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Paul A. Scolieri

Professor of Dance  




On sabbatical in 2023-24


Professor Scolieri is the author of two award-winning books: Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest (2013), the inaugural book in the University of Texas Press’s Latin American & Caribbean Performance Series, and a critical biography of the “Father of American Dance,” Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances (Oxford University Press, 2019).

In addition to his appointment in Dance, Professor Scolieri has affiliations with Barnard’s Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), the Department of Africana Studies, American Studies Program, and the Columbia University Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance, advising students across the University in research related to performance, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Music, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He was recently elected to the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.

At Barnard, Professor Scolieri has interviewed prominent artists, academics, and activists, including dance legend Katherine Dunham (2004), choreographers Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire (2011), National Endowment for the Arts Director of Dance Douglas Sonntag (2011), poet Ntozake Shange with dance icon Dianne McIntyre (2013), and Yvonne Rainer (2019).

Within the field of dance studies, he has served as a board member of three scholarly organizations: the Society of Dance History Scholars (2010-13), the World Dance Alliance—Americas (2005-08), and the Congress on Research in Dance (2004-08). He has also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2015, he was appointed to the dance panel of the New York State Council of the Arts.

Professor Scolieri earned his A.B. (Dance & English) at Columbia College, Columbia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He also earned his Certification in Movement Analysis (C.M.A.) from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies.

A past Chair of Department of Dance (2013, 2018-2023) and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Dance for Columbia College, Professor Scolieri joined the Barnard faculty in 2000.

See profiles of Professor Scolieri in Barnard Magazine and Columbia College Today.  


  • A.B., Columbia University
  • M.A., Ph.D., New York University

  • Global dance studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean performance
  • U.S. performance history
  • Movement theory and analysis
  • Performance Studies

Lecture Courses

  • DNCE 2565:   World Dance History
  • DNCE 2562:   Movement Analysis
  • DNCE 2570:   Dance in New York City
  • DNCE 3200:   Dance in Film
  • DNCE 3570:   Latin American and Caribbean Dance
  • DNCE 3580:   History of Social Dancing: Dance Crazes from the Waltz to Flash Mobs



Publishing Accolades


  • Dance Studies Association
  • Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies

Presentations / Recent Lectures

"PillowTalk: Dance Scholar Paul Scolieri on Ted Shawn" with Norton Owen (March 7, 2020).

"Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances," National Arts Club, New York (November 14, 2019).

"Birth of a Dancing Nation: The Life, Writings, and Choreography of Ted Shawn." Washington University in St. Louis, October 7, 2016.

"Birth of a Dancing Nation: The Life, Writings, and Choreography of Ted Shawn." Hutton House Lectures, LIU-Post. May 15, 2015.

"Birth of a Dancing Nation: Denishawn, 1915-1930." Kluge Center, Library of Congress, April 19, 2015.

“G(u)ilding Dance: Performing and Reforming Art and Labor in the Progressive Era (or Reflections on the Centennial of Denishawn, America’s First Dance Company).” Society of Dance History Scholars Special Conference: Dance as Experience: Progressive Era Origins and Legacies, Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; March 28, 2014.

“Dance and the Historiography of the Americas.” 19th Annual Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture Conference, Binghamton University; April 18, 2009.

"Dance in Art & Science: A Conversation between David Glowacki, Paul Scolieri, and Chisa Hidaka." Sponsored by CUriosity3, Columbia University School of the Arts, and the Columbia Office of Government and Community Affairs; January 15, 2014.

From Aztecs to Tango: New Dimensions in Latin American Dance Research” with Carolyn Merritt (Bryn Mawr). Smith College, Northampton, MA; April 15, 2013.

“On Aging and a Special Performance by Peggy Shaw.” Roundtable Participant. Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics. New York University; October 25, 2012.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Roundtable Conversations: Movements.” Participant, Center for Critical Analysis of Social Difference, Columbia University, New York; September 21, 2011.

“Dancing in the ‘Age of Discovery’: The Dance Writings of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and the Early American Explorers.” Society of Dance History Scholars Conference, Stanford University, California; June 20, 2009.

