Heather Akarzadeh
Heather is the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities (2016 - 2018). She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She received her B.A. from the University of Washington in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (specializing in Persian language and literature) with minors in Dance and Anthropology. Heather’s research extends upon nearly two decades as a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director among diasporic Iranian communities in the U.S. Her dissertation, “Performing (Trans)National Iranianness: The Choreographic Cartographies of Diasporic Iranian Dancers and Performance Artists,” engages in ethnography, discourse analysis, and performance analysis to investigate the racialized and gendered economies of Iranian performance in transnational art markets and among diasporic audiences in North America and France. Her research examines Iranian artists’ performance works in relation to Euro-American geopolitics and (neo)liberal discourses on immigration, citizenship, and the global war on terror, analyzing how these discourses implicate and are shaped by Iranian dancing/performing bodies. Heather further surveys transnational reconfigurations of Orientalism in “World Dance” markets and representations of the Middle East and Islam in dance, performance, film, and popular culture. At UC Berkeley, Heather taught a wide range of undergraduate lecture and studio-based courses that draw from her interdisciplinary research interests, which include Critical Dance Studies, Performance Studies, Transnational and Postcolonial Feminist theories, Queer theory, Iranian & Middle Eastern Studies, Diaspora and Migration Studies, and Critical Ethnic Studies. Her forthcoming publications include a chapter in the Mellon Dance Studies anthology The Futures of Dance Studies, a chapter in Performing Iran: Cultural Identity and Theatrical Performance, and a commissioned book review in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.
Larry Hecht
Larry began his professional career in the San Francisco Bay Area over four decades ago. He acted, taught, and directed with the American Conservatory Theatre for 25 years, where he was fortunate to work with William Ball, Allen Fletcher, Edward Hastings, Edith Skinner, and countless other extraordinary theatre artists. He has also appeared with Berkeley Rep, the Marin Theatre Company, the Magic Theatre, San Jose Rep, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and more. Beyond the Bay, he’s worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Arizona Theatre Company, and the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts. For the last 18 years, at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, he served as Head of Acting for the renowned National Theatre Conservatory. Mr. Hecht is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and the ACT Advanced Training Program. His ventures into film have included the role of Neal Prescott in Wes Craven’s Scream Trilogy. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
Adanna Jones
Jones received her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She received her BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts -- Rutgers University and has performed in professional dance companies based in NYC, including Andrea E. Woods' Souloworks. In general, her research pursuits focus on Caribbean dance and identity politics throughout the Diaspora.
Lindsey Mantoan
Lindsey is currently a Fellow in Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric, where she teaches courses in writing and performance to freshmen and sophomores. She holds a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from Stanford University, an MA in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin, and an AB in Architecture from Princeton University. She has published research in Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-First Century Theater, TDR, Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, and Dance Theatre Journal. Her areas of academic expertise include: Theater History, Critical Theory, Performance Studies, LGBT Theater, Political and Activist Performance, American Drama, and Musical Theater.
Anton Pankevich
Anton trained at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg and School of American Ballet in New York City. He has danced with New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and the Royal Ballet in London and Pacific Northwest Ballet and was a soloist with Ballet San Jose. He has guested with us in our Nutcracker and Showcase productions and is a member of our permanent faculty.
Aileen Robinson
Aileen Robinson is a Mellon Fellow in the Scholars in the Humanities program for 2016-2018. She received an Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University in 2016 and her A.B. in Literature from Harvard University. Her current project explores the contribution of theatre and magic performance to emerging practices of science communication in the nineteenth century. She investigates how theatrical performances and magic shows drew upon technological innovations and formed unique methods for disseminating scientific knowledge. She conducted archival research in Britain and the United States supported through an SSRC International Dissertation Fellowship and an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the history of optics and physics, magic performance and practice, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British theatrical performance and stagecraft. She teaches classes on the intersection between science, stagecraft, and theatre, as well as British and American theatrical traditions. At Northwestern, she also served as dramaturg and assistant director on productions such as The Secret Garden and Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye.
Amara Tabor-Smith
Tabor-Smith is an Oakland based dance maker who describes her work as Afro Futurist Conjure Art. She is a 2016 recipient of the Creative Capital grant. Amara is the artistic director and founder of Deep Waters Dance Theater and the co artistic director of Headmistress with dancer Sherwood Chen. Her work with DWDT and Headmistress has been performed nationally and internationally. She has performed in the works of artists such as Anna Deveare Smith, Ronald K. Brown, Faustin Linyekula, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Joanna Haigood, and she is the former associate artistic director and dancer with the Urban Bush Women Dance Company. Amara received her MFA in dance from Hollins University and the University of Music and Performing Arts, and is on faculty at UC Berkeley.