Department of Dance



Ph.D. Students


Ph.D. Students

Back to Our People

 

Casey Avaunt

Casey Avaunt

Casey is a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is a Gluck Fellow and Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at UCR. She completed her M.F.A. in Choreography at Taipei National University of the Arts with a full scholarship from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education and received her B.A. in Drama/Dance from Colorado College. In 2004, she received funding from the Chin-Lin Foundation to research Taiwanese culture, Asian performance, and Chinese philosophy. She later returned to Taiwan to join 8213 Physical Dance Theater for five years as they performed in Paris, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and throughout Taiwan. Her work has been commissioned by the National Culture and Arts Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs of Taiwan. Her choreography has been presented at The Culver Center in downtown Riverside, New York’s Joyce Theater, San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery, 8/F Platform in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s National Experimental Theater, and at The 11th Indonesian Dance Festival. She looks forward to continuing her research on dance practices within Asian-American communities in the U.S.

Photo credit: Lance Lo

 

Kelly Bowker

Kelly Bowker

kbowk001@ucr.edu

Kelly Bowker is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow and a Gluck Fellow. She is also a 2017-2018 UCR Digital Research Methods Fellow. Her research uses critical race studies to examine the way that technology is represented and utilized in both popular and concert dance. Bowker completed her M.A. in Choreography at Trinity Laban and her B.F.A. in Dance at the University of Michigan. Bowker has received grants from Zellerbach Foundation in San Francisco and the DCASE in Chicago for the development of her choreography.

Photo by Kevin Wong

 

Rainy Demerson

Rainy Demerson

rdeme003@ucr.edu

Rainy Demerson is a third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, researching women’s agency within African contemporary dance. She is honored to be supported by a Eugene Cota Robles Award and Gluck Fellowships. The departmental Dance Research Grant helped her conduct preliminary research on decolonizing dance practices in South Africa in 2017. Demerson holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University, an MA in Dance Education from New York University, and a BA in World Arts and Cultures/Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has trained in traditional and contemporary forms at L’ecole des Sables in Senegal, Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Escola de Dança da FUNCEB in Brazil, and in Belize, Indonesia and Germany. She produced her choreography in New York and Senegal and presented it in national festivals such as Dance in Revolting Times, San Francisco, and RAD Fest, Kalamazoo. Demerson taught Dance and Yoga throughout New York City public schools for seven years, then delivered studio and lecture courses for Lindenwood University, and as an Assistant Professor at El Paso Community College. As a Visiting Lecturer, she taught Critical Perspectives on Dance: Race, Gender and Sexuality for Scripps College. She currently teaches Dance History and Modern Dance at Crafton Hills College, and World Dance and Cultures, Brazilian Dance, and Modern Dance at Cal Poly Pomona. Demerson has articles published in the Journal of Dance Education and the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship.

www.vimeo.com/rainydemerson

 

Xiomara Forbez

Xiomara Forbez

xforb001@ucr.edu

Xiomara Forbez is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Born and raised in Miami, FL, she completed her B.A. in Linguistics and French Language and Literature at Boston University and proceeded to work in Research Administration for four-and-a-half years. Currently her interests include the intersections and negotiations of dance, space, and identity with particular focus on transmission and training of dance forms to bodies of different ages, abilities, races, and ethnicities. Some of her dance interests are hula, ballet, Latin social dancing, and clubbing. She is a recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship and three Gluck Fellowships for the Arts. In 2017 she was a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Alternate and Honorable Mention.

 

Jemuel Jr. B. Garcia

Jemuel Jr. B. Garcia

jgarc137@ucr.edu

Jemuel Jr. B. Garcia is first-year PhD student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. He is a recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship Award and a 2016 Fellow of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program sponsored by the US Department of State and the Philippine-American Educational Foundation. He finished his Master’s degree in Physical Education at West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, Philippines (2014) and graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, double majoring in sports and dance, in the same university (2009).

After graduation he served as an educator for eight years at the College of Physical Education, Sports, Culture, Arts and Recreation (PESCAR) at WVSU until he got a full study leave from the university in 2017 to pursue his doctorate degree.

