Professor, Faculty Director: Dancing Disability Lab, Vice Chair of Undergraduate Affairs
Victoria Marks is an Alpert Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellow, and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, who has been making dances for stage and film for the past 43 years. Marks’ work has continuously challenged conventional notions of virtuosity and embraced an expansive view of dancing bodies. In this, Marks has created dances for individual performers with disabilities, physically integrated dance companies, with elderly men, teen mothers, and with veterans, to name a few.
Currently, her projects include the Dancing Disability Lab at UCLA, a gathering of dance artists whose focus on Disability Justice challenge “ability paradigms” and support disability aesthetics. Begun in 2019 in response to a lack of institutional support for disabled dancers and choreographers, the Dancing Disability Lab has evolved over the years to become a collective, artist-led exchange, recognizing the creative vision and wisdom of artists whose lived experience is informed by disability.
Marks’ commitment to dance as a resource for changing the way society understands disability has been sustained for over 30 years, beginning with the award-winning film, Outside In, for Candoco Dance Company in 1992. Since then, Marks has participated in many dance and disability convenings including the 2016 Future of Physically Integrated Dance Convening in NYC and the ongoing DanceUSA “Deaf and Disability Affinity Group”.
Marks frequently employs a movement/discussion-based process she calls “Action Conversations” bringing two groups of people together who would otherwise share a social anchor. “Action Conversations” yield film or live performance. Continuing her interest in movement and conversation across difference, Marks recently led “Ten Questions: If not now, when?” an arts-based University-wide course and public event that brought together three outstanding members of UCLA’s community from the arts, the humanities, and the sciences to address questions crucial to our contemporary moment. Some of these questions included: How do we remember? How do we heal? How do we love?
In addition to serving as Vice-Chair for Undergraduate Studies in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, Marks is the Chair of UCLA’s new Disability Studies major.
Choreography and disability studies.
Creative Practice & Research
- In 2018, Marks launched the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s 10 Questions series, a hybrid academic course and public event series that brought together 40 leading minds from across the university for an energetic and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas.
- Victoria Marks is an Alpert Award winner, Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellow, and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar; and has received recent grants from the Irvine Foundation, the NEA, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, London Arts Board, and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Council, among others.
- Marks has received numerous awards for her dance films, including the Grand Prix in the Video Danse, first prize in Videodance Barcelona, the Golden Antennae Award from Bulgaria, the IMZ Award for best screen choreography, and the Best of Show in the Dance Film Association’s Dance and the Camera Festival.
- Current research includes a choreographic work, Pastoral, simultaneously a tribute to the iconic Appalachian Spring as it re-envisions our relationship to nature, 75 years later, and Dancing Disability Lab, a weeklong intensive that promotes the role of dance and performance as a change agent for the continued progress of disability justice.