Current Students

Pepe ÁlvarezPepe Álvarez
Pepe Álvarez is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher in the theatre, dance, and performance art scenes in Puerto Rico. His solo performance works have been presented in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. He holds and MA in Theatre and Live Arts from the National University of Colombia and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Puerto Rico. His research project examines the tension between performance art’s economy of the ephemeral and its historical documentation. His work can be located within the field of practice as research and critical performance ethnography with which he deploys creative practices as a framework for advancing the examination and compilation of Puerto Rico’s performance history. Focused on the history of experimental dance in Puerto Rico his research analyzes movement improvisation as an artistic form and a training technique that have been iconically central to the canon of Puerto Rico’s artistic experimentalism, political activism and social performances. He is interested in improvisation as both an object of study and as a methodology that can drive historical research and cultural critique. His areas of research include: dance studies, Latino’s studies queer performance, cultural anthropology critical race, feminist theories, institutional critique, art theory and practice.

Bobby BiedrzyckiBobby Biedrzycki
Bobby Biedrzycki is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and activist whose research focuses on intersections of performance and resistance within carceral spaces, particularly structures of incarceration and confinement. Areas of interest include: critical performance ethnography, performance pedagogy, Black performance theory, Marxist theory, legal studies and critical race studies. Bobby is committed to budrzyckiilding a world without prisons and is a member of the 96 Acres Project. He is also a company member with Free Street Theater, where he sustains a theater practice animated by methods of ensemble and social justice. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago (2012).

Rashayla Marie BrownRashayla Marie Brown
Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) is an interdisciplinary artist working across an extensive list of cultural production modes, including photography, performance, writing, drawing, installation, and video art. Her research interests are decolonization of the art historical canon, religious studies, postcolonial theory, queer studies, cultural studies, the intersections of avant-garde performance art and popular culture, and modernism in visual art. As an artist, RMB's work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Yale University, New Haven, CT; and has shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL; INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received the Artadia Award, the City of Chicago's Artist Residency, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. Her work and words have been featured and published in Art Forum, Blouin Modern Painters, Chicago Magazine, Hyperallergic, and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Her viral essay "Open Letter to My Fellow Young Artists and Scholars on the Margins" was shared over 9K times online as of 2017.

Ivan BujanIvan Bujan
Ivan’s research interests include performance theory, gender and sexuality studies, queer of color critique and AIDS-related cultural criticism. He holds a master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Misty De BerryMisty De Berry
Misty De Berry is a Ph.D. candidate and performance artist who works at the intersections of performance studies, Black feminist theory, Marxist theory, and art history. Her dissertation, Performance, Duration, and the Black Feminist Avant-garde examines the impact of avant-garde aesthetics taken up by Black queer women and women of color in the United States as a means of survival from everyday forms of structural violence. Specifically, she looks at the aesthetic use of time and duration that are central to an avant-garde tradition. With the contention that forms of structural violence, such as white supremacy and anti-black capitalist logics, are habituated and embodied, she questions how might we employ time as an aesthetic device in order to interrupt such processes of habituation on the body and within interpersonal dynamics?

Ali FarajAli Faraj
With a background in Computer and Audio Engineering, DJ-ing, English Literature and advertising copywriting/translation, Ali’s general (research) interests encompass the circulation, consumption and performance of culture across languages, genres and media.  More specifically, Ali is interested in comparing different performances of fandom and stardom of working class communities, and their depictions of anger, social mobility and racial identity. These performances include, but are not limited to: Northern Soul music, Kitchen Sink Drama and Egyptian popular culture post Suez Crisis.

Ethan Fukuto
Ethan Fukuto works across scholarship, DJing, and sound art to explore the sonic strategies of queer cultural production which subvert or otherwise undermine the logics of visibility and visuality. Their research broadly considers the performative and affective valences of sound. General research interests include: House, Techno, critical geography, queer of color critique, sound studies, the 808 drum machine, and queer and feminist theories. He holds a BA in Media Studies from Pomona College.

Roy Gomez-CruzRoy Gomez-Cruz
Roy Gomez Cruz’s research examines the political economy of contemporary circus industries in North America under competing modes of transnationalism. Approaching performance ethnographically, his work illuminates how circus troupes perform across national borders by both resisting and reproducing tensions between the circus body imagined as a source of economic capital and circus performance as vessel of creative agency. His interests concerned the critical study of circus, transnational social movements, cultural industries, creative economies and urban spectacles, particularly through the lens of performance, critical race, and queer theory. Of particular interest is practicing a performance-centered pedagogy aimed to provide students with tools for critical thinking, empirical research and artistic expression. Roy’s pedagogical orientation aims to bridge gaps between theory and praxis. By drawing from his two areas of expertise: ethnography and circus studies, his pedagogy seeks to foster inclusive learning as an embodied, empowering and transformative experience.

Greg Manuel
Greg Manuel is a researcher and electroacoustic musician from far Northern California. They hold a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory. Greg's research interests include rural geography, affect theory, wildfire science, queer/trans theory, disability studies, and sound studies.

Gervais MarshGervais Marsh
Gervais Marsh’s research project considers different forms of queer (non-normative) performance in the Anglophone Caribbean as sites that facilitate processes and modes of decolonization, particularly related to gender and sexuality. The project focuses on Dancehall and Carnival Culture, LGBTQ+ activism and theater performance artists as potential research sites, spaces and interlocutors. Research Interests: Black Feminisms, Caribbean Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Queer Studies, Critical Race Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Black Performance Theory.