"Captured Motion: The Art & Science of Human Movement Research with Professor Chris Bregler." Moderator, Barnard College; September 16, 2013.

“Performing Shange: A Discussion with Ntozake Shange (2013 Distinguished Africana Alumna Honoree) and Dianne McIntyre.” Moderator, Barnard College; February 14, 2013.

“Rediscovering Ted Shawn.” Interviewee, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; August 10, 2012.

“Into Sunlight: An Interview with Choreographer Robin Becker and Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist David Maranis.” Interviewer, Holy Trinity High School Theater, New York; March 18, 2012.

 “On Dance: Visible, An Interview with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; September 25, 2011.

On Dance: Dance and the National Endowment for the Arts, A Discussion with NEA Dance Director Douglas Sonntag.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; April 19, 2011.

“On Dance: An Evening with Katherine Dunham.” Interviewer, Barnard College, New York; March 29, 2004.



Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances. Oxford University Press, 2019.

See also "Ted Shawn and the Defense of the Male Dancer" on Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive.

Reviews of Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances

Booklist by Carolyn Mulac (November 1. 2019).

"Curating their Lives" in The Hudson Review by Marcia B. Siegel (Summer 2020).

Notable Dance Books of 2019 by Wendy Perron. 

"Spring Book Corner #3" by Heather Desaulniers (May 6, 2020).

"Three Books Dance Teachers Should Read This Year" Dance Teacher Magazine (on-line) (May 9, 2019).

Interviews about Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances

"PillowTalk: Dance Scholar Paul Scolieri on Ted Shawn" with Norton Owen (March 7, 2020).

"A Closer Look at the Life, Legacy of Ted Shawn" in The Berkshire Eagle by Janine Parker (January 17, 2020).

"Ten Minutes with a Modern Dance Scholar" in Berkshire Magazine by Anastasia Stanmeyer. 

"A Dance Pioneer Finally Gets His Due" in Columbia College Today by Jill C. Shomer (Summer 2020). 


Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest. University of Texas Press, 2013. (Winner of the 2014 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research)

Reviews of Dancing the New World

Dance Research Journal by Zoila S. Mendoza (April 2014) 46, 1: 133-136.

Hispania by William Flores (June 2014) 97, 2: 335-36.

Dance Research by Matthew Looper (November 2014) 32, 2: 258-259.

Hispanic Review by Patricia Ybarra (2015) 83, 1: 113-117.

TDR: The Drama Review by Angela Marino (2015) 59, 1: 183-184.

Bulletin of Latin American Research by Julia del Palacio Langer (2015) 34, 2: 248-49.

The Americas by Anita González (January 2016) 73, 1: 100-02.

Hispanic American Historical Review by Bradley Benton (2017) 97 (1): 153–155.

"Choreographies of Migration: New Orientations for Dance and Migration Studies," Ed. Paul Scolieri. Dance Research Journal 40:2 (2008).


“‘An Interesting Experiment in Eugenics’: Ted Shawn, American Dance, and the Discourses of Sex, Race, and Ethnicity.” Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, Ed. Tony V. Shay. Oxford University Press, October 2013. 

Rhythms of Resurrection: The Comebacks of Ruth St. Denis.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory (2012) 22, 1: 89-107.

“Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson” in The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Eds. Cary Wintz and Paul Finkelman. New York: Routledge, 2005: 1067-1070.

“Ida Forsyne” in The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Eds. Cary Wintz and Paul Finkelman. New York: Routledge, 2005: 403.

“Ted Shawn” Online Exhibition Catalogue Essay for America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100 Online Exhibit. Dance Heritage Coalition.

In The News

Part 3 of the Summer Stories series: Through this unique program, students are able to dive into art without taking on additional financial challenges.

August 21, 2023

The career advising office looks ahead to the next five years with ambitious goals in mind. 

March 27, 2023

We spoke to the director and chairs of each department, who shared what makes the end-of-year shows and performances by students in art, music, and theatre special.

May 28, 2019

Award from the Congress on Research in Dance honors the best new scholarship in the field

September 3, 2014