Rebekah J. Kowal


Member, NASD Board of Directors
Elected September 2020, term ends September 2023

Rebekah J. Kowal teaches dance history and theory and serves as Chair of the Department of Dance at the University of Iowa. A dancer and scholar, Professor Kowal seeks to forge interdisciplinary connections between dance theory and practice. Prior to joining the faculty at Iowa, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Performance Studies at Haverford College.

Professor Kowal has published widely in the fields of dance and performance studies including two monographs, How To Do Things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America (Wesleyan University Press, 2010) and Dancing the World Smaller: Staging Globalism in Mid-Century America (Oxford University Press, 2020). Her articles and reviews appear in Dance Research JournalDance ResearchTDRPerformance Research, Dance Selected Research, Vol. 6The Returns of Alwin Nikolais: Bodies, Boundaries and the Dance Canon (eds. Randy Martin and Claudia Gitelman), The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity (eds. Anthony Shay and Barbara Sellers-Young), and The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics (eds. Rebekah Kowal, Gerald Siegmund, and Randy Martin). She is co-editor with Gerald Siegmund and Randy Martin of The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Professor Kowal has won collegiate and national awards for her scholarly research including: Honorable Mention for the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize given by the American Society for Theatre Research (2018, shared with G. Siegmund and R. Martin for The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics); the Congress on Research in Dance’s Outstanding Publication Award (2012, for How to Do Things with Dance); the Society of Dance History Scholars’ Gertrude Lippincott Award (2008, for “Dance Travels: Walking with Pearl”); and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Award in 2012. In 2009, she received the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholar Award, and in 2020 she received the College’s Collegiate Scholar Award.

In the professional field, Professor Kowal has served as Vice President of the Society of Dance History Scholars and as Acting Vice President of Awards and Prizes of the Dance Studies Association. She currently serves as Associate Editor of Dance Research Journal and will become Executive Editor of the journal in January 2021.

Professor Kowal serves NASD as a visiting evaluator.

Professor Kowal holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in American Studies from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with Honors/minor in Dance from Barnard College/Columbia University. She holds a Certificate in Laban Movement Studies from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute.

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Posted October 2020