Tara Aisha Willis

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Tara Aisha Willis received her B.A. from Barnard College where she majored in Dance and English, with a concentration in creative writing (summa cum laude, phi beta kappa, Centennial Scholar). There she studied black embodiment in both literature and dance studies, alongside her own dance and poetry practices. She earned her M.A. in Performance Studies at NYU, writing about black tactics of ambiguity and destabilization in recent dance experimentation and the invisibilization of racial dynamics in New York's experimental dance communities. 

Tara is the Associate Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She is Assistant Editor for TDR and a member of Women & Performance’s editorial collective. Tara is also co-editor with Thomas F. DeFrantz of a special issue of The Black Scholar entitled “Black Moves: New Research in Black Dance Studies.” Her scholarly and dance writing appears in the Movement Research Performance Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, Women & Performance and TDR. In 2015-16 she’s danced for Megan Byrne and Sarah A.O. Rosner, and currently dances for Kim Brandt and Anna Sperber. Her own choreography has been shown at Movement Research at Judson Church, BAX, Roulette, THROW, Dixon Place, The Painting Center, and AUNTS, among other spaces. She is a co-curator of the Movement Research Festival Spring 2016: Hand Written Note(s), has been involved with numerous panels and discursive events in the dance community, and currently works as Coordinator of Diversity Initiatives for Movement Research, an support organization for experimental dance artists.

 

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT/PROJECTS

  • Associate Curator of Performance, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Coordinator of Diversity Initiatives, Movement Research
  • Assistant Editor, TDR: The Drama Review
  • Editorial Collective Member, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory
  • Summer MFA Thesis Writing Assistant, Department of Dance, Hollins University
  • Co-Editor with Thomas F. DeFrantz on a Special Issue of The Black Scholar (2016) entitled “Black Moves: New Research in Black Dance Studies"
  • Co-Curator, Movement Research Festival Spring 2016

DEGREE PRIOR TO PS @ NYU:

  • B.A., Dance and English (Creative Writing Concentration), Barnard College
  • M.A., Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU

Why PS @ NYU

Before I found P.S. I was always trying to think about how race works choreographically and kinetically in how we write, or about how dance is understood through language and race. I was always trying to do multiple things at once from an angle that couldn't quite accommodate everything, but here at P.S. we all have one thing in common that binds all my favorite moving parts together: performativity. To discover that wider lens of performativity has given my thinking and writing room to fill out, to become whole.

OTHER SPECIAL TIDBITS

Tara currently dances for Anna Sperber and Kim Brandt, and recently for Megan Byrne and Sarah A.O. Rosner, among others, as well as in her own choreographic projects. She is also a contributing dance writer for Movement Research Performance Journal andThe Brooklyn Rail.