Department of Dance



Ph.D. Students


Ph.D. Students

Back to Our People Jen Aubrecht

Jen Aubrecht

jaubr001@ucr.edu

Jen Aubrecht is a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research examines Modern dance choreographers who have incorporated yoga into their teaching, choreography, and daily movement practices, and their relationships with the South Asian yogis and swamis who changed yogic practices as they translated them to the United States. In doing so, she examines the politics of appropriation and representation in the cross-cultural flows of yoga and concert dance practices. Her conference paper, "Rethinking Appropriation: The Reciprocal Relationship of Yoga and American Modern Dance" was awarded the 2016 Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for excellence in graduate student dance studies research. Her work has been supported by grants from the New York Public Library, the Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant, several Gluck Program for the Arts fellowships, and the Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship. She holds a B.A. in Dance and English from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

 

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 third-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. Her research focuses on dance and technology, examining ways in which digital technologies are used to translate and transform the movement of the body. Bowker completed her M.A. in Choreography at Trinity Laban and her B.F.A. in Dance at the University of Michigan and has received grants from Zellerbach Foundation in San Francisco and the DCASE in Chicago for the development of her choreography. www.kellybowkermovement.com

Photo by Kevin Wong

 

Rainy Demerson

Rainy Demerson

rdeme003@ucr.edu

Rainy Demerson is a second-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, researching women’s agency within African contemporary dance institutions. She is honored to be supported by a Eugene Cota Robles Award and a Gluck Fellowship. Demerson holds an M.F.A. in Dance from Hollins University and an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University. Her passion for the interstices of art, culture, and social action was fostered while earning her B.A. in World Arts and Cultures/Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dedicated to gaining a first-hand understanding of culture in context, she has studied dance in Indonesia, Cuba, Brazil, Senegal, Barbados, Belize, and Germany. A nationally certified Yoga Instructor and New York state-certified K-12 dance educator, Demerson developed curriculum and taught dance and Yoga throughout New York City public schools for seven years. She enjoyed teaching several courses for Lindenwood University in Missouri, and as a tenure-track Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator at El Paso Community College in Texas. Her most recent research examined classical Ballet pedagogy infused with Awareness Through Movement® and its potential for social change. She 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 third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is a recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship and two Gluck Fellowships for the Arts. After completing her B.A. in Linguistics and French Language and Literature at Boston University, she 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/training of dance forms to bodies of different ages, abilities, and races/ethnicities. Some of her dance interests are Hula, Ballet, and Taiko drumming as well as Graham and Horton Modern techniques. She looks forward to dance fieldwork and incorporating travel and languages into her research. When not working on her Ph.D., she enjoys indulging in obsessions/projects, which at the moment include tiny houses and crochet.

 

Theresa Goldbach

Theresa Goldbach

theresa.goldbach@email.ucr.edu

Theresa Goldbach is a third-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 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, REDCAT, HIGHWAYS Performance Space, ACDA Nationals, Bootleg Theater, Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco, and the Barbara and Arts Culver Center. He has also presented papers at the University of California, Riverside's "Dance Under Construction" Conference in 2015 and is excited to present scholarly work at the SDHS/CORD Conference in 2016. Gonzalez is a recipient of the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship, three 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 first year Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside and a recipient of the prestigious Eugene Cota Robles Award. She holds an M.A. 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 Student’s Association and the Department of Dance. Hernández also holds a B.A. in Mexican American Studies with a concentration in Literary Studies and a minor in Bicultural/Bilingual studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Hernández was a long-time member of the Guadalupe Dance Company, one of the nation’s leading professional folklóricoand flamenco dance companies, and has been involved in various dance-theater productions throughout the U.S. Southwest, having appeared 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 U.S.-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 second-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 recipient of the Gluck and Carbon Neutral Initiative Fellowships. 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 collaborative that works on sustainability and art activism. Her research focuses on the quest of happiness in the sharing society, and the impact of Hip Hop dance and culture in education. Her recent publications include Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture - Words Beats & Life, UCSA Graduate Students Policy Journal 2nd edition, and an online article at Stateofuc.org. Finally, in Europe, she was Maurice Bejart’s conservatory and museum’s general coordinator, she was involved in the Hip Hop dance community, and she served as the co-founder of Crystal’Art association, which denounced social injustices through dance, music and video.

 

Sophia Levine

Sophia Levine

slevi003@ucr.edu

Sophia Levine is a first-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow and Gluck Fellow. As a dance artist trained in compositional improvisation as well as various Modern and Post-Modern forms, Levine has taught and performed in Pittsburgh, New York, Illinois, Vermont, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland and Italy. Levine has presented twice with the Choreography Lab of the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts (2013 and 2015) and has participated in the Mnemonics Network for Memory Studies conferences as a presenter (2015) and graduate student organizer (2016). Her current research concerns durational female-centered performances that were, historically, incorporated into site-specific Catholic practices in Southern Italy. These include tarantism, the songs of the prefiche and the ritual of the so-called culto delle pietre. Levine was granted a B.A. in Dance with High Honors at Middlebury College (2010) and received a three-year teaching assistantship and multiple awards during her M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2015).

 

Evangelina Lopez

Evangelina Lopez

evangelina.lopez@email.ucr.edu

Evangelina Lopez is a second-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Lopez is honored to have been selected as a GAANN Fellow, and a recipient of the prestigious Eugene Cota Robles Award. Lopez holds a B.F.A. in Dance with a Modern Emphasis from Utah Valley University. Her dance and movement background include Fancy Shawl, Samba (Rio and Afro), and diverse exposure to various Modern Techniques, some of which include: Graham, Limón, Cunningham and Bartenieff  Fundamentals. Lopez teaches and participates in Native American Powwow Dance and Pole & Aerial Fitness. During her undergraduate work, Lopez was featured as a guest lecturer for Dance and History courses at Moorpark Community College, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. 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), and Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside (2016).

Lopez's choreographic pursuits include exploration of identity through Native American Powwow Dance and what it means to integrate Powwow into different spaces. In research, Lopez's primary interests are choreopolitics and commodification associated with Powwow Dance and culture.

http://evangelinaalopez.weebly.com/

 

Denise Machin

Denise Machin

Denise Machin is a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is a Chancellor’s Distinguished 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 and collegiate teams. She is a founding member of the Collegiate Dancesport Association, serving as the Secretary on the Executive Board. Machin is currently conducting 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. In August of 2016, Machin became the first woman to serve as the Director of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company. She also serves as adjunct faculty in Pomona College’s Physical Education Department.

 

Anna Nikulina

Ania Nikulina

akala001@ucr.edu

Ania Nikulina is a third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside and has been awarded a Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship. Nikulina has diverse dance training in Ballet, Modern and Jazz dance, which she received largely in Novosibirsk, Russia. Beginning in 1996 she performed with the Novosibirsk Experimental Youth Theatre, and she continued her dance training at Novosibirsk State University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Statistics in 2007. In 2014, Nikulina earned her Master’s degree in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University, focusing on the relationships between performance and political processes. Her recently defended masters 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. Nikulina plans to continue her research on a doctoral level with an expanded focus on dance as a form of political resistance.

 

Cuahtemoc Peranda

Cuauhtémoc Peranda

cpera001@ucr.edu

Cuauhtémoc Peranda (Mexica/Aztec & Mescalero Apache), M.F.A., is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Critical Dance Studies program at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). His studies are supported by the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship and the Gluck Fellowship of the Arts. His research focuses on the history of the West Coast Ballroom Scene, and how Voguing is used as a tool for developing resilience in its dancers (as a medicine for healing and preventing suicide). Additionally, he is interested in the creation of trans-national queer of color Vogue kinship networks through social media, and the emergence and disappearance of Vogue techniques with the emergence and disappearances of queer and trans bodies of color. He has presented his research at the Beyond R’Margins conference at UCR, and he was awarded the Lambda Graduate Student Service Award for his commitment to the success of the 2016 BlaqOUT Conference and the LGBT community at UCR. Peranda holds a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University, and a M.F.A. in Dance from Mills College.

 

Emily Ann Pasqualetto

Emily Ann Pasqualetto

emily.pasqualetto@email.ucr.edu

Emily Ann Pasqualetto is a first-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance, graduating summa cum laude in 2015. Pasqualetto is a recipient of the prestigious Eugene Cota Robles Award. In addition to her extensive training in classical Ballet, Pasqualetto is acquainted with numerous movement knowledges and techniques. Between 2013 and 2015, Pasqualetto began to cultivate her scholarly interests. Her undergraduate work, “Ballet Kingdom: Staging Feudalistic Hierarchy” examines how the institutional framework of classical Ballet mimics feudalism and stages hegemonic ideologies through movement analysis. Similarly, “Spartak: Negotiations of Citizenship in Soviet Russia” explores the ways in which Yuri Grigorovich’s ballet Spartak interacts with political and artistic processes to negotiate notions of citizenship. Using her undergraduate work as a vantage point, Pasqualetto’s research addresses how the Ballet genre, its institutional framework, and repertoires interact with political processes and stage ideological discourses of various sociocultural and sociopolitical trends. Her current vein of research utilizes the aforementioned focus as a lens to analyze Swedish dance, specifically Kungliga Baletten. Pasqualetto is considering her work in relation to concepts of lagom, jantelagen, Folkhemmet, and Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti.

 

Lindsay Blue Annie Rapport

Lindsay Blue Annie Rapport

lrapp001@ucr.edu

Lindsay Rapport is a third-year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a four-time Gluck Fellow of the Arts as well as a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship. She is interested in exploring the relationships between Hip Hop dances and Black liberation movements, considering the importance of bodily innovation as well as the solidarity formed through communal sociality. She presented her work “Innovative Im/mobilities of Resistance: African American Contexts and the Hip Hop Dancing Body” at Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference 2016, where she also had the pleasure of serving as Graduate Assistant.

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 has served as Assistant to the Founder and Artistic Director, Brandon J, since the Company’s inception in 2007. 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 fourth-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 is a fourth-year returning Gluck Program for the Art’s Fellow. Şahin earned her B.A. from the University of Delaware in 2012 with an Anthropology major and Islamic Studies and Arabic Language minor. Şahin is also a professional performer and instructor of raqs sharqi (“belly dance”) and Middle Eastern folkloric dances, and she has researched these genres throughout the U.S. and in Tunisia, Egypt, and Turkey. Şahin is currently researching and writing her multi-sited dance ethnography of Cairo's raqs sharqi scene for her dissertation project. 

Photo credit: Graphic Vibe LA 

 

Radi Shafie

Radi Shafie

rshaf003@ucr.edu

Radi Shafie is a third-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 and dance scholar of childbirth and maternal embodiments. In her work as scholar and activist, she explores the intersections between embodied knowledges and systems of power. Stahl-Kovell is currently working on her dissertation, “Choreographing Childbirth,” as a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). She explores how the moving, shaking, sweating, tearing, bleeding, and, at times, prone laboring body is both subject to and capable of resisting larger choreographic scores and structures of institutional power. 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. Through politically engaged scholarship and intimate feminist ethnography, she critically employs original, ethnographic research from transcriptions of interviews with pregnant participants and mothers, to observations from attending childbirth education courses, to movement notation from attending pregnant participants' childbirth experiences in Southern California.

Stahl-Kovell is a Dean’s Distinguished Fellow, Gluck Fellow of the Arts, and holds an 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 fourth-year 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 a Primary Level Instructor in Folk Dance by the Taiwanese Sports Administration, Ministry of Education in 2013. She is currently 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 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.

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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