Ph.D.: New York University Department of Performance Studies. Focus: Performance in the Caribbean.
M.A.: New York University, Gallatin School. Specializing in literature, performance and culture in the Caribbean. Thesis title: “St. Croix Dancing: The Contemporary and Historical Path of Dance on the US Virgin Island of St. Croix.”
BFA.(cum laude): Adelphi University. Dance Major, Political Science Minor.
CHOREOGRAPHY (selected list)
“BOOM!” evening-length duet commissioned by New York Live Arts, with subsequent touring: Painted Bride Art Center (PA), The Dance Place (DC), Reston Theatre (VA). ), additional touring to NPN Annual Meeting, Portland, Ore, Links Hall, Chicago, IL, South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas TX.
“BOOM!’ a 17 minute duet (Oliver and Leslie Cuyjet) of women at two differing stages of life in raucus interaction. Part of the Parallels in Black Series, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church. (NYC, 2012); At New York Live Arts, (NYC 2013).
“Rigidigidim de Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso”: an evening length group work examining geographic, national and aesthetic borders and the force of calypso as a unifying agent of Caribbeanness. Video collaborator: Marcus Behrens, Sound Designer: Jason Finkelman; Lighting designer: Mandy Ringger. National tour: Painted Bride Art Center (PA), Seattle’s Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas (WA), Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church (NYC), Bates Dance Festival (ME), The Dance Place (DC).
“Corpus Againstus”: Writer/ Choreographerof 9 minute solo for a male dancer performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, IL.
“Threshold”: Writer/Choreographer of a 15 minute sextet performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, IL.
“Whisper to Shout”: a 15 minute three movement collaboration between Oliver and Dr. Ollie Watts-Davis and the Black Chorus, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. IL
“Till I was Forty”: Writer/Choreographer/ Performer of a 15 minute solo performed at Seattle’s Central District Forum. WA.
“Closer Than Skin”: Writer/Choreographer/Performer in 40 minute trio performed at Aaron Davis Hall in the E-Moves series. NY.
“AfroSocialiteLifeDiva” 25 minute film selected for American Dance Festival (ADF)Dance for the Camera series. Summer
“Lessons in Female Etiquette”: Choreographer/Writer/ Performer of solo work premiered at Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, NY.
“AfroSocialiteLifeDiva” film collaboration with German Director Marcus Behrens of Radio Bremen for spring 2005 airing on Canal Arte arts channel in Europe. Champaign-Urbana, IL.
“AfroSocialteLifeDiva”: Writer, Choreographer, Performer of evening length work for Dance Theater Workshop’s Carnival Series. New York, NY.
“Ova Queens”: Choreographer/Writer/Performer in solo and group shared evening at Links Hall, Chicago, IL.
“For the Mention”: Choreographer and Writer of quartet for November Concert, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
“Sketches of a Time Spirit”: Performer/Choreographer/Writer of solo dance theatre work. The Hot House. Chicago,IL.
“Conjoined”: Writer and Choreographer of group work for the UIUC Festival Concert. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. University of Urbana-Champaign..
“Something to Count On”: Choreographer and Writer of solo created for Ashley Burnett. Senior Concert. Dance Rehearsal Studio, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
“because she was”: Writer, Choreographer, and Performer of solo based on concepts in SHEMAD. Presented at The Kitchen, NYC for the Talking Dance Festival, New Orleans Center for Contemporary Art NOCCA, and the Doris Humphrey Theatre in Chicago IL.
“SHEMAD”: Writer and Choreographer of full evening length group work produced at Performance Space 122, NYC.
“LUKoSiMAD/ SHEMAD (part I)”: Co Creator/Performer of dance performance event with fellow choreographer Gabri Christa, Dance Theater Workshop, NYC.
“Unremovable Jacket”: Creator/Performer of evening length dance theatre production Performance Space 122, NYC.
“Precious Boxes”: Creator/Performer The Yard, Chilmark, MA.
“Bed Opus”: Choreographer, Co-Creator/Performer with Jake-ann Jones Aaron Davis Hall, New York, NY. Penumbra Theatre, Minneapolis, MN.
“Woman: Dreamembering Madness”: Performer/Creator Improvisation Festival, The Kitchen, NYC.
“Death’s Door”: Writer/Choreographer of evening length dance theatre production Performance Space 122, NYC.
“Wake”: Writer/Choreographer/Performer as part of an evening of work by various artists. Performance Space 122, NYC.
“Elisa”: Choreographer/Writer/Performer as part of an evening of work by women of color at Performance Space 122, NYC.
