Ariel Nereson


Ariel Nereson.

Ariel Nereson


Ariel Nereson


Associate Director of Graduate Studies
Director of Graduate Dance
Assistant Professor

Research Topics

Dance Studies, Musical Theatre, Critical Race Theory, Historiography, Queer Performance

Contact Information


  • PhD, Theatre Arts, University of Pittsburgh
  • MA, English, University at Buffalo SUNY
  • BA, Dance, Choreography concentration; English, St. Olaf College


Ariel Nereson is Assistant Professor of Dance Studies. Dr. Nereson’s research is at the intersection of embodiment, identity, historiography, and cultural production. She uses dramaturgical and choreographic analyses to study movement-based performance as art and culture in order to understand how communities interpret movement as meaning. Her current book project is a study of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, contemporary US American performance, and the racial past. Her essays and reviews can be found in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Studies in Musical Theatre, and American Quarterly, among others. Her essays are also included in the collections Performing the Progressive Era and in The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science. She is a 2018 recipient of a Targeted Research Fellowship from the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) for her research on choreographers active across concert and Broadway stages in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is a past recipient of ASTR’s Selma Jeanne Cohen Conference Presentation Award (2016), Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize (2012), and Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Research Fellowship (2013).

Dr. Nereson is an active member and regularly presents at the conferences of the Dance Studies Association (DSA), Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), ASTR, and ATDS. She also serves on the editorial boards of Theatre Annual: A Journal of Theatre and Performance of the Americas, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and is a board member of the American Theatre & Drama Society. In the spring of 2019 Dr. Nereson co-edited, with Dr. Lezlie Cross, the ATDS-special issue of The Journal of American Drama and Theatre on “The Embodied Arts.”

At UB, Dr. Nereson teaches courses in the BFA and BA in Dance programs as well across the graduate programs including the MFA in Dance and the MA and PhD in Theatre & Performance as well as co-convenes the Humanities Institute Performance Research Workshop. Dr. Nereson is also a dramaturg and choreographer.


Articles and Chapters:

“Allergies, Allegiances, and Authenticity: Bill T. Jones’s Choreography for Broadway.” Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2019. 23-36.

“Normalizing Disruption: Advocating for Reproductive Health in Academia.” With Adanma Onyedike Barton, Meredith Conti, and Kristi Good. Theatre Topics. Vol. 29, No. 1, March 2019. 59-70.

“New Women and Girls of Today in Motion: The ‘Strenuous Clasping’ of Tango Teas.” Performing the Progressive Era: Immigration, Urbanism, and Nationalism on Stage, 1890-1920, eds. Max Schulman and J. Chris Westgate. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2019. 122-140.

“Communities of Gesture: Empathy and Embodiment in Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s 100 Migrations.” The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science, eds. Rick Kemp and Bruce McConachie. London: Routledge, 2018. 135-143.

“Sound in Motion: Bill T. Jones Repurposes John Cage.” Critical Stages,
special issue edited by Johannes Birringer. Issue 16, December 2017.

“Counterfactual Moving in Bill T. Jones’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land.Theatre Survey. Vol. 56, No. 2, May 2015. 166-186.




“A Genius Public: Site-Specific Dance at the University of Virginia and the Presence of the Past.” American Society for Theatre Research, Arlington, VA –November 2019.

“Choreographing History: Black Concert Dance and the Question of Genre.” Scholars @Hallwalls Lecture Series, UB Humanities Institute, Buffalo, NY – October 2019.

“Dance and Democracy: Empathy Rehearsals in Contemporary Performance.” Buffalo Humanities Festival, Buffalo, NY – September 2019.

“Commissions, Commemorations, and Racial Capitalism: Patterns of Arts Patronage and National Belonging.” Dance Studies Association, Chicago, IL – August 2019.

“A Necessary Invention: Choreographies of Black Womanhood in American Dance and History.” Mid-America Theatre Conference, Cleveland, OH – March 2019.

“Head in Trousers: Prosecuting Arousal in the Trial of The Pleasure Man.” American Society for Theatre Research, San Diego, CA – November 2018.

“Dancing Spring Awakening: A Postmodern Revolution?” Roundtable. Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Boston, MA – August 2018.

“Correct First: Confrontation in the Work of Bill T. Jones.” Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Boston, MA – August 2018.

“Romantic Revision.” Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College – June 2018.   

“Lincoln the Lover: A New Spin on History in Bill T. Jones’s Lincoln Dances.” Mid-America Theatre Conference, Milwaukee, WI – March 2018.

“High/Low Dichotomies of Cultural Production, Race, and Authenticity in Bill T. Jones’s Choreography for Broadway.” American Studies Association, Chicago, IL – November 2017.     

“Playing Uncle Tom in the Age of Obama: Bill T. Jones and Abraham Lincoln’s Shadows.” Escape from the Archive at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY – October 2017.

“Approaches to Teaching Dance Studies in MFA Programs.” Dance Studies Association, Columbus, OH – October 2017.

“‘Five Moons’ Rising: Considering Native/Indigenous Ballerinas in Disciplinary Histories.” Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Las Vegas, NV – August 2017.



Book Review Editor, Theatre History Studies

Special Journal Issue: “The Embodied Arts.” Co-edited with Lezlie Cross. The Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Vol. 31, No. 3. Spring 2019.

Editorial Board Member, 2016 - present

The Journal of American Drama and Theatre

Editorial Board Member, 2014 - present

Theatre Annual: A Journal of Theatre and Performance of the Americas