I am an artist/scholar and designer interested in experimental dance choreography, theories of the body, somatics, and stage environments that support explorations of states of consciousness. Since earning my MFA in dance from Mills College (1994) I have choreographed and performed as Megan Nicely/Dance, primarily in the Bay Area and New York, with projects in Europe and the UK. My work fuses a release-style movement aesthetic with elements from Japanese butoh, and often involves costume design, video, and live sonic elements. I seek to uncover ways of bypassing the self as the motivation for movement in favor of other forces we then navigate as dancers. My PhD in performance studies from New York University (2012), Choreography from the Outside: Dance Experiments in Thinking, Perception, and Language after 1960, attempted to address these concerns by drawing on Western and Asian philosophy and affect theory in relation to thinking and moving. As a dance studies scholar and educator, my concern is to find ways to theorize and articulate the multiple perspectives of a dancer’s moving experience, and my ongoing dance training in postmodern and contemporary dance, Japanese butoh, improvisation, somatics, and yoga informs this ongoing research.
In addition to my participation in Megan Nicely/Dance, I have had the opportunity and great pleasure to work as a performer with a number of companies and projects including: the opera Admeto directed by Doris Dörrie and Tadashi Endo and presented at the Edinburgh International Festival, the re-doing of 18 Happenings in 6 Parts by Allan Kaprow, directed by André Lepecki in Long Island City, NY, Exusisi with Akira Kasai presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, One with Juliette Mapp performed at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, Quiet to Departure with Leigh Evans at PS 122, and as a member of Maxine Moerman Dance Theater, Liss Fain Dance, Underbelly Dance Theatre Beast, and others. I have also served on the board and as facilitator of The Field SF, as bookkeeper for Luna Dance Institute and The Magic Theater, as Managing Editor at TDR: The Drama Review and The Terpsichorean (which later became In Dance), and as a co-coordinator of the first Dance Across the Board graduate student conference at NYU. I received a BA in art history from Reed College focusing on feminist scholarship and the work of early 20th century German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker, and I maintain an interest in these areas as well.
I am currently Associate Professor in the Performing Arts Department at University of San Francisco, whose program focuses on the arts and social justice.