“Polyergus (Acid Rap Opera)”: Choreographer/Performer of Vincent Katz’s production performed at La MaMa Etc. & Syncronicity Space, NYC.
“At A Loss”: Choreographer/Performer in part of “Haphazard Cabaret” showcase at The Joseph Papp Public Theater, NYC.
PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE: DANCE
2013 – ‘15
Tere O’Connor Dance: Guest Artist
Artistic Director: Tere O’Connor
Projects: “Sister” and “BLEED”
Bebe Miller Company
Artistic Director bebe Miller
Project: Necessary Beauty
Ronald Kevin Brown/Evidence: Featured Dancer.
Artistic Director: Ronald K. Brown
Destiny/Dakan/Destin ( a collaboration Rokiya Kone & Jeune Ballet D’Afrique Noire)
To Harm the Dangerous
David Gordon Pick-Up Co.: Dancer.
Artistic Director: David Gordon
Transparent Means for Travelling Light
The United States Project: New York, San Francisco, Minnesota.
White Wave Rising: Guest Performer.
Artistic Director: Young Soon Kim
Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Co.: Dancer.
Performed the works of legendary choreographers
George Faison: Suite Otis
Talley Beatty: Congo Tango Palace, A Rag, A Bone, A Hank of Hair and others.
Throne Dance Theatre: Dancer.
Artistic Directors: T. Throne and Y. S. Kim
RUSH Dance Co.: Understudy.
Artistic Director: Patrice Regnier
Caribbean Dance Co.: Dancer. Artistic Director: Montgomery Thompson
US. Virgin Islands.
Theatre Dance Inc.: Dancer.
Artistic Director: Atti van den Berg
US. Virgin Islands.
PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE: THEATRE
Performer in David Gordon’s “Autobiography of a Liar”, DanSpace at St. Marks, NYC.
Performer/Writer/Collaborator with ambient avant world trio Straylight at Tonic, NYC.
“Bed Opus”: Performer/Collaborator with Jake-ann Jones. Aaron Davis Hall African American Performance Art Festival On Tour, Harlem, USA.
“My Science Project”: Guest performer with Vernon Reid. Knitting Factory, NYC.
“Three’s The One”: Performer/Collaborator with Hank Smith. Performance Space 122, NYC.
“A Photograph: Lovers In Motion”: Actor/Assistant Choreographer in Ntozake Shange’s play produced by Minnesota’s Penumbra Theatre, Laurie Carlos, Director.
“Who Killed Carmen?”: Actor/Dancer in Patricia Hoffbauer’s multi-media production produced by Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Le Perque Theatre, NY.
“Njinga, The Queen King”: Njinga Kilunda in Ione’s BAM’s Majestic Theatre production, Bklyn, NY.
“My Darling Gremlin”: Actor/Dancer in Greg Tate’s play produced by Aaron Davis Hall, Harlem NY.
“Vanquished By Voodoo”: Actor/Dancer with Laurie Carlos’s production of her site specific play produced by En Garde Arts/ Harlem, NY.
“White Chocolate For My Father”: Actor/Dancer in Laurie Carlos’s New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award winning play/Performance Space 122, NY & USA tour.
“Mystery Project & What’s So Funny?”: Actor/Dancer with The David Gordon Pick Up Co. Development period. NYC
Compagnie Auguste – Bienvenue, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa. Taught week-long Contemporary Dance workshop and choreography.
Painted Bride Art Center (PA), Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas (WA), The Dance Place (DC). Offered Contemporary Dance classes as part of Rigidigidim De Bamba De Tour.
Feedback 33, London UK. Teaching Contemporary Dance to the London based collective.
University of Utah Artist-In-Residence. Setting work and teaching intermediate and advanced level technique classes.
Bates Summer Dance Intensive. Lewiston Maine. Teacher of Intermediate-Advanced technique, Composition I, and adjudicator for young choreographer’s works.
Stalwart Originality: New Traditions in Black Performance Artist-In-Residence. Williams College. Process residency for Closer Than Skin. Taught performance workshops and technique classes.
2000 – Present
Associate Professor. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Dance Department, teaching Advanced and Beginning/ Intermediate Modern technique classes; Introduction to Contemporary Dance; Dance in Performance; Dancing Black Popular Culture; Feminist Choreographies.
Adjunct Professor of Advanced Modern Dance (Technique III/IV) at Hunter College, New York, NY. Contemporary Dance practice, theory, and student choreography advisement.
Adjunct Professor in Undergraduate Drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, teaching “Topics in Performance Studies: Storytelling in the African Diaspora.”
Atlantic Theater Company School, teaching Dance for Actors to third year NYU students.
