Aretha Aoki

Assistant Professor of Dance

Contact Information
Theater And Dance

Edwards Center for Art & Dance - 217

Teaching this semester

DANC 2211. Modern Dance II: Technique

Intermediate-level dance technique class. Students are expected to have prior training and/or have received full credit in Modern I. Classes progress through warm-up, center work and phrases across-the-floor. Concepts will be further illuminated through choreographic combinations. Emphasis is placed on musicality, and imagery and breath to stimulate and open energetic pathways in relation to alignment, mobility, and expression. Students will learn how to work individually and move together as a group. Additional work in improvisation and somatics/anatomy may be included.

DANC 2401. Choreography for Dancers: Improvisation and Invention

Using a range of improvisatory techniques and structures, experienced dancers excavate movement sources and improve the range, subtlety, and responsiveness of their dancing. Detailed work on personal movement vocabulary, musicality, and the use of multidimensional space leads to a strong sense of choreographic architecture. Students explore the play between design and accident—communication and open-ended meaning—and irony and gravity. Studio work is supported by readings on dance and its relationship to other art forms.


  • B.F.A. Simon Fraser
  • M.F.A. Smith

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).