Michell MillerMichell Nicole Miller
Michell Nicole Miler holds an A.M. in Theater and Performance Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She received a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a concentration in Poetry Writing from the University of Virginia. Michell’s research interests include: the black female body, birth justice, traditional birthing practices, black midwifery, Afro-Diasporic ritual and performances of the feminine divine.

Justin C. Moore
Justin C. Moore is a doctoral student in the Department of Performance Studies and an Andrew W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies. He received his Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Emory University. His research interests include Black Performance Studies, Black Genders & Sexualities, 19th and 20th Century African American literature, Sound Studies, Intimacy, Abjection, Flesh, and Affect.

Didier Morelli
Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. His research interests include the history of performance and conceptual art, spatial and urban theory, institutional critique, pedagogy within the arts, media, as well as athletics and the culture of sport. His dissertation investigates the relationship between the body of the artist and the infrastructure of the city in Los Angeles and New York City between 1970 and 1985, with specific attention to how performance art resists, renegotiates, and responds to architectural and urban functionalism. It addresses performance works that engaged with, enacted, and translated everyday acts of kinesthetic protest into aesthetic events.

Cordelia Rizzo
Cordelia Rizzo Is an activist-scholar from Monterrey, Mexico. With a background in Human Rights and Philosophy, her current research project is looking at embroidery as a form of performing resistance against the dehumanizing apparatus of the current War on Drugs in Mexico. The production of textiles is a way of preserving an archive of women’s voices implicitly resisting the idea that war and violence are inevitable. She is also interested in the political aspect of the performance of touch and other everyday rituals.

Arnaldo Rodríguez-Bagué
Arnaldo Rodríguez-Bagué is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and a practice-as-research scholar. He received an MA on Cultural Management (2015) and a BA in Anthropology (2012) both from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Rodríguez-Bagué’s research project focuses on contemporary visual art and performance on colonial insular geographies in the Caribbean and the Pacific islands. His project articulates an archipelagic performance in relation to the queer possibilities produced by the intersections of geography, colonialism, and climate change in the age of the Anthropocene. His research interest center around Performance Theory, Archipelagic American Studies, Caribbean Studies, Pacific Studies, Critical Geography, Transnationalism and Globalization, Decolonial Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Environmental Humanities, Eco-criticism, and New Materialism.

Danielle RossDanielle Ross
Danielle Ross is a performer, dancer, choreographer, and curator. Her research looks at the intersections of feminist approaches, gender, embodied agency, and performance practices in sites of political protest. Her interests explore feminist choreographic works, and include feminist theory, gender studies, sexuality studies, and dance studies.

Ashlie SandovalAshlie Sandoval
Ashlie Sandoval is a PhD candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, where she also received a certificate in Critical Theory and serves as a Graduate Writing Place Fellow. Before she came to Northwestern, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and received a BA from San Francisco State University in Japanese and political science. Her research interests involve performance theory, Marxist theory, architectural theory, feminist theory, and critical ethnic studies. Her dissertation, Designed to Work: Performance, Racial Capitalism, and Surplus Labor, examines how experiences of built-space influence how we interpret and respond to the evolving labor conditions within racial capitalism. This year she is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. ashliesandoval2017@u.northwestern.edu

Enzo E. Vasquez Toral
Enzo E. Vasquez Toral is a theater director, scholar, and performer originally from Peru. He holds a MA in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University, and a BA in History and Literature and Brazilian Studies from Harvard University. Formerly, he was a Harvard Artistic Development Fellow in Brazil, the Director and Founder of Princeton University’s Spanish Theater group, and a Davis UWC Scholar. Enzo’s doctoral work focuses on queer and trans engagement in cross-dressing ritual practices in fiestas and carnivals, folklore, and religiosity in the Andes; as well as contemporary queer visual and performance art in this region. Aside from his ethnographic and performance practice in the Andes, Enzo has conducted archival research and written on political theater in Brazil. His academic work and reviews have been featured in edited volumes, reference works, and academic journals in the United States and Latin America, where he has also presented his theater and performance work and collaborations. Before coming to Northwestern, Enzo was an Exchange Scholar in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University.

Chaunesti WebbChaunesti Webb
Chaunesti Webb is an interdisciplinary theater artist and scholar with a background in collaborative and ensemble-based performance, contemplative arts, devised theater, and physical approaches to performance to include somatics, psychophysical acting, and extended voice techniques. Her research interests include black feminist avant-garde performance, aesthetics of Afrosurrealism and Afrofuturism, adaptation, experimental theater, and contemporary performance practices. Chaunesti holds a BA in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an MFA in Theater and Contemporary Performance from Naropa University.

Bejamin ZenderBenjamin Zender
Benjamin Zender considers practices of hoarding and abject object management in relationship to the labor of minoritarian archives. He is interested in how normative conceptions of household management help to demarcate whose lives and objects are worthy of documentation and communal memory. His research areas include queer and trans theory, feminist theory, affect studies, new materialisms, critical race theory, disability studies, and critical university studies. Zender received an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from Syracuse University.)

Mlonolozi Zondi
Mlondolozi “Mlondi” Zondi is a movement artist with an interest in dance dramaturgy, curatorial practice, and pedagogy. Mlondi’s dissertation focuses on contemporary Black performance and visual art engagements with death and corporeal integrity. Using Afro-Pessimism and other aspects of the Black radical tradition, the research probes the relationship between black ontology and the ontology of performance. Mlondi received an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and a BA (Hons) in Cultural Studies and Performance Studies from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.