Preceptor for Morse Academic Plan, New York University summer session with Professor Fred Moten. Teaching a section of course entitled “Expressive Culture: Performance.”
Text, Movement, Sound Workshops for the performing community on St.Thomas and St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Working to integrate performance techniques local to the area in an interdisciplinary fashion.
Adjunct Professor of Afro-Caribbean Dance and Guest Choreographer for course entitled “Performance Project: Dance” Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY. Engaging practice and theory.
Adjunct Professor of Advanced Contemporary Dance Hunter College, New York, NY. Engaging practice and theory.
Contemporary Dance at Dance Space, New York, NY.
Master Community Classes (as a member of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence) Virginia Commonwealth University.
Contemporary Dance at Fareta School of Dance and Drum, New York, NY.
Master Classes in Advanced Modern Dance (as a member of Ronald K. Brown /Evidence Dance Co.) Colorado Dance Festival.
Master Class on Movement for Actors (as a member of Ronald K. Brown /Evidence Dance Co.)Virginia Commonwealth University.
Master Dance and Text Workshop, The Caribbean Dance Company of St. Croix USVI.
Independent Artist and Guest Teacher in Residence, Street Dance of St. Croix USVI.
Teacher In Residence/Master Classes, (as a member of the David Gordon Pick Up Co.) 1986-1990, Cornell University, Stanford University, Victoria College (Melbourne, Australia).
Community Modern and Caribbean Dance Workshops, St. Croix USVI.
Guest Ballet/Modern Workshop Instructor, Theatre Dance Inc. (USVI).
Administration of COCo., Cynthia Oliver Company projects (listed below): project conception and development, grant writing, securing rehearsal space and performance venues, contracts, hiring of artists and technical crews, advertising and promoting.
Movement Consultant for Arthur Jafa’s 20 minute short film entitled “Slowly This” /Alive T.V.
As a member of Prowess DanceArts Collective, participated in the running of an eleven member collective of women artists of color. Collaborating on creative works, assisting others in the development and production of dance, and text based movement theatre. Assisted in administrative operations: contacting producers, proofing grant writing, assisting in outreach, promotion, and general day to day operations.
Company Manager, Urban Bush Women: worked closely with Managing and Development Directors to insure strong organizational structure; acted as liaison between Artistic Director and venues, Artistic Director and Company members; coordinated rehearsal and touring schedules; all transportation, housing particulars and special projects, including the 1990 film project “Praise House” with Alive T.V.
Knowing Dance More -Artist Talk. University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA. Invited to present my work and aesthetic point of view to undergraduate population at UArts.
Invited to participate in Roundtable (Randy Martin, Yutian Wong, Ricardo Rivera Severa) for Cultural Studies Association’s Conference “Beyond Disciplinarity: Interventions in Cultural Studies and the Arts.” Columbia College.
Invited to present/perform on Roundtable “African Dance Diaspora: A Symposium on Embodied Knowledge.” Performance /Presentation: ”Calypso: An Agent of Caribbean Diasporic Communion.” Harvard University.
Invited to present: “On the Creative Impulse and the Artist.” Cognitive Science Department. Temple University.
Paper: ”Winin ‘cross Nation: Calypso Dancing and Transnationalism.” Brown Bag Lecture, University of Illinois, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.
Paper: Transnationalism and Calypso’s Moving Bodies,”, African American Studies Program, University of California – Irvine.
Paper: “Black Choreographers and the Desire, Responsibility, and Appeal for Black Audiences,” Afro-American Studies and Research Program, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Paper: “Dancing for the People: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Urban Bush Women’s Courting of a Black Audience.” The Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance, Chicago, IL.
Paper: “Respectable Women Don’t Dance: Beauty Pageants of the US Virgin Islands and the Dictates of a Proper Womanhood.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, New Orleans, LA.
Paper: “Beauty Pageants of the US Virgin Islands: Bodily Practice and the Shaping of a Black Womanhood.” Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
Paper: “Queen Of The Virgins: Beauty Pageants, the Women’s Theatre of the U.S. Virgin Islands.” Triennial Symposium on African and African Caribbean Art, St. Thomas, USVI.
2001. Paper: “Performing the Native: Caribbean-ness in the U.S. Virgin Islands.””(Re) Thinking Caribbean Culture,” University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Barbados, West Indies.
Performer/Scholar in Mellon Symposium “Its Like Medicine To Me: Healing and Performance in the African Diaspora”, Tulane University, New Orleans Louisianna.
