Rebecca Rossen

Performance as Public Practice


Dance History I and II, Languages of the Stage, Gender and Sexuality in Physical Performance, and a variety of courses that examine identity in relation to dance and performance. I also love teaching studio and creative process courses like contemporary dance, choreography, or solo performance.

What you enjoy most about being a part of UT Theatre and Dance:

I really enjoy discussions and collaborations with students and faculty across disciplinary lines, which is why I think our Cohen New Works Festival is so terrific. As a teacher, I enjoy having both theater and dance majors in my classes, and I love when my students are curious and discover new things.

Favorite thing about Austin:

As a transplant from Chicago, I love the weather! I'm also a huge fan of the family–friendly arts scene here–quirky parades, rock shows where my kids can dance in kiddie “mosh” pits, great parks, funky restaurants.

Current projects/research/interests/hobbies:

Right now I'm writing a book about Jewish identity in American modern and postmodern dance. Professionally, I'm engaged by contemporary dance, multi-disciplinary performance, and figuring out ways to bring together research and performance.

The biggest risk you have taken to date:

I think my decision to get a Ph.D. while at the height of my career as a professional dancer and choreographer was a big risk! Of course, I thought of all sorts of sneaky ways to work my dance practice into my research……

Something about yourself that we wouldn't know from reading your professional biography:

Instead of waiting tables as a struggling choreographer in my 20s, I worked as a counselor who conducted mental health assessments in an emergency room in Chicago. I encountered people at their rawest and most idiosyncratic.

About Rebecca:

Rebecca Rossen (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is a dance historian, performance scholar, and choreographer whose research interests include modern and postmodern dance, stagings of identity in physical performance, and the relationship between research and practice. Rebecca is currently completing her first book, Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance (forthcoming with Oxford University Press), and has published articles in Theatre Journal, TDR: The Drama Review, Feminist Studies, Opera Quarterly, and Dance Teacher Magazine. As a dancer, Rebecca performed with numerous companies and choreographers including the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Hedwig Dances, the Cook County Theatre Department, Loop Troop, XSight! Performance Group, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Audio Gruppe (Germany), Annat Shamgar (Israel), and Baldanza (Italy). Her own choreography has been presented in venues throughout her hometown of Chicago, as well as in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Israel. She has been the recipient of choreography grants from the City of Chicago and Illinois Arts Council, an artist's residency from the Arad Arts Project in Israel, and most recently, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Grant. Prior to joining UT's faculty, Rebecca taught performance history and dance at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, George Mason University, and the Dance Center of Columbia College, as well as at numerous Chicago-area dance studios.

Professor Rossen is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, and the American Studies Department.