Ariel Nereson is a scholar and practitioner focused on bodies in motion working across dance and theater. She received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts and her MA from the University at Buffalo’s English Department. She is also a graduate of St. Olaf College. From 2014-2015 she was the Interdisciplinary Arts Coordinator at Vassar College, directing a grant – Creative Arts Across Disciplines – from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance Studies in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University at Buffalo.
Ariel’s research focuses on two periods – contemporary and Progressive Era U.S. – and yokes approaches from dance history, performance studies, cultural studies, cognitive science, and American studies, to understand movement as meaning-maker. Her current projects intertwine physical and social practices of identity formation as experienced through motion. Her book project Democracy Moving: Corporeality and History in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Lincoln Trilogy looks at choreographies of civic life and citizenship in the context of the contemporary U.S. and their shaping by racial, gender, and sexual identities as developed and performed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in their trilogy of works about Abraham Lincoln. A second project in its early stages, Widely Known and Little Respected, is an examination of two performance phenomena of the Progressive Era (pugilist melodrama and tango teas) and their relationship to popular and political discourses of race, immigration, gender, and class.
Ariel is a recipient of several fellowships including the Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Research Fellowship from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In 2012 she was awarded the Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize by the American Society for Theatre Research for her essay “Queens ‘Campin” Onstage: Performing Queerness in Mae West’s ‘Gay Plays.'” She is also the 2016 recipient of the ASTR Selma Jeanne Cohen Conference Presentation Award. Ariel is the conference planner for the American Theatre and Drama Society at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and serves on the editorial boards of Theatre Annual: A Journal of Theatre and Performance of the Americas and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre.