Professor Lionel Popkin, a choreographer and performer who has served on the UCLA faculty since 2006, is the new chair of the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Popkin succeeds professor Angelia Leung whose excellent leadership has guided the department for many years, including her most recent tenure as chair during the last six years (2009-2015) and as co-chair for three years prior (2006-2009), said David Roussève, interim dean of UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.
Popkin’s choreography has been presented nationally and internationally at important venues for dance. Grounded in modern and postmodern dance, his works achieve an emotional poignancy and speak to the vital issues of our contemporary and transnational times through a meticulously crafted layering of interdisciplinary elements.
Popkin has completed numerous commissions for notable dance companies and, early in his career, performed as a dancer in the companies of Stephanie Skura, Terry Creach, and Trisha Brown.
He is currently developing a new work, “Inflatable Trio,” which will premiere in the fall 2016. “Inflatable Trio,” which will be performed on and around an inflatable plastic living room set, looks at the ways we attempt to orient ourselves within the ever-changing domestic, social and environmental landscapes of contemporary society.
Popkin has received grants from the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund and Forth Fund, the National Dance Project Touring Subsidy, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship, the Puffin Foundation, the Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative through the Jerome Foundation, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New York State Music Fund, and the Durfee Foundation.
Prior to joining UCLA, he served on the faculty of Bates College, London's Laban Centre, Sarah Lawrence College, Temple University and the University of Maryland. He holds an M.F.A. from Bennington College and a B.A. with high honors from Oberlin College.