Garcia has also served as a BAYER Philippines representative to a study tour of Leverkusen, Germany (2008), a cultural exchange scholar for the JENESYS-ASEAN-OCEANIAN Cultural Exchange Program in Tokyo, Japan (2013), and a youth delegate to the ASEAN Diversity Summit in Bangkok, Thailand (2014).

Garcia is an interdisciplinary storyteller who is continuously on a quest to find his niche in the realms of movements, theatre, words and photographs. He has worked with dance majors, indigenous communities, grassroots artists and community based dance educators in his hopes to encourage everyone in doing their part to preserve, nurture and enrich the dance culture and traditions of the Philippine archipelago to which his research and previous publications were also anchored. 

 

Theresa Goldbach

Theresa Goldbach

theresa.goldbach@email.ucr.edu

Theresa Goldbach is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Goldbach is originally from San Antonio, Texas where she studied Ballet, Mexican Folklorico, Flamenco, and Spanish classical dance. She has performed with Fandango San Antonio, Ballet Folklorico de San Antonio, Rumba Brava, Estampa Española, and Viva Flamenco. Goldbach attended the University of Texas at Austin as a National Merit Scholar, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-TV-Film in 1999. After graduation, she studied Flamenco at the Amor de Dios studio in Madrid, Spain in 2001. She graduated from the University of New Mexico's Master's program in Dance History in 2014. Goldbach conducted most of the research for her Master's thesis, "Fascism, Flamenco, and Ballet Español: Nacionalflamenquismo," in the Archivo General de la Administración in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Her research interests include Flamenco and Spanish dance during the reign of General Francisco Franco, politics and dance, and bar culture.

 

Irvin Gonzalez

Irvin Gonzalez

igonz003@ucr.edu

Irvin Manuel Gonzalez is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside in the Critical Dance Studies Department and holds degrees in English and Dance. He has had the honor of presenting dance work at the Society of Dance History Scholars Conference in 2013 (Riverside, CA), REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA), HIGHWAYS Performance Space (Los Angeles, CA), ACDA Nationals (DC), Bootleg Theater (Los Angeles, CA), Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco, Human Resources (Los Angeles) and the Barbara and Arts Culver Center (Riverside, CA.) He has also presented papers at the University of California, Riverside's "Dance Under Construction" Conference in 2015, SDHS/CORD Conference (2016 & 2017), and the Migrations Conference at the University of Ottawa in Canada (2016.) Gonzalez is a recipient of the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship, four Gluck Fellowship Awards, and Dance Magazine's Award for "Outstanding Student Choreography" (2016) for his collaborative role in "fourtold." He is currently a dancer for counterpoint/shift; WHAT Dance Theatre; Intersect Dance Theatre; and, together with three other colleagues, makes up part of the collaboration that is Primera Generación Dance. Additionally, he works as Assistant Coordinator for Trolley Dances Riverside, a site-specific performance event, and is also a member of P.L.A.C.E. Performance, a nonprofit organization working to bring arts to the Inland Empire community. His research focuses on the cultivation of Mexican American identity through Quebradita dancing in the 1990s and beyond, analyzing how national and transnational politics are negotiated within its movement and construction.

 

Dav D. Hernández

Dava D. Hernández

dhern038@ucr.edu

Dava D. Hernández is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside, a recipient of the prestigious Eugene Cota Robles Award and a Gluck Fellowship for the Arts. She holds an MA in Dance and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Texas Woman’s University, where she earned the 2015 award for Outstanding Graduate Student from the Former Students Association and the department of Dance. Hernández also holds a BA in Mexican American Studies with a concentration in Literary Studies and a minor in Bicultural/Bilingual studies from the University of Texas, San Antonio. Hernández was a long-time member of the Guadalupe Dance Company, one of the nation’s leading professional folklórico and flamenco dance companies. She has been involved in various dance-theater productions throughout the U.S. Southwest, appearing in several shows including Teatro Campesino’s touring anniversary production of Zoot Suit. Her artistic and scholarly work is based in Mexican Folklórico, Flamenco and the dance expressions of the US-Mexico borderlands, such as social and contemporary dance practices that meld old and new traditions. Hernández’s research interests also include a cultural investigation of how dance intersects with notions of identity in south Texas’ Chicana/o community and what that looks like in choreography.

