The Dance Scientist

View the full pictorial in CONNECT, the quarterly magazine for UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Dr. Kelli Sharp is not your typical dance professor. She spends her days collecting and analyzing motion-capture data to investigate movement patterns, responses to stimuli, and the acceleration of movement. By working with real-time motor functions of the human body, she can understand the relationship between the control system and what reinforcement training can do to improve those functions.

Dr. Sharp is currently working with her team of interdisciplinary researchers on a study to understand motor learning patterns in dancers to aid their performance, and then apply this knowledge to understanding various neurological disorders. Hours of working with tape measures, bodysuits and marker sensors may just redefine what you think
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Vitor Luiz guest stars in Festival Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" at the Irvine Barclay Theatre

Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT’s professional company dancers, and exceptional young talent from across the Southland.

Vitor Luiz, former San Francisco Ballet member, will perform the following showtimes:
Saturday, December 7 at 7pm
Sunday, December 8 at 1pm
Friday, December 20 at 7pm
Saturday, December 21 at 2pm & 7pm
Sunday, December 22 at 1pm
Sunday, December 22 at 6pm

Read More: Vitor Luiz guest stars in Festival Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" at the Irvine Barclay Theatre

Welcome new ballet faculty, Vitor Luiz!

The UCI Department of Dance announces the hiring of Vitor Luiz as a new ballet faculty. Vitor is an international dancer, choreographer and ballet master. Since 2009 he has been a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet. He has also performed with the Ballet of Rio de Janeiro, English National Ballet and others. During his time at San Francisco Ballet, he danced major roles in classical and contemporary ballets, while also performing as a regular guest artist with English National Ballet, and many other esteemed companies, galas, and productions around the world. His strong balance between dancing and partnering, artistic versatility, and strong stage presence has made him an important asset to these companies.

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“East Meets West” International Dance and Music Festival


Irvine, Calif. – In its fourth year, the “East Meets West” Festival is a unique collaborative arts experience, showcasing dance works by students and professional choreographers. This year’s program features UCI Dance, Southland Ballet Academy, classical Indian dance soloist Sukanya Kumar, Beijing Dance Academy, and Yaya Dance Academy. These professional and pre-professional artists are from Japan, India, Malaysia, China, and the United States. This performance is a special opportunity to witness the festival’s first time collaboration with musical artists, including award-winning soprano, Luwa Ke and Jing Hu player, Shunxiang Zhang.  This exchange includes open master classes, seminars, and workshops with the CTSA Dance Department’s partner universities and concludes with two performances.  These performances will take place on
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Paul Taylor American Dance Company Pays Special Tribute to Donald McKayle

As a tribute to the passing of world-renowned choreographer and former UCI Dance Faculty Member, Donald McKayle, Paul Taylor American Dance Company (PTDC) will include three of McKayle’s most notable choreographic works in their fall season at the Lincoln Center: Crossing the Rubicon (2017), Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder (1959), and Songs of the Disinherited (1972).  PTDC will be collaborating on this concert with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Juilliard Dance, and Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, all of whom will perform these most beloved works.  This tribute concert is free and open to the public. The performance takes place on Tuesday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. EST. Tickets for this performance can be obtained from 


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Summer Dance ‘Intensive’ Embodies Improvisation

S. Ama Wray, Ph.D., associate professor of dance, was featured in the El Paso Herald-Post for her work conducting an Embodiology workshop at The University of Texas at El Paso's Fox Fine Arts Center.

"A half dozen or so pairs of bodies set in a circle moved in tandem though almost never in sync during impromptu conversations that ranged from the silly to the mundane to the flirtatious.

The goal of this dance exercise at The University of Texas at El Paso was to weave a person’s reason, instincts and imagination."

Read the full story.

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Choreographers Get Lab Time to Experiment Without Restrictions

Professor Molly Lynch, chair for the Department of Dance, is featured in "Voice of OC" for her upcoming National Choreographers Initiative 2019 showcase.

By Kaitlin Wright
"Molly Lynch, professor and chair of UC Irvine’s Department of Dance, has over 35 years experience creating, producing, and presenting dance. She is an artist. But she’s also a scientist of sorts, and proof of that is in the National Choreographer’s Initiative (NCI) which she founded in 2004 as a non-commissioned and non-competitive setting for creating new dance works..."

WHEN: 8 p.m. July 27, 2019
WHERE: Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine
TICKETS: $20-$45

Read More: Choreographers Get Lab Time to Experiment Without Restrictions

Dr. S. Ama Wray is Making New Global Strides

In May 2019, Associate Professor of Dance at UC Irvine, Dr. Ama Wray, was invited to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Good-Global Summit at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. This Summit aims to amalgamate the work of both scientific and artistic innovators in hopes of utilizing AI in viable ways that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Deemed an interdisciplinary ‘performance architect’, Wray specializes in Embodiology® – a development in dance improvisation, prompting the audience to key into body-mind sensations which affirm that intelligence is obtained through intersensory stimulation of the body. In 2018, Wray was awarded the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts Fellowship, which prompted the creation of Texterritory, an award-winning, interactive performance --- utilizing cell phones --- that she collaborated on with Fleeta Siegel. Upon her return from Geneva, Wray traveled to Cleveland, Ohio where she gave
Read More: Dr. S. Ama Wray is Making New Global Strides