History and Mission
The UC Berkeley Dance Studies Working Group (DSWG) was founded in 2008 by a group of graduate students in the Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Department (TDPS). As dance scholars worked to build spaces for dance research and practice in the field of performance studies, graduate students focused on dance within TDPS felt equally compelled to find avenues for developing research and honing practices, thus the birth of DSWG.

To this day DSWG exists as a site of inquiry, exploration, and discussion for students, faculty, scholars, practitioners, and community members engaged with dance and movement-based practices. With a focus on process over product, DSWG serves as an incubator to engage with new research and alternate pathways for knowledge production and dissemination, and further support dance practices and research that engage with a wide array of social, political, and cultural issues.

DSWG has been and continues to be generously supported by the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Former Organizers*
Sima Belmar
Kate Mattingly
Heather Rastovac
Ariel Osterweis Scott
Chia-Yi Seetoo
Lisa Wymore

*Please email us at dswgberk@gmail.com if you have any information to add to either the history or representation of past leaders.

Current Organizers

Olive McKeon is a dancer and researcher from Northern California. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, writing a dissertation on American modern dance history and political economy. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Pavilion Magazine: a journal of the Bucharest Biennial, Activate Journal, and Fuse Magazine: Art+Culture+Politics. Her book of poetry, Communism is up there and we are down here but it is happening now (2014), was published by Timeless Infinite Light, a poetry press in Oakland. She is a member of a curatorial collective called SALTA that puts together a monthly series of experimental dance in Oakland. She has danced recently with the choreographers Abby Crain, Jmy James Kidd, Nick Duran, Laurel Tentindo as well as in her own work.

Randi Evans is a PhD student in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. She holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts, an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington, and a certificate in performance curation from Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. Prior to coming to Berkeley she spent her time working as an arts and culture administrator, community-based teaching artist, and a lecturer in contemporary performance practices at University of Washington Bothell. Current research interests include participatory and community-based practices in dance in relationship to institutional structures and critique, cultural policy, and social practice.

Bélgica L. del Río is a student in the Performance Studies PhD with an emphasis in New Media at UC Berkeley. She is interested in technology’s interactions with the human body and the performance of identity. Bélgica’s research spans across dance, digital culture, technoculture, and media theory. She also participates in the UC wide faculty working group, “Indigenous Dance in the Academy,” where she engages with scholars and community members who are also interested in Native issues. Bélgica comes to Berkeley with a BA in Dance and English, cum laude from the University of California Riverside.