Participating Graduate Students


The Performance Studies Graduate Student Group welcomes all graduate students who consider that questions of performance - in all its many definitions and permutations - are relevant to their work. When possible, we coordinate our readings and reflections with the events sponsored by the Center for Performance Studies. Our main purpose, however, is to provide a forum for graduate students to share our research and deepen our understanding of the works that define the field.

Iliana Alcántar (Spanish and Portuguese)

Iliana is currently writing her dissertation entitled "In Pursuit of the Mexican Chimera: New Notions of Identity in Contemporary Literature, Film, and Performance." Her work is reflective of her research in the fields of Mexican Literature and Culture. Her interests include, among others, contemporary Latin American cinema, performance and postcolonial theory, as well as postmodern studies.

Nobuko Anan (Theater and Performance Studies)

Nobuko is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theater. She joined the program from Japan in 2004. She is mainly interested in feminist and postcolonial approaches to modern and contemporary Japanese theater, including social performance.

Harmony Bench (World Arts and Cultures)

Harmony is a doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. Before moving to Los Angeles, Harmony earned her MA in Performance Studies from New York University, as well as a BFA in Ballet and a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Utah. She is currently writing her dissertation on dance on the Internet.

Galia Boneh (World Arts and Cultures)

Galia is an Israeli-American, and a PhD Candidate at UCLA. She is currently on her way to Ghana, to implement a performance project with people living with HIV/AIDS. Her research interests include African dance, music and popular theatre; images of Africa; images of white people in Africa; HIV/AIDS; and not last - and certainly not least – the transformative power of art.

Rosemary Candelario (World Arts and Cultures)

Rosemary Candelario is a scholar, dancer, and activist in the Culture and Performance Ph.D. program at UCLA, where she earned a M.A. with a concentration in dance in 2007. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of place and the creation of space in the choreography of Japanese American dancers, Eiko & Koma. Other research interests include the globalization of butoh, arts activism, and the political implications of popular science fiction.

Sarah Ellis (Theater and Performance Studies)

Sarah is a PhD student in Theater and Performance Studies. In 2008, she graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in Theater Studies/Music and English. Her research and creative interests include the composition, performance, and space of music in American musical theater.

Ross Joseph Fenimore (Musicology)

Ross is a student in musicology and works on the mythology of the diva in cinema, tv, and music video. He focuses on how these voices construct subjectivities in queer communities and embraces the work of feminist theory, queer theory, and the French [post] structuralists. He was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in 2003.

Malik Gaines (Theater and Performance Studies)

Malik Gaines is a Ph.D. candidate in Theater and Performance Studies. His research is concerned with performances from the 1960s that responded to the era’s international circulation of revolutionary black politics while gendering the representation of those politics in unexpected ways. Malik is also a founding member of the performance group My Barbarian, which works in art contexts internationally. Malik holds a MFA from Cal Arts School of Critical Studies and a BA in History from UCLA.

Kariann Goldschmitt (Musicology)

Kariann received her MA in Music: Critical Studies and Experimental Practices at UCSD. She specializes in the reception and transformation of 20th Century Brazilian popular music in the US. Her interests also include broader issues of genre-crossing, electronic dance music, new media, and ethics.

Tiff Graham (World Arts and Cultures)

Tiff is a PhD student in Culture and Performance at UCLA. She is interested in individual motivations, traditions, ethnographic studies, cultural tourism productions, and various multimedia approaches (web design, interactive CD/DVDs, video/film, museum exhibitions). Her dissertation examines small town festivals in the Lower Mississippi Delta region. She holds a BA in English with Science Emphasis from the University of Missouri-Columbia (1994) and a MS in Occupational Health with Environmental Health coursework from the Medical College of Ohio-Toledo (1996).

Ana Paula Höfling (World Arts and Cultures)

Ana Paula Höfling is PhD student in the Culture and Performance program. She holds an MFA in choreography and performance from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, an MA in dance from UCLA and a BA in linguistics from UC Berkeley, and she has been playing capoeira for the past 17 years. Her research examines how the concept of "tradition" is deployed in the transnational circulation of capoeira angola, and locates the growing trend of capoeira angola workshops (encontros) in Brazil within the search for embodied difference that permeates the tourist industry.

Frances Kern (Classics)

Frances's interests include ancient drama and its performance, the ancient theater, and issues surrounding the modern performance of ancient drama.

