I am a scholar, educator, and practitioner. My research primarily examines how racialization shapes expressions of embodiment and identity in movement-based performance across dance, theater, and musical theater, primarily in the United States. I 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 where I direct the MFA in Dance and serve as Associate Director of Graduate Studies.
My book Democracy Moving: Bill T. Jones, Contemporary American Performance, and the Racial Past (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming 2021) is a history of twenty-first century US American performance that analyzes the choreography of Bill T. Jones as public intellectual labor, Black aesthetic praxis, and historical knowledge. Democracy Moving indexes the potentialities of the moving body and of the kinesthetic as interventions into political ideologies, tracking the ways that democratic social and aesthetic formations might or might not move us towards just and equitable collectivities. Through an intertwined materialist and formalist approach, Democracy Moving demonstrates how aesthetic formations and questions of how and why we remember the past interanimate one another through the meaning-making work of movement.
I am beginning the research for a second book, Abolition Imaginaries: Universities, the Arts, and Slavery that will document and theorize artworks commissioned, produced, and presented by universities as integral to processes of recovery, commemoration, reform, reparation, (dis)possession, and abolition undertaken by higher education at large to address its historical entwinement with slavery.
In fall 2019 I was a Humanities Institute Fellow at the University at Buffalo in support of the completion of Democracy Moving. I am the recipient of several awards including a 2020 Brooks McNamara Publishing Subvention Award from the American Society for Theatre Research and a 2019 Faculty Research Award from the American Theatre & Drama Society . In 2016 I received the ASTR Selma Jeanne Cohen Conference Presentation Award for research related to Democracy Moving and in 2012 I was awarded ASTR’s Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize for my essay “Queens ‘Campin” Onstage: Performing Queerness in Mae West’s ‘Gay Plays.'” I 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 and am the incoming Book Review Editor for Theatre History Studies. I am also a choreographer and dramaturg.