Dr Claudia Brazzale

Dr Claudia Brazzale

Programme Leader

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practices and Dance, co-director of CPAD

Department of Music, Writing & Performance , School of Arts and Creative Industries

Claudia is a scholar, choreographer, performer and teacher originally from Italy. Her performances and interdisciplinary collaborations have been presented at different venues in the US, Italy and the UK (among others, Joyce SoHo, Dixon Place, 92nd Street Y, DIA Centre for the Arts, PS 122 in New York; Festival Fabbrica Europa in Florence and the Capstone Theatre Festival in Liverpool).

She has taught at Liverpool Hope University, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Princeton University (Lewis Centre for the Arts), Rutgers University (Women’s and Gender Studies Department), and the University of California-Los Angeles (World Arts and Cultures Department) and has held positions as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University (IRW) and the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Analysis at London South Bank University. In 2010-11 Claudia was the recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association University of Women to support her research at Rutgers Univ. (2010-11). 

Claudia holds a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master in Performance Studies from New York University. She also is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher.


  • PhD
  • MA
  • FHEA

Areas Of Interest

  • Politics of Contemporary Performance
  • Feminist ethnography
  • Autoethnographic writing/performance 
  • Performative writing
  • Space, place and migration
  • Globalisation, cosmopolitanism and mobility
  • African diasporic dance 
  • Afropeanness
  • Fashion, the body and consumer culture

On This Page


My scholarship and pedagogical approach are deeply influenced by my cross-cultural intellectual and artistic trajectory as well as my continuing dance-theater and somatic practices. My interest in the body and movement has led me to explore diverse forms of dance and performance genres and to study the moving body through different media. My work focuses on the seduction, potentiality, limits and consequences of mobility by placing these studies in a critical interrogation of my own transnational formation as a dancer and scholar. 

I approach the moving body as a productive avenue for rethinking the politics of labouring, globalization and cosmopolitanism, not only in dance training and the performing arts, but also in domestic and entrepreneurial spaces as in my doctoral research on the family firms of North East Italy. Through writing, choreography, and video, my work engages the body in relation to space, place and mobility, whether the mobility of global flows of bodies and traditional dance forms or clothing, fashion and consumer culture.

My scholarly and teaching activities are crucially informed by my performance practice as well as video and documentary experience. I first became interested in filmmaking when I worked with Alan Lomax for his project The Global Juke-Box and learned his Choreometrics system for the cross-cultural analysis of dance through film. Since then, I directed Heritage for Sale (1999), a short documentary on the performance of 'Italian-ness' in New York's Little Italy; created the video-dance Looping Corridors and the video support for the performance The Aging Daughter; provided academic consultancy to Riva Freifeld's documentary America’s West-Europe's Myth (forthcoming); and written reviews for the documentaries Calypso Rose and Virgin Tales.

My current and principal research examines the circulation of West African dance and artists in Italy in relation to growing national concerns over migration.

External roles

External Examiner: MA Choreography - Lincoln University


Afropean Choreographies: The Economy of West African Dance in Italy

The research engages with ideas around space, movement and mobility in relationship to performance. Thinking through the implications of mobility for performance, and more specifically dance and moving bodies, this body of work engages with the mobility paradigm that has emerged in the last 15 years in social sciences.  

The work addresses the research through different formats as a way to translate complex theoretical issues and make different fields and conceptual frameworks converse with each other.




  • Brazzale C. (forthcoming 2022). 'Dancing through Otherness: West African Dance in Italy'. In Oxford Handbook on Black Dance Studies ed. T. DeFrantz. Oxford University Press.

Conference Proceedings

  • Brazzale, C 2014 'The Economy of West African Dance in Italy'. Congress on Research in Dance. Volume Fall 2014, pp. 27-31.

Documentary Film

  • 'Afropean Moves' (May, 2019), a short documenting West African dance and drumming festivals in Italy. 
  • Heritage for Sale (1999), a short exploring Italian heritage culture in New York's Little Italy (presented at conferences and available online).