Justin Lim (Comparative Literature)

Justin studies modernism in music, literature, and other arts;twentieth-century theater; and theories and strategies of comparative arts. He earned an MPhil (European Literature and Culture) from the University of Cambridge, BA Hons (English and French) from the University of British Columbia, and ARCT (Piano Performance) from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto.

Heidi Miller (Theater and Performance Studies)

Heidi's current academic work focuses on multimedia performance, specifically the use of film and video in experimental theater. This interest developed out of her own experience as a multimedia director. Heidi received her BA in Theatre from San Francisco State University in 1994, and her MA in Theatre from CSU Los Angeles in 2005.

Elizabeth Morgan (Musicology)

Elizabeth is a PhD student in the department of musicology and a DMA student in the department of music. Her research interests include nineteenth century piano music, virtuosity, domestic music making, and music and gender. She received her BM and MM in piano performance from Juilliard.

Jeannine Murray-Roman (Comparative Literature)

Jeannine's major fields, Francophone, Latin American, and Performance Studies, coalesce in a dissertation-in-progress entitled "Moving Geographies: Traveling Texts and Performances in Contemporary Caribbean Writing." A long-standing obsession is the question of "translation" between genres, notably texts and performances and she is currently interested in how performance studies might help us theorize the phenomenon of blogs and their politically interactive potential.

Paul Nadal (Asian American Studies)

PJ works with Asian American literature and critical theory. His project looks at the performance of queer racialized desires in contemporary Asian American writing, examining questions of empire and diaspora. He received his B.A. in English and American Ethnic Studies at UW-Seattle and also attended the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Michael Najjar (Theater and Performance Studies)

Michael is a Ph.D. student whose focus of study is Arab American/Arab Canadian Theater and Performance. His interests also include Arab Theater and Performance, Druze Studies, and directing. Michael holds a M.F.A. in Directing from York University (Toronto), a B.A. in Theater from The University of New Mexico, and is an alumnus of the British/American Drama Academy (BADA), Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and Director’s Lab West. Since arriving at UCLA, Michael has been awarded the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, Center for World Languages Scholarship, and an Instructional Media Collection and Services Grant. In addition to writing his dissertation, he is currently co-editing the first anthology of Arab American and Arab Canadian Drama.

Christie Nittrouer (Theater and Performance Studies)

Christie Nittrouer's research is focused on the production, performance, and consumption of comedy by women across genres of stand-up, television, and platforms of new media. As a comedic writer/author, she is also interested in the way the women generate "funny" material. In addition, Christie studies and teaches in the Scandinavian Department at UCLA. She received a B.A. in Drama from the University of Washington and a M.A. in Theater from the University of Wisconsin.

Katie Oliviero (Women's Studies)

Katie Oliviero is a doctoral candidate in UCLA's Women's Studies Department. Her dissertation investigates how conservative campaigns use techniques of sensationalism, performance and memory to construct foundational ideals - citizenship, personhood, intimacy, and nation - as vulnerable and in need of public protection. Interested in how aesthetics are deployed to gain political and emotional purchase, she examines the performance iconographies of organized opposition to liberal immigration, queer, and reproductive justice legislation, as articulated by such groups as the Minutemen, the Yes on Proposition 8 coalition, and the Genocide Awareness Project, an anti-abortion group. Her larger research themes include embodiment, media, socio-legal, sexuality, feminist and cultural studies.

Nush Powell (English)

Nush studies British literature of the long eighteenth century and is extremely interested in questions of gender and genre. Her dissertation, "The Performance of Authorship in English Periodicals, 1690-1760," focuses on the ways periodical authors find to turn their editorial mouthpieces into full-fledged characters, and the problems those characters can create for them in turn.

Chantal Rodríguez (Theater and Performance Studies)

Chantal is a doctoral candidate in the Theater Critical Studies Department at UCLA. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Santa Clara University with a double major in Theatre Arts and Spanish Studies. As a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow, her focus is on Latino/a Theatre and performance in the United States.

Alexandra Roedder (Musicology/Music)

Alexandra is writing a dissertation on globalization in film music, looking at the changes evident in Joe Hisaishi's music for Hayao Miyazaki's films, such as My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea . She also has an ongoing interest in historical performance practice, and plays both baroque and modern cello. Her work is all tied together by an underlying fascination with narrative and structure.

