Graduated Students

Duskin Drum (2017) was made by and by the forest and the sea and the people; duskin is part of the making. An islander and a forest mongrel, duskin’s work circulates around and through practices of ecological tuning.

Emelie Mahdavian (2016) is a filmmaker, musician, and dancer who studies Central and South Asian culture, documentary film, dance film, material culture, nationalism, and practice as research.

Ayo Walker  (2016)
Ayo Walker’s research focus encompasses the fields of dance education and curriculum development with an emphasis on African American dances.

Sean Feit Oakes (2016)
Sean Feit Oakes works in contemplative performance using the tools of multidisciplinary theater and spiritual practice, including music composition and improvisation, immersive environments, Buddhist meditation, dance and moving image.

Keith Hennessy (2016)
Keith Hennessy’s interdisciplinary research currently focuses on Bay Area performance history, and engages improvisation, public actions and alchemy/shamanism as tools for investigating political realities.

Kara Miller (2015)
Re-imagining Modern Dance as Transnational Phenomenon Through the Lens of Yoga
Kara Miller is a scholar, choreographer, and dance filmmaker with research interests focused on dance in South Asia, embodied culture, sacred place, and dance for the camera. Currently also an Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance, University of Hawaii.

Jess Curtis (2015)
Jess Curtis’ research explores physical and disciplinary diversity in body-based performance and interrogates the roles of haptic experience and contextual framing/dislocation in the processes of creation, performance and reception of live art.

Beth Stephens (2015)
Critical and Aesthetic Research in Environmental Art
Elizabeth Stephens  is an artist, activist, and professor at UC Santa Cruz. Her artworks, performances, films and writings explore themes of embodied queer ecologies. Stephens’ collaborative visual and performative work, made with her partner Annie Sprinkle, have been exhibited, performed and screened nationally and internationally. Together they are creating a new field of research called SexEcology. Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story (available on Netflix and iTunes) is their first film together and the first feature length queer environmental documentary. Currently they are writing a book entitled, Assuming the Ecosexual Position for the University of Minnesota Press. They are the movers and shakers of the ecosex movement, where they aim to make environmental art a little more divers, sexy and fun. For more see or

Praba Pilar (2014)
Latin@s Byte Back: Contestational Performance in the TechnoSphere
Praba Pilar is teaching “Decolonizing Art Practices for Aboriginal Youth” – a new praxis curriculum she has developed in collaboration with Ndinawe Youth Resource Center and Urban Shaman Contemporary Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Canada (2015-2016). She continues generating and presenting solo and collaborative performance and intermedia projects, mentoring artists for Mentoring Artists for Women in the Arts, lecturing, writing, and developing programming as a collaborative member of the Canadian Consortium of Performance and Politics in the Americas and as co-founder of Mujer Artista: Latina Women in the Prairies. Over 2013-2015, Praba Pilar was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities and New Media for the Hub for InnoVative Exchange of the Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies of the University of Winnipeg, where she also taught coursework in new media, culture jamming and feminism.

Chris McCoy (2014)
Chris McCoy moved to tenure track post as Assistant Professor of Theatre and Stage Director at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Chris will be teaching the undergraduate curriculum for theatre majors and directing main stage shows for Jewell Theatre Company.

Nita Little (2014)
Articulating Presence: Creative Actions of Embodied Attention in Contemporary Dance
A choreographer, teacher and theorist in the field of improvisational dance and Contact Improvisation, Nita Little works with dancers on five continents. She recently received her Ph.D. in performance studies from the University of California, Davis, 2014. Nita moved to Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Florida. Dr Little participated in the emergence and development of Contact Improvisation in 1972 with Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith and others. She has been exploring the embodied mind in the physics of motion, relational and creative action, and the performance of presence ever since. As a dance researcher, Little maintains a San Francisco-based company, Nita Little Dance Research. Little works with dancers and performers in numerous mediums and modalities including film. She tours on a regular basis making work, performing, and teaching technical and creative skills for companies, festivals and schools worldwide. Little is a physical philosopher who is developing a movement
pedagogy oriented around creative actions of embodied attention in dance, the basis of her dissertation.
Her website is

Sampada Aranke (2013)
Dr. Sampada Aranke is an Assistant Professor in the Art History, Theory, Criticism Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,500 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields.

Alexander Boyd (2013)
The Sustainability of Traditional Knowledge Systems: Embodied Learning Through Practice, Teaching and Application
Alex Boyd has been pivotal in establishing various international not-for-profit organisations that allow his research in embodied learning, to be applied and developed to benefit various communities.This includes organizing and delivering traditional community based classes and courses in a Daoist whole-body breathing system for the charity Lishi International, to which he is a Trustee. Alex lives in the Netherlands with his wife and son and commutes to teach weekly Lishi classes between Amsterdam and London alongside his other work. As a Senior Visiting Lecturer to Leeds Trinity University in the UK, Alex co-coordinates and teaches on a foundation level degree program that he designed and developed through to validation as part of the completion of the PhD. A second cohort of students are due to graduate from his program in July 2015. Alex also provides mindfulness and life coaching to a select group of clients. These include a Golden Globe Award winning actor, a Forbes listed CEO, and a high profile London based international company.
Alex Boyd can be reached at:

Amy Champ (2013)
‘Feminism From the Inside Out: Women and Yoga in the United States’
Yoga Studies, Women’s Studies, Social and Political Philosophy

Elizabeth Galindo (2012)
‘The Interaction of “Originary Practices” and Costume Design in the Development of Historical Film Genre in 21st Century Hollywood Cinema’
Elizabeth Galindo was an internationally renowned fashion designer with an extensive practice in historical costuming for film. After graduation she worked in Design at the Universities of Kansas, California-Davis, and Sacramento State.
She worked as the Dean of The Art, Architecture and Design Division at the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) and authored The History of the Wedding Gown Across Cultures.

Nina Galin (2012)
‘Somatic Awareness as a Lens on Art and Money or, Process-based aesthetics in a product-based world’
Professional Choreographer

Dylan Bolles (2012)
‘Myth of Ten Thousand Things: Sound, Story and the Collaborative Self’
Critical Language Scholarship (Korean), The US Dept. of State Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs and The Council of American Overseas Research Centers; Pacific Rim Research Grant; UC Davis Humanities Institute Fellow; Dean’s Dissertation Year Fellowship
Independent Musician

Sharon Pressburg (2012)
‘Reimagining Space in the Performance of Ireland’
Full-time teacher, Sacramento Public School

Sylvie Bissonnette (2011)
‘The Metamorphosis of the Spectator in Animation’
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Dissertation Fellowship; UC Davis Humanities Institute Fellow.
Moved to UC Berkeley, with a Postdoctoral position from the Fond de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture

Claire Chambers (2010)
‘Performance Apophatics: Theatre, Liturgy, and the Ethics of Unknowability.’
Dean’s Dissertation Year Fellowship
Moved to a tenure track post at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea

Jorge Luis Morejón (2010)
‘Cuban American Displacement in South Florida: Exilic Rituals’
Moved to tenure-track at the University of the West Indies

Nitza Tenenblat (2010)
‘On Potentializing: A Collective-based Group Theatre and Directing Practice’
Fulbright Award, CAPES award
Moved to tenure-track at Brazilia University

Mary Anderson (2009)
Mistaken Place:  Valuing the Feral Paradox in Site-Specific Festival Performance in Australia
Fulbright Award winner (2007-8), Dissertation Year Fellowship (2006-7)
Moved to tenure track at Wayne State

Darren Blaney (2009)
Staging the Social and Cruising the Crisis:
A genealogy of utopian aspiration in U.S. queer theater from the 1960s to the present 
Cota Robles Fellowship (2004-6)
Moved to Lecturer in Theatre History at the University of Miami, Miami, Florida

Ron Davis (2009)
Ecological Aesthetics
Theatre Directing, San Francisco Bay Area

Shelly Gilbride (2009)
Shelly Gilbride is an Arts Program Specialist a the California Arts Council with a focus on the agency’s arts education programs and initiatives. She manages the Artists in Schools grant program and the California Poetry Out Loud poetry recitation program for high school students across the state. She also works with CREATE CA, a collective impact coalition made up of 5 state-wide organizations and agencies that have come together to restore arts education in California Schools and helps to develop other initiatives that promote arts learning and engagement as a central component of civic life.

Isis Golden (2009)
Performing Cultural Empowerment:  Native American Activism on Alcatraz Island

Judy Halebsky (2009)
Transformation, Transmission, Translation:
Japanese Noh in West Coast arts practice in San Francisco and Vancouver
Moved to tenure track at Dominican University

Laura Hope (2007)
Staging the Nation / Confronting Nationalism:
Theatre and Performance by Contemporary Irish and German Women
Associate Professor, Loyola University New Orleans

Hope Medina (2009)
Brown Ethnography: Dirty Girls and Pop Culture Icons
Moved to Student Affairs Officer, Student Learning Center, UC Davis

Sean Metzger (2005)
The Chinese Fetish:  Fashioning Asian/American Bodies in Theatre and Film
Moved to a tenure track post at UCLA.

Jeff Nyhoff (2008)
Performing the Interface:  the Problematic Theatricality of the Commercial Graphical User Interface
Moved to a tenure track post at Calvin College

Shannon Riley (2006)
Imagi-Nations in Black and White: Cuba, Haiti, and the Performance of Difference in U.S. National Projects, 1898-1940
Dissertation Year Fellowship (2005-6)
Associate Professor, Coordinator, Creative Arts Program, San Jose State