I am a scholar, educator, and practitioner focused on bodies in motion working across dance and theater. I use dramaturgical and choreographic analyses to study movement-based performance as art and culture in order to understand how communities interpret movement as meaning. I received my PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts and my MA from the University at Buffalo’s English Department. I am also a graduate of St. Olaf College. From 2014-2015 I was the Interdisciplinary Arts Coordinator at Vassar College, directing a grant – Creative Arts Across Disciplines – from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Currently I am an Assistant Professor of Dance Studies in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University at Buffalo.
My current book project Democracy Moving: The Lincoln Dances of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company argues that BTJ/AZ’s dance-theater dramaturgy theorizes (through practice) corporeality as historiographical strategy. This project proceeds as an analysis of the material and cultural functions of movement as a meaning-maker and how these functions are articulated and modified by choreographic choices in the Lincoln works. These analyses gesture outward as well, into discourses about the political function of dance in democratic society and the burden of representation for black artists, and the relationship between art and social change as framed by the election of Barack Obama in the U.S., identifying this political moment as offering new ways of asking, through dance, what it is to be an American. I frame “democracy moving” as both about democratic principles in the making of choreography, and choreographing democracy, understanding democracy through the historical prism of Lincoln’s legacy and as lived experience via dancing.
I am beginning the research for a second large project on the history of choreographers who worked across concert and commercial stages, particularly those on Broadway throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. My focus is on the professional stakes of bouncing between artistic spaces and how this movement renegotiates the place of dance in a U.S. hierarchy of cultural production.
I am 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 I 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.'” In 2016 I received the ASTR Selma Jeanne Cohen Conference Presentation Award. I am the conference planner for the American Theatre and Drama Society at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and serve on the editorial boards of Theatre Annual: A Journal of Theatre and Performance of the Americas and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre.