 2002, Van founded RASA Dance Chicago (now in hiatus). From the Sanskrit language, RASA means “the mood of sentiment that is evoked by a work of art.” Besides Van’s involvement with the dance community, he is also President and Executive Director of Good Vibes Teen Prevention Theater, founded in 1993 by legendary performer Ben Vereen. Good Vibes was established as a community outreach vehicle whose basis is “Teens Teaching Teens” to increase and promote positive peer pressure through the arts.