I was awarded a postdoctoral Fulbright U.S. Scholar award for my project “The Frevo Tradition and Pernambucan Cultural Identity in Recife, Brazil.” Starting in January 2018, I will be based at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife for six months to study frevo dance and music in Brazil. The project is an extension of my dissertation research, which focused on similar themes in dance, music, and festival on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
I earned my PhD in Dance & Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. My dissertation is entitled: “Dancing the Archive: Rhythms of Change in Post-Volcano Identities on Montserrat, West Indies.” My research investigated the role of dance, music, and festival performances in the formation of national and cultural identities on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
Montserrat (the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean”) has historical ties to Ireland and performances of “Irishness” there differ from elsewhere in the world, especially during the island’s annual St. Patrick’s Festival. My project related to larger questions about hybridity in African and Irish rhythms, migration, diaspora formation, and transnational histories.
Read about my fieldwork research experiences on Montserrat and check out my article, “Dancing the Archive: Rhythms of Change in Montserrat’s Masquerades,” published in the 49th volume of the Yearbook for Traditional Music (published by the International Council for Traditional Music, ICTM) in 2017.
My research interests include ethnomusicology/ethnochoreology, national performance, oral and embodied histories, diaspora studies, movement analysis, and Irish, African, and Caribbean studies.
I worked in a variety of percussive dance styles including traditional Irish dance (sean-nós and North Kerry/Molyneaux), festival style Irish dance from Northern Ireland, contemporary Irish dance, tap, flamenco, clogging, and body percussion. My thesis performances included both solo and ensemble work, including my solo called “Color Play” about synesthesia and colored rhythms.
I worked as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the Levy Lab on neural networks, and also as a research assistant in the Kubovy Lab (Perception), where I researched the perceptual phenomenon called synesthesia (read Journal of Vision abstract and UVA’s Arts & Sciences article).