Zena Bibler

Zena Bibler

Ph.D. in Culture and Performance


Zena Bibler is a dancer and current PhD candidate at the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Attention Matters: Political Choreographies of Noticing in American Contemporary Dance” considers attention as a source of choreography in both dance and everyday spaces. Her writing appears in Dance Research Journal, PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, Contact Quarterly, and the LA-based performance writing blog, Riting. Fiercely committed to teaching, Zena invites students integrate critical moving as part of critical thinking. Her approach pedagogy has been recognized by the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and is outlined in a co-authored article “Ballet Pedagogy and a “Hard Re-Set”: Perspectives on equitable and inclusive teaching practices” (Dance Chronicle).

Zena maintains parallel practices as a choreographer and performer. Her movement training is anchored in contemporary release technique and improvisation, with additional influence from her long-term study of capoeira, Argentine social tango, contact improvisation, contemplative dance, and surfing. Her performance works have been presented domestically and internationally at venues such as Pieter Performance Space, HomeLA, Movement Research at the Judson Church, NADA Hudson, Lublin International Dance Theatres Festival (Poland), Museum Perron Oost (The Netherlands), Cairo Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (Egypt), and SESC Villa Mariana (Brazil). Her approach to moving and making has been shaped through many hours spent dancing with teachers and collaborators including Katie Baer Schetlick, mayfield brooks, Anya Cloud, Jeanine Durning, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Nia Love, Darrian O’Reilly, Nancy Stark Smith, Brandin Steffensen, Andrew Suseno, and Lailye Weidman.

Research Interests

Critical dance studies, critical improvisation studies, sensory studies, phenomenology, critical race theory, theories of space and place, practice-based research

[Profile photo by: Whitney Browne]