Department of Dance

M.F.A Students

M.F.A Students

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Josie Bettman

Josie Bettman

Josie Bettman is a first-year M.F.A. student in Experimental Choreography at the University of California, Riverside. They are a practitioner and researcher working between dance, writing, and video. Originally from the Los Angeles area, they grew up training in gymnastics, dance, and yoga until they began investigating alternatives to gendered modes of embodied production. Josie is a recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship in the Experimental Choreography MFA program at UC Riverside, developing research towards a mutation of gender norms in dance. While studying under the guidance of Molly Nesbit in the department of Art History and Architecture at Vassar College, Josie worked on their prior research project—titled “Constructing Dance: Yvonne Rainer's Conceptual Forms”—which explored defamiliarization as a mode of political engagement. Josie’s work has been seen in informal showings at the American Dance Festival, in parking lots throughout the Hudson Valley, and alongside the Neva river in Saint Petersburg, Russia. They have previously worked as an intern in administrative capacities with Movement Research, Danspace Project, and Big Dance Theater.


Olana Z. Flynn

Olana Z. Flynn

Olana Z. Flynn is a first-year M.F.A. student in Experimental Choreography at the University of California, Riverside. She is a recipient of a Dean's Distinguished Fellowship and is a graduate of Hampshire College/Five College Dance Department with a B.A. in Performance and Choreography. Prior to moving to Riverside she lived in Western Massachusetts where, in 2015, she co-founded LOCULUS, a performance collective, along with five other FCDD alumni. LOCULUS performs often in collaboration with DIY musicians and artists in non-traditional performance spaces. In addition to performance LOCULUS publishes a journal that is a site of creative intervention including essays, photographs, interviews, creative writing, and/or ephemera. The first volume of the journal was funded in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council. In August 2016 LOCULUS was invited to participate in 2x3: A Generative Art Residency as part of the 6x6 project at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA. From 2014-2016 she served as an adjunct faculty member in the Dance Department at Springfield College. She has had the privilege of studying and performing with artists such as Chris Aiken, Angie Hauser, Katie Martin, Paul Matteson, Jennifer Nugent and Constance Valis-Hill. Olana’s work has been performed extensively in Western Massachusetts as well as Vermont, Boston, and New York City.


Chistina Leyva

Christina Leyva

Christina Leyva is pursuing her MFA in Experimental Choreography at UC Riverside as a Chancellor’s Fellow, and is director of The Bee Dance Project, a performance installation about pollinators and pesticides. Leyva was named Dancing Earth’s Ecological Dance Artist of 2016, and guest directed their Bay Area performances. Previously she co-directed anthrocollagik sound + movement co., an environmental dance film company presenting at festivals in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Leyva earned her BA in World Arts & Cultures: Dance from UCLA (2008), and was recipient of the Emma B. Keller Award for Excellence in Dance (2007). She has been a company member of Lan Sattha Thai Dance since 2007, and previously trained at Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle), The Ailey School (New York), the American Dance Festival (Durham), and the Çudamani Summer Institute (Bali).


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Dance
121 Arts Building

Tel: (951) 827-3944
Fax: (951) 827-4651

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