Photo by: Adolfo Cantú-Villarreal

 

Maiko Le Lay

Maiko Le Lay

mlela001@ucr.edu

Maïko Le Lay is a French and Japanese third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She currently acts as the Graduate Student Association Executive Vice President and serves on various committees to improve campus student life. She is also a returning recipient of the Gluck Fellowship for the Arts, Carbon Neutral Initiative, and the Humanists@Work grants. Le Lay holds an M.A in Cultural Studies from the University Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle (France) and an M.A in Political Sciences from the University Catholic of Louvain (Belgium). She is the founder of Collab’ Home Street Home, a multidisciplinary collaboration that works on sustainability and art activism. Her research focuses on embodiment in the classroom and the impact of Hip Hop in education. Her recent publications include Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture - Words Beats & Life, UCSA Graduate Students Policy Journal 2nd and 3rd editions, and online articles published on stateofuc.orguchri.org, and on the Seattle Arts Leadership Team Tumblr website. In Europe, she was Maurice Bejart’s conservatory and museum’s general coordinator, was involved in the Hip Hop dance community, and served as the co-founder of Crystal’Art association, which denounced social injustices through dance, music and video. 

 

Rosalia Lerner

Rosalia Lerner

Rosalia Lerner is a first-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside where she is a recipient of the Dean's Distinguished Fellowship and the Gluck Fellowship. She has presented artistic work in San Francisco, at places such as The Feedback and The LEVYdance Salon and has founded her own dance company, Unfinished People. In New York, she was a part of the Gibney Dance Choreographic Process program, concentrating her artistic efforts on solo improvisational movement studies influenced by her experiences of limited mobility due to rheumatoid arthritis. Her current research looks at improvisational dance through transnational decolonial strategies as an aesthetic of the new world. Lerner holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from New York University, where she received the Performance Studies Award (2017), and a Bachelor’s in Dance and Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded the Florence Shwimley Memorial Scholarship (2013) and the Mark Goodson Prize (2014).

rosalialerner.com

 

Sophia Levine

Sophia Levine

slevi003@ucr.edu

Sophia Levine is a second-year Ph.D. Student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a Gluck Fellow and Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow. As a dance artist trained in yoga, compositional improvisation and various Modern and Post-Modern forms, Levine has taught and performed in Pittsburgh, New York, Illinois, Vermont, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland and Italy. Levine was granted a B.A. in Dance with High Honors at Middlebury College (2010) and received a three-year teaching assistantship and various awards during her M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2015). She has presented three times with the Choreography Lab of the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts (2013, 2015, 2017) and has participated in the Mnemonics Network for Memory Studies conferences as a presenter (2015) and graduate student organizer (2016). Her current research concerns the history of tarantism—a need to dance ostensibly caused by the bite of a spider—in Southern Italy and the incorporation of that history into contemporary practice/performance and a broader national narrative.

 

Evangelina Lopez

Evangelina Lopez

evangelina.lopez@email.ucr.edu

Evangelina Lopez is a third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Lopez is honored to have been supported as a GAANN Fellow, and as a recipient of the prestigious Eugene Cota Robles Award. Lopez holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2015) in Dance with a Modern Emphasis from Utah Valley University. Her dance and movement background include Fancy Shawl, Pole fitness, Samba, and diverse exposure to various Modern Techniques, some of which include: Graham, Limón, Cunningham and Bartenieff Fundamentals. Lopez is a member of the UCR Graduate American Indian Alliance, and member of the UCHRI multi-campus faculty working group on Indigenous Dance and the Academy.  She is grateful to have had the opportunity to aid as an assistant coordinator in a variety of projects, which include: The special edition of Indigenous Dance Today in Dance Research Journal (2015), UCR Medicine Ways Conference (2015), Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside (2016), and UCR Medicine Ways Powwow (2017). In her research, Lopez's primary interests are choreopolitics and commodification associated with Powwow Dance and culture.

http://evangelinaalopez.weebly.com/

 

Kendall Loyer

Kendall Loyer

Kendall Loyer is a first-year PhD student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship award and a former Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant recipient and Gluck Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Dance Performance from Columbia College Chicago and a Master of Fine Art degree in Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside. Loyer is a dancer, dancemaker, dramaturg, educator, photographer, fitness instructor and creative writer. Her current research interests consist of bodily conversations around Electric Pow Wow music and generative nostalgia and memory in the creation of urban indigenous identity. 