  • 'Covering Ground: Dancing, Choreographing, Filming and Writing' interview by Tanja Meding for Dance on Camera Journal Sept-Oct 2011.
  • 'Meet Claudia Brazzale:Dancer and Interdisciplinary Academic' interview by Shildneck for the Association American Women University (AAUW), 26 Oct. 2011.
  • Brazzale, C. "Covering Ground: Dancing, Choreographing, Filming and Writing," an interview by Tanja Meding (Dance on Camera Journal Sept-Oct 2011.)

Editorial Work and Reviews

  • World Dance Alliance- European Chapter steering committee
  • Manuscript Reviewer for Routledge Theatre & Performance Studies list, Routledge (2013-2014).
  • Editorial Board Member, Streetnotes, University of California, e-Scholarship Publisher.
  • Guest Editor for Special Issue of Streetnotes "Fashioning the Global City"
  • World Dance Alliance Reviewer
  • Film Reviews "Virgin Tales"; "Calypso Rose: The Lioness of the Jungle" in Women Make Movies Catalogue (2012-13)
  • Dance Under Construction Conference Chair and Co-Organizer (University of California, 2003)

Selected Conference Papers

  • "(Un) Covering Ground: Nomadism and the Neoliberal Production of 'Artistic' Mobility." Dancing Economies Currency, Value and Labour Conference (SDR), Royal Holloway, 20 February 2015.
  • "Towards Critical Afropean Choreographies: Potential, Limits and (In)Capacities in the Circulation of Afro-diasporic Dance Cultures in Italy". World Dance Alliance Global Summit, Angers 7-11 July 2014.
  • "Afropean Choreographies: The Circulation of Afro-Diasporic Dance and Rhythm Cultures in Italy and its Economy of Desire." Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance Conference. Duke University, Feb 7-9 2014.
  • "Choreographies of Afropean-ness: West African Dance and the Italian Geographical Imagination." CORD Joint Annual Meeting Tactical Bodies: The Choreography of Non-Dancing Subjects," University of California, LA. 19-21 April  2013.
  • "Afropean Choreographies: The Economy of African Dance and Drumming in Italy." CORD Joint Annual Meeting, Moving Music, Sounding Dance. Intersections, Disconnections, and Alignments between Dance and Music. Philadelphia, 17-20 November, 2011.
  • "Postmodernity and the Effacement of Gender in the Italian Nordest." Feminist Fantasies Conference, IRW, Rutgers University, May 2011.
  • "Performing the Other: The Choreography of the African Body." International Conference on Language, Space and Otherness in Italy Since 1861, British School, Rome, 24-25 June, 2010.
  • "Private and Public Space in the New Geographies of Production of the Italian Nordest." Urban Culture Conference (MAPACA), Boston, 5-7 November, 2009.
  • "Crafting Cosmopolitanism: The Production of Postmodern Trends in the Global Regionalist Culture of the Italian Nordest." European Association Social Anthropologists Conference. Section: Marginality, Nationalism and Citizenship, Ljubljana, August 26-30, 2008.
  • "The Effacement of Gender in the Global Capitalism of Northeastern Italy" LOVA conference: Ethnographies for Gender and Globalization, UvA, Amsterdam, 3-4 July, 2008.
  • "Meandering Through Northeast Italy's New Local and Global Geographies of Production." First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb), ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal, 11-12 June, 2007.
  • "Choreographing the Cosmopolitan: How Families of Northeast Italy Produce Postmodernity." Urban Culture Conference (MAPACA), New Brunswick, NJ, 4-6 November, 2005.
  • "Choreographing Family-Firms: The Confluence of the Local and the Global in Veneto's Production Model." "In/corp/orations," Dance Under Construction, VII Annual Conference, UCLA, April 8-9, 2005
  • "Family Capitalism: New Local and Global Geographies," Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference, Buffalo, NY, 4-7 November, 2004.
  • "Tracking Desire: How Family Capitalism Produces Global Fashion Consumers." Imagination and the Nation: In, Between and Beyond States, American Cultures and Global Contexts Center Conference, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA, 8 May, 2004.
  • "Heritage For Sale." Talking Culture, Annual California Folklore Society & American Studies Association Conference, Sacramento, CA, 11-13 April, 2003.

