Dr. Freya Vass-Rhee

vassrhee-2015Freya is Co-Director of the Beacon Institute and Lead for Dance and Science. Her research interests include cognitive dance and theatre studies, postdramatic physical theatre practices, visuo-sonority in contemporary dance, dramaturgy, and arts/sciences interdisciplinarity. Her practical background includes dance/dance theatre dramaturgy, production assistance, and a 16-year career as a professional dancer in the Europe and the US.

Freya studied Linguistics and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Los Angeles before completing a PhD in Dance History and Theory from the University of California, Riverside with the dissertation “Audio-Visual Stress: Cognitive Approaches to the Perceptual Performativity of William Forsythe and Ensemble.” From 2011 to 2013, Freya was an Associate Researcher with the Dance Engaging Science workgroup of the Motion Bank project (The Forsythe Company, Frankfurt). Her research has appeared in journals and edited volumes.

From 2006-13, Freya served as Dramaturg and Production Assistant to choreographer William Forsythe (currently Guest Dramaturg), collaborating closely on over a dozen works including Heterotopia (2006), Angoloscuro (2007), The Defenders (2007), Yes We Can’t (2008/2010), I don’t believe in outer space (2008), The Returns (2009), and Sider (2011). She has also freelanced as Dramaturg for choreographers including David Dawson.

Freya has served on the Board of Directors of the Congress on Research in Dance (2005-2009) and participates regularly in the American Society for Theatre Research Working Group in Cognitive Science in Theatre, Dance and Performance. She is Deputy Director of Kent’s Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance.