Department of Dance


Faculty Bio

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Joel Smith
Joel Smith

Joel Smith

Associate Professor  and Chair
Office: ARTS 104

Joel Smith’s research on gender and queer representation lives in his work as a choreographer, director and writer. He is currently Co-Artistic director of casebolt and smith, a contemporary dance/theater duet company, with artistic partner Liz Casebolt. Through collaboration and a shared interest in creating meta-theatrical dances that blend improvisational structures, speaking, singing, gesture, and contemporary movement vocabularies, their work illuminates gender and sexuality politics represented in male/female partnerships, and comments on the sometimes overly serious traditions of modern dance. They are known for playing between chatty and scripted conversation, with each other and the audience, while offering honest insights into their choreographic methods and collaborative rapport. The press often describes their work as smart, playful, humorous and accessible.

Aside from his work with casebolt and smith, Joel has extensive commercial credits including dancing for pop artists Ricky Martin and Thalia as well as appearing on film and television including two national commercials for Hummer and Dr. Pepper. He was named one of “LA's Finest” contemporary male dancers by Dance Spirit Magazine and is frequently commissioned to make dances for students at various colleges and universities.

Joel Smith received an MFA for Experimental Choreography from UC Riverside in 2004 and a BA in Studio Art and Theater Design from UC Davis in 2000. Joel has been on the faculties at Scripps College, UCLA, El Camino College, Rio Hondo College and Cerritos College.


DNCE 5: Introduction to Dance
DNCE 67A: Advanced Contemporary Technique
DNCE 73AB: Jazz Technique
DNCE 114A: Composition I
DNCE 114B: Composition II
DNCE 114C: Composition III
DNCE 180J: Repertory
DNCE 180R: Pedagogy (undergrad and grad)
DNCE 180G: Advanced Composition/Production
DNCE 190: Special Studies
DNCE 242: Dancing Representations: Figures, Forms and Frames 
DNCE 243: Collaborating in Dance Making: Materials, Methods and Interactions 
DNCE 290: Directed Studies (grad)
DNCE 291: Individualized Study in Coordinated Areas

casebolt and smith's Full Presentation Includes (most recent)

Dance Round Table Festival, National Theater (Experimental Black Box), Taipei, Taiwan
Echo Echo Movement and Dance Festival, Derry, Northern Ireland
92nd St. Y Harkness Dance Festival, New York, NY
South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center: Cabaret Stage, Miami, FL
University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts, Reno, NV
Spring to Dance Festival, St. Louis, MO
Walking Distance Dance Festival, ODC San Francisco, CA
Culver Center for the Arts (Arts Bloc) Riverside, CA
Vancouver International Dance Festival, Vancouver, Canada
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Saint Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, NY
College of Saint Benedict/St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN
Inbound Dance Festival, Joyce SoHo New York, NY
Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
The Moth, Farmlab/Metabolic Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Looking Left Dance Festival, 418 Theater, Santa Cruz, CA
Commuter Festival, California Institute of The Arts, Valencia, CA
New Dance Festival, The Wooden Floor, Santa Ana, CA
Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, CA
CounterPulse San Francisco, CA

Recent Awards and Honors

“Top Ten Performance,” San Francisco Chronicle, 2013

“Year in Review 2013, Best Out of Towners,” Windy City Times Chicago, 2013

“Top Five Performance,” Minnesota Post, 2010

Recent Commissions

Too Squared, 2016: RAWdance Company, San Francisco, CA

Some of its Parts, 2014: University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts, Reno, CA

Having Words Part 2, 2013: DanceWorks Chicago, IL

…for six, 2012: Scripps College, Claremont, CA

In Other Words, 2008: The New Dance Festival, The Wooden Floor (Formerly Saint Joseph Ballet), Santa Ana, CA


"It’s playful, humorous and the timing – comic and dance – is spot on...if I see another piece this year that’s as much fun, I’ll be doing very well indeed. The pair left you wanting to see the whole piece, which is about as good a recommendation as you can get."  SeeingDance, 2/16

“These two move and sing and make jokes with equal aplomb, targeting the pomposity and obscurity of modern dance.” – The New Yorker, 2/14

“Year in Review: Top 10 Dance Performances of 2013” – Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13

"[casebolt and smith], while skewering conventional thinking about dance, glide through the space with a blithe, airy quality that sustains them through the evening, and they integrate the spoken word and the gesture as well as anybody I have seen since David Gordon a generation ago."  San Francisco Chronicle 8/13

"For those who’ve suffered at the receiving end of Casebolt and Smith’s target subject, it’s like a breath of fresh air and also side-achingly funny. But it’s the clever way the pair integrate themes of gender identity/stereotyping and pose questions about artistic appropriation and the very nature of “contemporary” that add texture to O(h) and leave lots of food for thought. It’s a dance fan’s must-see."  Toronto Star 7/13

"This likeable duo from L.A. are polished dancers, and there is a charming, playful energy between them that easily transfers to the audience. They clearly have thought seriously about dance, and present their conclusions to the audience with a cheeky nod to their influences."  CBC Manitoba 7/13

"The L.A.–based duo Casebolt and Smith combine talking, singing, and full-throttle dancing with a freshness that can delight or startle an audience—or make them laugh." – Dance Magazine, 6/13

"The show’s best moments combine rapid-fire quips with beautifully executed moves, inviting your brain to fire on all cylinders." – The Los Angeles Times, 1/12

"casebolt and smith are a postmodern Agnes de Milles, superimposing their gestural vocabulary with possible interpretations – and the witty range of possibilities may surprise you. At the same time as casebolt and smith lampoon theatrical conceits of contemporary dance, their self-reflexive work finds clever new possibilities in each choreographic building block." – Stage and Cinema, 1/12

"The choreography is enlightening and witty… Exploring themes of personal expression through original song and dance, casebolt and smith give a sophisticated, coherent commentary on the multiplicity of genres in dance." – Flavorpill, 1/12

"Part dance, part theater and refreshingly light-hearted, casebolt and smith’s O(h) is a welcome alternative to the dark-hued worlds of melancholia, depression and manipulative violence in which so many modern dance companies and their choreographers languish."  (Go) LA Weekly, 1/12

"It's funny, sly, wonderfully staged, imaginative, and quite perfect—even when it isn’t perfect at all." – WeHo News, 2/12

"They're clever, sometimes silly, and not afraid to talk as much as they dance." – The New Yorker, 2/10

"[casebolt and smith]…create perhaps the most entertaining, engaging and explicative dance theater on the planet." – Minn Post, 8/10

"In fact, they’re downright funny, especially when they take you inside their highly verbal means of creating a piece." – Pioneer Press, 8/10

"What I especially appreciated was how sophisticated [casebolt and smith’s] foray into dance styles, issues, foibles, politics was, and at the same time how much it appealed to the broad audience the afternoon I attended" –  Linda Shapiro, Dance Critic (Dance Magazine, Gay City News) 8/10

"casebolt and smith bring intimacy and directness, and a seriousness of purpose warmly wrapped in physicality, playfulness and humour.  They have the rare quality of a light, but sharp political edge in their work, which entertains as it makes you think and re-think." – What's On Northern Ireland, 5/10

"…they seem to have carved out a highly personal niche: vest-pocket dace theater filled with quick-on-draw gestural movement, self-revealing talk and quirky humor with a sense of urgency." – Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body, 2/10

"Their comedic timing was impeccable." – The Dance Current, Vancouver, Canada, 3/08

"…you can't help but mutter, ‘How do they do it?’ They fly through the space in lifts and frisky manipulations and prattle on with such ease, that you forget it’s a dance. You don’t want the physical conversation to end." –, 5/08

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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