Invited Presentations and Performative Lectures

  • (Un)Covering Ground: A Critique of Contemporary Dance Education and its Narratives of Spatial Mobility. Gender and Educational Association Biennial Conference: Compelling Diversities, Educational Intersections: Policy, Practice, Parity. Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University, 23-26 April 2013.
  • "Choreographing Afropean Identities: Intersectionality in the Circulation of African Dance in Italy." Expanding the Feminist Classroom, Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University, Jan.28, 2013.
  • "Falling Into the Spectacle: Berlusconi's Performance of Modernity and Gender." Center for European Studies, Rutgers University, March 2012.
  • "(Un)Covering Grounds: Spatial Discourses in Dance." A performative-video-lecture sponsored by Institute for Research on Women and the Department of Dance, Rutgers University, NJ, 22 May, 2011.
  • "Producing Cosmopolitanism: Postmodernity and the Effacement of Gender in the Italian Nordest." Sponsored by the Italian Studies Program and the Italian Department, Rutgers University, April 2010.
  • "The Politics and the Policing of Tradition: Tourism, Ethnographic Perceptions, and Postcolonial Approaches to Cultural Performance." Università di Milano-Bicocca, May 2008.

External Observer and Commentator

  • Perempuan dan Seni Pertunjukan (Women and Performative Arts) Yogykarta University - Dance & Theater Congress on Women and Performance, Indonesia, September 7-8, 2004.

Conference Moderation and Organisation

  • "Spectacle and Commodification". Dancing Economies, Royal Holloway, Feb. 2015.
  • "Historicizing the Non-Normative Through Sexuality," Feminist Fantasies Conference, IRW, Rutgers University, May 2011.
  • "From Labor to Love: The Politics of Local and Global Consumption," MAPCA Conference, 2004.
  • "Interstitial Choreographies: Music, Bodies, Text," VII Dance Under Construction Conference, UCLA 2005.
  • Chair/Organiser. Dance Under Construction, V Annual University of California Dance Conference, UCLA April 4-5, 2003.


  • "Interpretations in Professional Practices: An Ethnography of the Construction of Languages and Professional Categories in Five Working Contexts," Fele, G. In Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa. Bologna: Il Mulino Press, 2008.
  • "Interaction, Culture, Small Groups a conversation with Gary Allan Fine /Interazione, cultura e piccoli gruppi, una conversazione con G. A. Fine." In Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa. Bologna: Il Mulino Press, 2007.


  • International Postdoctoral Grant, American Association University of Women (AAUW) Chancellor's Fellowship, UCLA


BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice

Study dance urban practice with a dynamic and specialist skilled dance team in a great location that is the cultural hub of East London.

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MA/MFA Contemporary Performance Practices

This course breaks disciplinary borders to explore how performance can help us respond to social, environmental and ecological changes and challenges.

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Module Leader


  • PX7410 Cultures of Performance
  • PX7411 Artistic Leadership
  • PX7529 Research Methods in Creative Practice
  • PX7002 Performance Platform
  • PX7020 Performance Praxis


  • PA5213 Rethinking Choreography: Bodies, Sites and Digital Spaces


  • Choreography
  • Screening Dance, Dance on Screen
  • Site-Specific Contexts
  • Final Project
  • Supervision of PhD students
  • Cultures of Performance
  • Artistic Leadership
  • Research Methods in Creative Practice
  • Performance Platform
  • Performance Praxis
  • Screendance: Design and Composition
  • Hip Hop and the Choreography of Digital Activism
  • Rethinking Choreography: Bodies, Sites and Digital Spaces

Related Professional Activities

  • Academic Consultant, film-producer Riva Freifeld, Riva Productions, NYC 2012-
  • America's West-Europe's Myth, a documentary-in-progress on Europe's longstanding fascination with the mythical American West.
  • Director, video documentaries-in-progress
  • Retracing Steps: Connecting Dancers Now and Then (2011-); Afropean Choreographies (2010-)
  • Research Assistant, Prof. David Rousseve, Dept. World Arts & Culture, UCLA, Fall 2004
  • Editor and Research Assistant, Prof. Mauro Calamandrei, Il Sole 24 Ore, NYC, 1999-2001