Paul A. Scolieri

Chair & Professor of Dance

Professor Scolieri’s research interests include dance history and theory; performance studies; and critical race, ethnicity and sexuality studies.

He is the award-winning author of Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest (2013), the inaugural book in the University of Texas Press’s Latin American & Caribbean Performance Series sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is currently writing a critical biography of the “Father of American Dance” Ted Shawn  (forthcoming with Oxford University Press).

In addition to his appointment in Dance, Professor Scolieri has affiliations with Barnard’s Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), the Department of Africana Studies, American Studies Program, and the Columbia University Ph.D. Program in Theatre, advising students across the University in research related to performance, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Music, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Dance for Columbia College.

At Barnard, Professor Scolieri has interviewed prominent artists, academics, and activists, including dance legend Katherine Dunham (2004), choreographers Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire (2011), National Endowment for the Arts Director of Dance Douglas Sonntag (2011), and poet Ntozake Shange with dance icon Dianne McIntyre (2013).

Within the field of dance studies, he has served as a board member of three scholarly organizations: the Society of Dance History Scholars (2010-13), the World Dance Alliance—Americas (2005-08), and the Congress on Research in Dance (2004-08). He has also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2015, he was appointed to the dance panel of the New York State Council of the Arts.

Professor Scolieri earned his A.B. (Dance & English) at Columbia College, Columbia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He also earned his Certification in Movement Analysis (C.M.A.) from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies.

Professor Scolieri joined the Barnard faculty in 2000.

See a profile about Professor Scolieri in the Winter 2015 issue of Barnard Magazine.

Academic Focus: 

Global dance studies
Latin American and Caribbean performance
U.S. performance history
Movement theory and analysis
Performance Studies


Lecture Courses

DNCE 2565:   World Dance History

DNCE 2562:   Movement Analysis

DNCE 2570:   Dance in New York City

DNCE 3570:   Latin American and Caribbean Dance

DNCE 3580:   History of Social Dancing: Dance Crazes from the Waltz to Flash Mobs


DNCE 3591:   Senior Seminar in Dance

DNCE 3981:   Inventing American Modern Dance: Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn

DNCE 3980:   Performing the Political

DNCE 3984:   Digital Performance: Critical Approaches to Interactive Art & Research

DNCE 3985:   Digital Footprints: Archival/New Media Research at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Awards & Honors: 


ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, Library of Congress, 2014-15

Joan Nordell Fellowship, Houghton Library, Harvard University, 2011-12

Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2008-09

Research Fellowship, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, 2007, 2012

Publishing Accolades

Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research from the Congress on Research in Dance, 2014

Special Citation from the de la Torre Bueno Prize Committee, Society of Dance History Scholars, 2014

Honorable Mention from the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize Committee, American Society for Theatre Research, 2014

Professional Affiliations: 

Barnard College

Department of Africana Studies

Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies

Columbia University

Faculty, Ph.D. Program in Theatre, Columbia University

Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference

Motor Learning & Control Program, Biobehavioral Sciences Department, Teachers College

Studies in Dance (University Seminar)

Scholarly Organizations

Society of Dance History Scholars

Latin American Studies Association

Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies

Presentations / Recent Lectures: 

Keynotes & Invited Lectures
"Birth of a Dancing Nation: The Life, Writings, and Choreography of Ted Shawn." Washington University in St. Louis, October 7, 2016.

"Birth of a Dancing Nation: The Life, Writings, and Choreography of Ted Shawn." Hutton House Lectures, LIU-Post. May 15, 2015.

"Birth of a Dancing Nation: Denishawn, 1915-1930." Kluge Center, Library of Congress, April 19, 2015.

“G(u)ilding Dance: Performing and Reforming Art and Labor in the Progressive Era (or Reflections on the Centennial of Denishawn, America’s First Dance Company).” Society of Dance History Scholars Special Conference: Dance as Experience: Progressive Era Origins and Legacies, Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; March 28, 2014.

“Dance and the Historiography of the Americas.” 19th Annual Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture Conference, Binghamton University; April 18, 2009.

Plenaries, Roundtables, and Conversations
"Dance in Art & Science: A Conversation between David Glowacki, Paul Scolieri, and Chisa Hidaka." Sponsored by CUriosity3, Columbia University School of the Arts, and the Columbia Office of Government and Community Affairs; January 15, 2014.

From Aztecs to Tango: New Dimensions in Latin American Dance Research” with Carolyn Merritt (Bryn Mawr). Smith College, Northampton, MA; April 15, 2013.

“On Aging and a Special Performance by Peggy Shaw.” Roundtable Participant. Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics. New York University; October 25, 2012.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Roundtable Conversations: Movements.” Participant, Center for Critical Analysis of Social Difference, Columbia University, New York; September 21, 2011.

“Dancing in the ‘Age of Discovery’: The Dance Writings of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and the Early American Explorers.” Society of Dance History Scholars Conference, Stanford University, California; June 20, 2009.

"Captured Motion: The Art & Science of Human Movement Research with Professor Chris Bregler." Moderator, Barnard College; September 16, 2013.

“Performing Shange: A Discussion with Ntozake Shange (2013 Distinguished Africana Alumna Honoree) and Dianne McIntyre.” Moderator, Barnard College; February 14, 2013.

“Rediscovering Ted Shawn.” Interviewee, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; August 10, 2012.

“Into Sunlight: An Interview with Choreographer Robin Becker and Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist David Maranis.” Interviewer, Holy Trinity High School Theater, New York; March 18, 2012.

 “On Dance: Visible, An Interview with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; September 25, 2011.

On Dance: Dance and the National Endowment for the Arts, A Discussion with NEA Dance Director Douglas Sonntag.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; April 19, 2011.

“On Dance: An Evening with Katherine Dunham.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; March 29, 2004.




Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances. Oxford University Press, 2019.










Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest. University of Texas Press, 2013. (Winner of the 2014 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research)

Reviews of Dancing the New World

CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries by Maura Keefe (January 2014) 51, 5: 847.

Dance Research Journal by Zoila S. Mendoza (April 2014) 46, 1: 133-136.

Hispania by William Flores (June 2014) 97, 2: 335-36.

Dance Research by Matthew Looper (November 2014) 32, 2: 258-259.

Hispanic Review by Patricia Ybarra (2015) 83, 1: 113-117.

TDR: The Drama Review by Angela Marino (2015) 59, 1: 183-184.

Bulletin of Latin American Research by Julia del Palacio Langer (2015) 34, 2: 248-49.

The Americas by Anita González (January 2016) 73, 1: 100-02.

Recent Articles

“‘An Interesting Experiment in Eugenics’: Ted Shawn, American Dance, and the Discourses of Sex, Race, and Ethnicity.” Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, Ed. Tony V. Shay. Oxford University Press, October 2013. 

Rhythms of Resurrection: The Comebacks of Ruth St. Denis.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory (2012) 22, 1: 89-107.

Edited Journal

"Choreographies of Migration: New Orientations for Dance and Migration Studies," Ed. Paul Scolieri. Dance Research Journal 40:2 (2008).









Reference Entries

“Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson” in The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Eds. Cary Wintz and Paul Finkelman. New York: Routledge, 2005: 1067-1070.

“Ida Forsyne” in The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Eds. Cary Wintz and Paul Finkelman. New York: Routledge, 2005: 403.

“Ted Shawn” Online Exhibition Catalogue Essay for America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100 Online Exhibit. Dance Heritage Coalition.


A.B., Columbia University

M.A., Ph.D., New York University

In the News

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Award from the Congress on Research in Dance honors the best new scholarship in the field