Matthew Sandoval (World Arts and Cultures)

Mathew Sandoval is a scholar, a performer, a radical, and a Ph.D. student in the Culture and Performance program at UCLA. He holds an M.A. in Performance Art/Performance Studies from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, where he worked with Roselee Goldberg, Richard Schechner, Liz LeCompte, Lenora Champagne, and Deborah Jowitt. His dissertation research focuses on Body, Pain, Protest, and Power with respect to the Guantanamo Bay issue and the "War on Terror." He is also interested in Podcasts, Feats of Endurance, Neuroscience, Skeletons, Yoga, Punk, and Basketball.

Carolina San Juan (World Arts and Cultures)

Carolina is a ex-ballroom dance instructor turned performance artist/nascent scholar. She continues to do the shim sham shimmy. Current projects include, “ From Vaudeville to Bodabil: American Imperialism, Race and Gender in Philippine Performance,” and “The Other Minstrels: Transnational Imagination in the Myth of David Fagan.”

Philip Scepanski (Film, Television, and Digital Media)

Philip is currently pursuing an MA in Critical Studies in the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media. His research interests include the performative and ritualistic aspects of media audiences. Philip earned his BA in Radio, Television, and Film from Northwestern University.

Angeline Shaka (World Arts and Cultures)

Angeline is a dancer and doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance in the World Arts and Cultures department. Her dissertation investigates some contemporary choreographies of concert hula and their relationship to the cultural nationalist movements in Hawaii. Her research interests include indigenous performance, representations of gender and sexuality, and politics of the body. She received her M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University where her research focused on Joseph Pilates and the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning.

Kimberly Twarog (Women's Studies)

Kimberly Twarog is a graduate student in the UCLA Women's Studies department. Her interests include feminist performance theory, cultural constructions of identity and community, the healing properties of art, and Southeast Asian performance. Her dissertation will focus on the use of traditional Indonesian performance as a form of therapy for tsunami survivors in Aceh, Indonesia. In addition to her graduate research, Kimberly also volunteers at a local shelter for women survivors of domestic violence.

Qi Wang (Film)

Qi is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Dept. of Film, TV and Digital Media, UCLA. Her dissertation is on contemporary Chinese independent cinema; working title is "Writing Against Oblivion: Personal Filmmaking from the Forsaken Generation in Post-Socialist China." Research interests include: representation of history and memory in film and other visual arts; documentary and ethnographic film; East Asian cinemas; French cinema; postcolonial studies; Japanese animation; dance in cinema. She has published in English and Chinese on Chinese cinema, documentary, Japanese animation, and modern art in Asian Cinema, International Journal of Comic Art, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture, Latent Image, positions: east asia cultures critique, Art World (Shanghai) and Reel China: A New Look at Contemporary Chinese Documentary. She also works as the assistant curator and English editor for REEL CHINA Documentary Biennial, New York.

Sara Wolf (World Arts and Cultures)

Sara is a third-year PhD student whose research focuses on activist, queer and feminist performance, specifically in regard to mutually constitutive discourses of nation, class and ethnicity. She also is a freelance dance and performance art critic for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly , and Dance magazine.

Heather Wozniak (English)

Heather specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature and is especially interested in romanticism, gender studies, and popular culture. Her dissertation examines British gothic drama written and performed between 1768 and 1823. She hopes to make James Boaden and Richard Brinsley Peake as familiar to gothic enthusiasts as Ann Radcliffe and Mary Shelley. She completed her Ph.D. in 2008 and is currently a Lecturer in the UCLA Department of English.

Allison Wyper (Dance)

Allison makes live performance incited by current social realities. Bridging contemporary practices including performance art, theatre, dance and conceptual art she generates a dynamic hybrid genre that vitalizes the performance space as a site of critical investigation, with focus on experimentation and practice as research. Allison has performed and collaborated with Katsura Kan, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Violeta Luna, Sara Shelton Mann, Hancock and Kelly, Maria Gillespie, Michael Sakamoto, Guillermo Galindo, Scrap and Salvage, Culture Clash, paige starling sorvillo/blindsight, and Pilgrim Theatre Research and Performance Collaborative in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Berlin. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures.

Jiayun Zhuang (Theater and Performance Studies)

Jiayun is a doctoral candidate, who joined the Theater Department at UCLA from Beijing, China. She is interested in both contemporary performance arts of China (such as theatrical performances, multimedia performances, and installation performances) and the transfiguration of certain performance space as new social space in urban China. She studies the new social space (with the performances in it) as cultural frontiers between the official and the transnational in the glocal China, to examine the porous interfaces between society, state and transnational participation.

Interested in joining us? UCLA students may join the graduate student email list for information about upcoming events and reading group meetings!