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) at UC Berkeley. 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
Naomi Bragin
Bélgica L del Río
Kate Mattingly
Olive McKeon
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

Juan M. Aldape: MA in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick (UK). As practitioner and researcher, his current work focuses on movement, migration and mapping discourses related to undocumented spaces and choreographic processes. Most recently, he co-founded A PerFarmance Project, site-specific collaborations between farmers and performers researching the concept of food security from rural and urban perspectives. He is an Erasmus Mundus Scholar, a regular contributor to loveDancemore performance journal, and the e-resource convener for the International Federation for Theatre Research’s Performance as Research working group. He holds a BFA in Modern Dance and BA in Anthropology from the University of Utah (USA). 

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.

Aparna Nambiar: BSc. Life Sciences, National University of Singapore; M.A. Theatre Studies, University of AmsterdamM.A. International Performance Research, University of Warwick. Aparna is an Indian classical dancer and performance studies scholar based in Singapore. Her research thus far has examined the genesis and evolution of minority Indian performance practices in Singapore, and the ongoing negotiations of Singaporean identity that manifest performatively and corporeally. Her interests include diaspora studies, traditional performance practices in contemporary Asia, and the interventions of global capital flows on Asian culture.