 

 

Denise Machin

Denise Machin

PhD Candidate in Critical Dance Studies

Denise Machin is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Riverside. She is a Chancellors Distinguished Fellow, a Gluck Fellow, the recipient of the Graduate Research Mentoring Program Award 2016, and a Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Scholar. Machin graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in dance and currently competes in dancesport competitions throughout the United States. Machin investigates different amateur ballroom dance communities, including LGBTQIA affiliated organizations, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints affiliated organizations, and collegiate teams. Machin has conducted ethnographic research at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, as well as at many dancesport competitions, including the Boston Open, Floorplay in the Desert, and April Follies. She is a founding member of the Collegiate Dancesport Association, serving as the secretary on the executive board. In August of 2016, Machin became the first woman to serve as the Director of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company, the third largest ballroom dance company in the country. She also serves as adjunct faculty in Pomona College’s Physical Education Department.

 

Anna Nikulina

Ania Nikulina

akala001@ucr.edu

Ania Nikulina is a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside and has been awarded a Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship. Ania has diverse dance training in Ballet, Modern and Jazz dance, and in 2014, Ania earned her Master’s degree in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University, focusing on the relationships between state-sponsored ballet, performance and political processes. Her MA thesis is titled “The Carmen-Suite: Maya Plisetskaya Challenging Soviet Culture and Policy” and focuses on the political nature of Soviet ballet throughout the Cold War era. Ania continues her research at the doctoral level with an expanded focus on state-sponsored ballet as a site of cultural tension in the former Soviet republics. Her dissertation project explores Post-Soviet ballet in Ukraine, as a site of Russia’s long-term cultural influence and emerging Ukrainian artistic resistance to it. Ania’s additional interests include ballet digital ethnography, ballet oral narratives and public interviews as off-stage performance.

 

Cuahtemoc Peranda

Cuauhtémoc Peranda

cpera001@ucr.edu

Cuauhtémoc Peranda (Mescalero-Apache & Mexica-Chichimeca) M.F.A., is a third-year Critical Dance Studies Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside. Their studies are supported by the U.S. Department of Education Native American Studies Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship, and the Dean’s Distinguished Doctoral Student Fellowship. Their research focuses on the history of the United States’s West Coast House Ballroom Scene involvement with how Queer and Two-Spirit Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere have deployed the dance form of vogue (voguing) as a method of decolonization, anti-colonialism, resilience, and quare Indigenous Knowledge revitalization and reclamation. They have presented their research at the 2016 Congress on Research in Dance & Society of Dance History Scholars Joint Conference, the 2017 UC Davis Sixth Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium, Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium, the 2017 UC Santa Cruz Queer and Trans People of Color Conference, the 2017 UC Riverside Fifteenth Annual Graduate Student Dance Showing, the 2016 UC Riverside Beyond R’Margins Conference, and they were awarded the 2016 Lambda Graduate Student Service Award for their commitment to the success of the 2016 BlaqOUT Conference and the LGBT community at UC Riverside. They are the founder of the Graduate American Indian Alliance (GAIA) at UC Riverside, an organizing member of the UC Riverside 2018 ​¡Presente! Summit, and are California Father Ome’Lauren of the West Coast Chapter of the Iconic House of Lauren, International. Cuauhtémoc holds a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity from Stanford University, and an M.F.A. in Dance from Mills College. 

 

Lindsay Blue Annie Rapport

Lindsay Blue Annie Rapport

lrapp001@ucr.edu

Lindsay Rapport is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a recipient of both the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship and the Graduate Research Mentorship Program Fellowship, as well as a five-time Gluck Fellow of the Arts. Her research explores the idea of fugitivity within hip hop dancers’ innovative movements as well as hip hop’s Black sociality, drawing connections with historical movements of African American fugitivity and Black liberation movements. She presented work at Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference 2016, where she also had the pleasure of serving as Graduate Assistant, and her work has been accepted for presentation at the Dance Studies Association and American Studies Association conferences in 2017.

Rapport received her B.A. with Honors from Pitzer College, majoring in Spanish Language and Latin American Cultural Studies and minoring in Dance. She is a founding member of ENVY Dance Company and served as Assistant to the Founder and Artistic Director, Brandon J, from the Company’s inception in 2007 to 2017. She has been teaching hip hop in the Los Angeles area since 2008, and she joined the Dance faculties at both Riverside City College and Mt. San Jacinto College in 2016.