A conversation on choreography and the performance of madness, women, and Caribbeanness in the collaborative work “LUKoSiMAD” with Gabri Christa at The Department of Performance Studies Tuesday Night Series, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Paper: “The Embodiment of Words: Performance in the Virgin Islands during the period of Emancipation to the U.S. Purchase” presented at 9th Annual Conference for Virgin Island Historians, Christiansted St. Croix.
Paper: “Fungi , Flour, Jumbies, and Obeah: A Recipe for Crucian Storytelling and the Artistry of Alvin ‘Fungi’ James.” Center for Latin and Caribbean Studies, New York University.
Additional Papers and Fieldwork
Paper: “Dancing the Black Avant Garde: When and Where We Enter.” Dancing the African Diaspora – Theories of Black Performance. Duke University, Durham NC.
Paper: “Dancing in the Break: Calypso as the Performance of Rupture in Afro-Caribbean Identity (Re)formation.” Congress on Research in Dance (CORD). Barnard College, NY.
Paper: “Calypso’s Moving Geographies” presented at FSU’s Congress on Research in Dance Conference (CORD), Tallahassee, FLA.
Paper: “Dancing Black Popular Culture” presented at UC Riverside Conference “Dance Under Construction,” Riverside, California.
St.Thomas and St. Croix USVI, dissertation fieldwork researching the history of pageantry in the territory through archival resources and personal histories.
Paper: “Aesthetics of the Raw: Televised Storytelling in the U.S. Virgin Islands During the 1980’s.” Performance Studies Conference. Atlanta, Georgia.
St. Croix and St. Thomas USVI., Extensive interviews with native Crucian (of St. Croix USVI) and St. Thomian “Tradition Bearers” on cultural practices, specifically dance and Carnival traditions in the local communities of St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Paper: Dancing the Transnation: Calypso , the Global Caribbean Identity Marker.” University of California, Berkeley.
Performer/Choreographer/Writer of half evening work for Central District Forum for Thoughts and Ideas, Seattle WA.
Performer/Choreographer/Writer, “Lessons in Female Etiquette: The AfroSocialiteLifeDiva in One” for the Late Nite series at Pillsbury House Theatre Minneapolis Minnesota.
Performer/Choreographer/Collaborator, Dance on Demand teaching series at Links Hall, Chicago, IL.
Performer/Choreographer/Collaborator, Equal Footing/Earring series, The Hot House, Chicago IL.
Performer/Instructor of Dance +Word performance Workshop with RiverOak Arts Dance and Literature Series, Links Hall, Chicago IL.
Performer/Guest Artist, Momenta: School of Music and Dance. Oak Park IL.
Performed solo work “Because She Was.”
The Talking Dance Festival. The Kitchen. New York, NY.
Performed solo work “Because She Was.”
Performer/Scholar in Mellon Symposium “Its Like Medicine To Me: Healing and Performance in the African Diaspora,” Tulane University. New Orleans, Louisiana.
Essay, “Flipping the Script: Renegotiating Notions of Haitian Women in the Global Imagination” for Kehinde Wiley’s World Stage: Haiti exhibition book, Los Angeles, CA.
Essay, “A Movement in Lockstep (on duets)” for Two Too, a publication on the duets of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane. Published by the Painted Bride Art Center of Philadelphia, pp. 17-19.
Book: Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean. University Press of Mississippi. Forthcoming.
Essay, “Rigidigidim De Bamba De: A Calypso Journey from Start to ….” In Caribbean Dance vol. 2. University Press of Florida. Forthcoming.
Performance Writings in Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Spring 2004.
“Undivided Dance” An essay in Movement Research Journal 25th Anniversary Issue #27/28 Spring 2004.
Essay “How the Art Moves” in exhibition catalog for Krannert Art Museum and nationwide show, “Bill Traylor and William Edmondson: African Art and the Modernist Impulse.”
Essay ” Winin’ Yo’ Wais’ The Changing Tastes of Dance in the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix.” in Caribbean Dance From Abakua to Zouk: How Movement Shapes Identity Ed. by Susanna Sloat.
“Plate-spinning: Am I a Circus Act? Or An Artist Living in New York?” Indie Planet, an online website featuring and promoting the work of independent artists.
HONORS, FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS
Dancing While Black/New Waves Institute Commissioned artist for early process residency toward Virago-Man Dem.
Vermont Performance Laboratory (VPL) Artist Residency fellowship for the research and development of Virago-Man Dem.
Nominee for the Doris Duke Impact Award. Nomination only award identifying impactful artists in the U.S.
