Aretha Aoki

Assistant Professor of Dance

Teaching this semester

DANC 1101. Making Dances

Explores movement invention, organization, and meaning. Problem-solving exercises, improvisations, and studies focus mainly on solo, duet, and trio forms. A video component introduces students -- regardless of previous experience in dance -- to a wide range of compositional methods and purposes. Includes reading, writing, discussion, attendance at live performances, and -- when possible -- work with visiting professional artists.

DANC 3211. Advanced Modern Dance

An advanced level dance technique class. Students are expected to have prior training and/or have received full credit in Modern II. The course is a continuation of the processes of 2211, with more challenging and complex phrase-work and more in-depth physical explorations. In addition, the course will emphasize artistry and performance. Partnering/hands-on work may be included.

Aretha is a choreographer, performer, editor, and occasional curator. She works collaboratively with artists across disciplines to make performances that explore the intersection between dance and other media, while being grounded in a deep physicality—in movement experimentation and research, and in the intuitive logic of the performer. Her current research is an exploration of the body as a medium for the residue of family history.

Aretha's work has been presented at various venues throughout New York City, New England, and Canada. The New York Times described her solos as “contemplative and probing.” As a performer, she has collaborated with Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance for over seven years. She has also worked with robbinschilds, Rebecca Serrell Cyr, devynn emory, Vanessa Anspaugh, Heather Kravas, Juliette Mapp, Daria Fain, Maura Donohue, Elizabeth Ward, Martin Lanz, Faye Driscoll, Lisa D’Amour & Katie Pearl, and many others.

Her writing has been published in Contact Quarterly, where she was Associate Editor for three years. She was a co-curator of the 2016 Movement Research Spring Festival Hand Written Note(s).


  • B.F.A. , Simon Fraser University; Burnaby, BC
  • M.F.A., Smith College; Northampton, MA