Sanchita Sharma

Sanchita Sharma

Ph.D. in Culture and Performance


Sanchita is a performing artist and a dance scholar from New Delhi, India. She is a PhD Candidate at the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, University of California, Los Angeles and an Adjunct Faculty of Dance at Austin Community College.


Sanchita’s scholarly work sits at the intersection of Critical Dance Studies, Performance Studies, Cultural Studies, and South Asian Studies. Her creative expertise lies in dance techniques such as modern, jazz, and contemporary dance, and in experimental choreography and movement improvisation.

Scholarly and Creative Research

In her scholarly research, Sanchita studies the politics of corporeal dissent and liberation in Indian contemporary dance.Her research contributes a new perspective on the interconnections between the global, (trans)national, and local politics of contemporaneity in India. Centralizing knowledge from her personal dance history and ethnographic field research in five major cities in India—New Delhi, Chennai, Imphal, Bangalore, and Kolkata—her work suggests that by engaging with and being responsive to the physical, sensorial, and relational aspects of movement, we can comprehend the world beyond what is commonly made visible/available to us for consumption. Her research has been supported by the UCLA International Institute, American Society of Aesthetics, Dance Studies Association (DSA), UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, UCLA Center for India and South Asia, and American Alumni Association.

As a performing artist, Sanchita explores experiences of disorientation and shared materiality in her creative research. She has been an artist-in-residence at Gati Dance Forum (New Delhi) and Crashbox, Rude Mechs (Austin). Her choreographic work has been shown at First Street Studio (Austin), The Broad Art Center (UCLA), Natya Ballet Center and Gati Dance Forum (New Delhi), and Maya Dance Theatre (Singapore). Her dance film, Engage, which explores the experience of submerging one’s corporeality within open, closed, and virtual spaces, was awarded the “Best Dance Film” in Seoul International Short Film Festival (September 2021). It was officially selected at several festivals across New York, Austin, and Germany. My recent collaborations include performances with Early Era Collective and choreographer Jahna Bobolia (Austin), interdisciplinary artist Julie Tolentino, choreographers Milka Djordjevich, Ligia Lewis, and Emily Barasch (Los Angeles), Mandeep Raikhy (New Delhi), Preethi Athreya (Chennai), and Parijat Desai (New York).


Sanchita is an Adjunct Faculty of Dance at Austin Community College where she will be developing and teaching two courses, Dance Appreciation and Beginning Modern Dance, in Spring 2024. At UCLA, she has over three years of experience in teaching courses on arts activism, arts education, community engagement, and introduction to world arts and cultures at the undergraduate level. Along with university teaching experience, she has over ten years of experience in teaching dance technique in public studios, such as The Danceworx. Striving to create an inclusive environment in dance and performance spaces, she led a two-part movement workshop entitled, “Perceiving the Body: Here and from Here,” at Pieter Performance Space, Los Angeles in 2021. In this workshop, the participants critically looked at and deconstructed the use of privileged and exclusionary somatic-based language in contemporary dance and performance.

Other Work Experience

Beyond the typical duties of a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow, Sanchita has served as an Editorial Fellow for DSA’s journal, Conversations Across the field of Dance Studies (December 2021-2023) and contributed to the journal’s mission to promote decolonial and anti-racist frameworks and methodologies in dance research. As an Editorial Fellow, she led short-term projects, for example, the Chats, overseeing the selection and peer-review process to designing the digital layout on WordPress. She is currently the new Chair for DSA’s working group, Practice-as-Research. In this role, she intends to bridge the gap between dance theory and practice, looking towards a more interdisciplinary approach to dance scholarship.

Sanchita holds a Masters in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi, and a Bachelors in Psychology from Delhi University. Prior to starting her PhD at UCLA, she was a freelance professional dancer from 2014-2018 and a company member of The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy from 2007-2013 in New Delhi, India.

photo by Sarah Annie Navarrete