National Performance Network Creation Fund for BOOM! Awarded also New York Live Arts Commission, Edwards Arts Foundation award, Illinois Arts Council Choreography Fellowship, University of Illinois Creation Research award.
University Scholar Award. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Distinguished award accompanied by 3 year research stipend.
Cal Arts Alpert Award Nominee.
National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund for Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso. Also awarded a National Dance Project (NDP) Tour Only support; a Pew Foundation Dance Advance grant through the Painted Bride ; an Andrew Mellon DanSpace Commission; Edwards Foundation award.
Rockefeller Multi-Arts-Production Fund for the multi disciplinary project “Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso,” to premiere fall 2009.
Research Board Award, University of Illinois, for the production of the multi disciplinary project “Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso,” to premiere fall 2009.
Creative Research Award, University of Illinois, for the production of the multi disciplinary project “Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso,” to premiere fall 2009.
Illinois Arts Council Choreography Fellowship.
Faculty Research Award from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
The film version of AfroSocialiteLifeDiva in collaboration with German Director Marcus Behrens of Radio Brehmen for Canal Arte, the European arts channel. Supported in part by the Arnold O. Beckman Award, from the Research Board at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Received a grant from the Committee for the 50th Commemoration of Brown v. Board of Education activities on the Universoty of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus to organize a two part artist residency, panel, community engagement, and performance activities over the course of the 2003-2004 academic year. Artists: Dianne McIntyre, Amaniyea Payne, Reggie Wilson, Karen Love.
The full evening work AfroSocialiteLifeDiva supported by Bessie Schonberg/First Light Commission, Creative Capital Foundation, National Performance Network, Dance Theater Workshop, NYC.
Called “Outstanding Young Choreographer” by reviewer Frank Werner of German Magazine Ballet Tanz.
The full evening performance work “SHEMAD,” supported by The National Performance Network, the Puffin Foundation, The Lalit Foundation, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, Red Media Inc. , The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship for Minority Artists. Presented by Performance Space 122, NYC.
The production of LUKoSiMAD presented at Dance Theater Workshop funded by The Jerome Foundation Emerging Artists Fellowship, Dance Theater Workshop’s First Light Commisssion, and Meet the Composer.
Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship for Minority Artists. Commission for work to be rehearsed and performed at Performance Space 122 in1998/99 season.
Annenberg Grant/Artist in Residence Central Park East 1 in conjunction with Performance Space 122. Working on movement and storytelling with children from kindergarten through fifth and sixth grades.
The performance project “Unremovable Jacket” supported by The Jerome Foundation, The Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, The Puffin Foundation, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts.
New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award for the creation of performance piece “Death’s Door,” Performance Space 122.
The performance project “Death’s Door” supported by The Jerome Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Harkness Center for Dance and Meet the Composer.
Summer Research Grant, Center For Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University.
Graduate Assistantship, Department of Performance Studies, New York University.
MAP Fund (Multi Arts Production). Panelist. New York, NY.
Pew Foundation Choreography Fellowship. Panelist. Phila. PA.
McKnight Foundation Choreography Fellowship. Panelist. Minneapolis MN.
Rockefeller Foundation Multi Arts Production Fund. Preliminary Round Panelist. New York, NY.
Urbana, IL Public Arts Task Force.
Advisory Board, Women and Performance: The Journal of Feminist Theory
2004 – Present
National Performance Network Board of Directors.
Served on Travel and Research support panel for the Jerome Foundation , St. Paul, MN.
Served on Choreography Fellowship panel for NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts).
Served on the Board of Tamar Rogoff Productions, New York.
Volunteer at God’s Love We Deliver – serving hot meals to homebound people with AIDS.
Afro-Caribbean Dance: Ricardo Colon, Richard Gonzales, Lavinia Williams, Montgomery Thompson.
African (Congolese): Titos Sompa, Mabiba Baegne.
Ballet: Jaclynn Villamil, Janet Panetta, Christina Bernal, Maggie Black, Haynes Owens, Atti van den Berg.
Modern: Ron Brown, Jennifer Muller, Norman Walker, Milton Meyers, Twyla Tharp, Anna Marie Forsythe.
Jazz: Cecilia Marta, Richard Levi, Margo Sappington.
New York University Department of Performance Studies.
Professors: Barbara Browning, Peggy Phelan, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ann Daly, Marcia Siegel, Richard Schechner, Jacqui Alexander (New School Consortium), May Joseph.
New York University, Gallatin School.
Professors: Pamela Smorkaloff, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Lauren Raiken, Ndukaku Amakulor.
Professors: Norman Walker, Katia Geleznova, Rochelle Zide, Renee Wadleigh, Regina Larkin.