Joy Heller

M.A. '17

Joy Heller

Joy Heller is a researcher, dancer, and writer currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She spent the past three years studying dance as a Korean Government Scholar at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea. At Hanyang, she had the honor of studying traditional and contemporary dance with master teachers and choreographers, as well as participating in research and organizing activities within the overseas Korean adoptee community in Seoul.
As a dancer, Joy received her early training at institutions including Delaware Valley Dance Academy, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Princeton Ballet School, The Ailey School, and the PA Governor's School for the Arts. She has performed professionally with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, PHILADANCO's D/2, Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers, and independent choreographers in Philadelphia.

Joy holds a BA in Anthropology from Haverford College and a minor in Dance from Swarthmore College, and was awarded the 2011 Wyatt MacGaffey thesis prize for most outstanding senior thesis in Anthropology, for her thesis on cultural identity in transnational Korean adoption. Her research seeks to fuse her multiple interests in dance, performance, transnational identity, ethnographic and experimental writing, archival practices, Asian American performance and queer and feminist theories. 


New York University

Master of Arts - Performance Studies

New York, New York


Hanyang University

Master of Arts - Dance

Seoul, South Korea


Haverford College

Bachelor of Arts - Anthropology

Haverford, Pennsylvania

Awards & Distinctions

• Recipient of the 2011 Wyatt MacGaffey Thesis prize for most outstanding senior thesis in Anthropology, entitled 'Geographies of Home: Cultural Identity in Transnational Korean Adoption'

• Recipient of the 2011 Melvin B. Troy award in Dance, Swarthmore College