Photo credit: Chelsea Coleman Photography

 

Christine Michelle Sahin

Christine Michelle Sahin

ccana003@ucr.edu

Christine Michelle Şahin is a fıfth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Şahin has been honored with the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship and several Gluck Program for the Art’s Fellowships. Şahin earned her B.A. in Anthropology with an Islamic Studies and Arabic Language concentration from the University of Delaware. Şahin is also a professional performer and instructor of raqs sharqi (“belly dance”). Şahin is currently writing her multi-sited dance ethnography of Cairo's contemporary raqs sharqi scene for her dissertation project. Şahin's research explores the myriad ways raqs sharqi engages with the precarious political and economic transformations Egypt has been experiencing since the 2011 revolution. 

Photo credit: Seddik Saber Photography

 

Radi Shafie

Radi Shafie

rshaf003@ucr.edu

Radi Shafie is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship Award. Shafie graduated from the National University of Iran as a Doctor of Medicine and subsequently trained for four years in General Surgery at various hospitals in the U.S. He then decided on a different path in life and, after pursuing Flamenco for a number of years, discovered and fell in love with Argentine Tango. This love has taken him many times to Buenos Aires, as well as other corners of the world, dancing night after night at the milongas. He has been teaching Tango for some years and occasionally performs. In 2012, wanting to broaden his horizons, he went back to school in the Dance Department of the University of New Mexico (UNM), studying Ballet, Modern, and choreography, as well as dance history and pedagogy. He became very interested in the scholarly aspect of dance and what dance has to offer both the academy and the world at large. After completing the first year of the Masters in Dance History and Criticism at UNM, he came to UCR to begin his Ph.D. Shafie is most interested in how dance defies borders and the role it can play in creating world peace.

 

Katie Nicole Stahl-Kovell

Katie Nicole Stahl-Kovell

kstah001@ucr.edu

Katie Nicole Stahl-Kovell is a feminist ethnographer currently working on her dissertation, “Choreographing Childbirth,” as a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). By applying critical dance studies as social theory to women in labor, she offers unique insight into the embodied nature of maternal power and agency, particularly how women under U.S. maternal healthcare respond to and shape medicalized authority, surveillance, and intervention. 

Stahl-Kovell is a proud mamma, a Dean’s Distinguished Fellow, Gluck Fellow of the Arts, and holds a M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from UCR. She is also a proud McNair Scholar and an Anthropology alumna from California State University, Dominguez Hills and Cypress Community College. 

 

Wei-Chi Wu

Wei-Chi Wu

weichi.wu@email.ucr.edu

Wei-Chi Wu is a Ph.D. candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She completed her M.A. at the National Taiwan University of Arts, and was certificated as a Primary Level Instructor in Folk Dance by the Taiwanese Sports Administration, Ministry of Education in 2013. Wu is the recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship and is a Gluck Program for the Art’s Fellow. She is also a member of the Taiwan International Folk Dance Association and the Orodancer Folk Dance Group, and she has experience teaching dance in both Taiwan and in the United States. Wu’s research interests include the examination of international folk dancing in both Taiwan and the United States (mainly in California), and the relationships between international folk dancing, Taiwanese identities, Asian diaspora, and nostalgic memories.

 

Magnolia Yang Sao Yia

Magnolia Yang Sao Yia

Magnolia Yang Sao Yia is a first-year PhD student in Critical Dance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Through the support of the prestigious Dean's Distinguished Fellowship Award, she will be researching Hmong dance. Yang Sao Yia graduated with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Minnesota. 

Yang Sao Yia is a choreographer and dancer investigating her contemporary identity as Hmong, woman, American, brown, and stateless. Her passion for the intersection of social justice, dance, and healing was fostered by Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, dance scholar and founder/artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre. Yang Sao Yia was a dance company member of Ananya Dance Theatre from 2013-2017. Rooted in community, Yang Sao Yia creates to awaken, engage, strategize, mobilize, to re-imagine, transform, connect and heal.

 www.magnoliaysy.com

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

Graduate Program Inquiries: danceadvising@ucr.edu

Undergraduate Program Inquiries: judith.llausas@ucr.edu

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