Artist for the Future

Gabby Miller, M.F.A. ’20, crosses disciplines to explore the possibility of a future that is not predetermined

By Christine Byrd

“Can we turn the black box theater into an Oracle Machine?” was a question burning in Gabby Miller’s mind during the final year of her M.F.A. program at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

Miller seized the opportunity to explore the question in the Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL), in a project that, in hindsight, seems especially prescient. Who among us isn’t now seeking answers from an uncertain and fragile future?

For three weeks in January, Miller transformed the xMPL, a black box theater, into an immersive experience where artists and visitors alike could seek answers, and extend their questions.  A hologram of Dolly Parton belted “
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UCI Dance Welcomes Two New Faculty Members


Irvine, Calif., July 1, 2020 – The Department of Dance in the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts welcomes two new Assistant Professors in Dance, Ariyan Johnson and Cyrian Reed, choreographer artists who specialize in hip hop and jazz dance. 

The department conducted a year-long search for the position, to expand its current offerings in dances rooted in the African diaspora under the leadership of Professor S. Ama Wray. The double hire was made possible in part through funding from the UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence, whose mission is to establish UCI as a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence. Their mission emphatically recognizes that excellence through diversity defines the UCI campus community.

“On behalf of the Department of Dance, I want to express our great pleasure in welcoming both Ariyan Johnson and Cyrian Reed to our faculty,” said Molly Lynch, professor and chair of the department. “These two
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Lindsay Gilmour named UCI Hellman Fellow

Gilmour's research will explore Tibetan ritual dance in monasteries and nunneries

Lindsay Gilmour, assistant professor in dance, recently received a 2020-21 Hellman Fellowship, which helps promising junior faculty realize their scientific and academic potential. Gilmour joins an elite group of 63 UCI Hellman Fellows across various disciplines to receive the award. The campus program was established in 2013 with a gift of $1.25 million from the Hellman Family Foundation.

Gilmour’s research explores Tibetan ritual dance in monasteries and nunneries in Ladakh and Tibetan exile settlements in India, focusing on how ancient rituals survive exile and modernization and how the roles of women and traditional cultures evolve and develop within those frameworks.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have received this Hellman award from the University,” stated Gilmour. “I’m so grateful for all of the
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Black Performers You Probably Don't Know About — But Should

“‘Ah haaa!’ – The most ferocious sound in the room at the David H. Koch Theater was coming from an 85-year-old man in a wheelchair. But the years melted away as that man — Donald McKayle, the modern dance and Broadway choreographer known for exploring African-American themes in his work — watched a recent rehearsal of “Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder,” his 1959 masterwork about life on a chain gang...”

 – The New York Times, March 21, 2016

Donald McKayle,
b. July 6, 1930 – d. April 7, 2018

Dr. McKayle was an iconic American modern dancer, choreographer, master teacher, director and writer who made a vast and wide-ranging impact on America’s creative and cultural landscape, specifically Orange County and the University of California, Irvine. 

Donald McKayle was best known for creating socially conscious concert works during the 1950s and '60s that focused on expressing the human condition and more
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Ballet in the kitchen: Alana Isiguen

"Alana Isiguen was a mere 2-years-old when she became so committed to emulating the movements in her older sister’s dance class that the instructor eventually conceded, much to the young pupil’s delight, in letting her join.

From there, it was love.

Isiguen, who will join the UW department of dance in the fall as the artist-in-residence, soon advanced beyond the small studio to begin training with the Charlotte Ballet at just 9-years-old. Isiguen describes her time with the company as a formative experience that allowed her to envision her trajectory from the perspective of professional dancers.


Dance classes are, at their most essential, a gathering of people whose shared movements and physical exaltations from the basis of deeply personal interactions. Isiguen expresses that, although dance is in many ways an internal process, dancers must constantly observe or “sense” themselves within a space. Coming into a studio, physically being around other
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Introducing the Shut In Dance Film Fest

Andrew Pearson, B.F.A. '09, Choreography and Performance, is launching a new dance film festival directed by Nicole Berger, choreographer for television programs including The Good Place, VEEP, and Brooklyn Nine Nine.

"I first met Nicole two years ago when I started teaching at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in Hollywood. She had been there almost eight years by that point and was teaching everything from studio classes such as ballet and contemporary techniques, to industry classes such as Career Preparation and Dance for Camera.  I was always impressed with the versatility of her choreography and wealth of knowledge she possesses from her multi-faceted career, which spans from the concert stage to feature films. Needless to say I was thrilled when she first reached with an interest to produce a project together."

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UCI M.F.A. Alumni Waeli Wang Appointed Visiting Assistant Professor

UCI M.F.A. Alumni Waeli Wang Appointed Visiting Assistant Professor at University of Kansas Dance Department

Recent UCI M.F.A. ’19 dance graduate Waeli Wang will be joining the University of Kansas Theatre and Dance Department as a visiting assistant professor for 2020-22. As a dance and filmmaker, Wang sees art-making as a means for social justice and creates contemporary works that combine personal, familial, social, and artistic contexts to investigate the human condition for the concert stage, cinematic screen, and alternative spaces. Overall, Wang is on a quest to create work that “fuse movement and imagery, figurative and abstract, and the poetic personal.” Most recently, Wang has been working as a guest choreographer for Santa Clara University.

During her time at the University of Kansas, Wang will work closely with students teaching contemporary and modern dance technique as well as choreographing for the KU University Dance Company.

Her UCI Claire
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UCI Dance alum named Artistic Director for the Limón Dance Company

Dante Puleio (M.F.A. ’17) has been named Artistic Director for the Limón Dance Company in New York, NY. Starting in July 2020, Puleio will succeed Colin Connor as the sixth Artistic Director of the Company in its 74-year history.

Puleio first began his dance training at Laban Centre in London and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He received his B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and later his M.F.A. in Dance from UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts after having a successful career with Limón for over a decade. Limón has been at the forefront of American Modern dance since 1946 and is well-known for its technical abilities and expressive artistry, portraying the timeless work of its founder, José Limón. Puleio is excited to return to Limón as the Artistic Director, saying, “I am looking forward to collaborating with the Foundation to continue celebrating this historical legacy and reimagining Limón’s vision to reflect these rapidly changing
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