Joanna Dee Das

Joanna Dee Das

Assistant Professor of Dance​
PhD, Columbia University
MA, New York University
BA, Columbia College of Columbia University
research interests:
  • Global Dance History & Theory
  • Modern Dance
  • African Diasporic Dance
  • Musical Theater
  • Politics of Performance

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
    CB 1108
    ONE BROOKINGS DR.
    ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Joanna Dee Das is a dancer and scholar who has taught at Barnard College, Stanford University, and Williams College. She is passionate about teaching dance history from a global perspective and linking theory and practice in the classroom. 

Joanna Dee Das is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include dance in the African diaspora, musical theater, and the politics of performance in the twentieth century. She is the author of Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora (Oxford 2017). She also has an essay on African dance at the 1893 World’s Fair forthcoming in The Futures of Dances Studies anthology (Wisconsin), as well as an essay on the musical Contact in the Routledge Companion to the Contemporary American Stage Musical. She has won several fellowships and awards for her research, including the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities at Stanford University and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in Ethnic & Cultural Studies. 

In addition to her scholarship, Joanna is a Certified Instructor of Dunham Technique and is passionate about teaching the history, theory, and practice of dance from a globally-informed perspective. Before and during graduate school, she worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in New York, where she performed at Dance Theater Workshop (NYLA), the Cunningham Studio, WAXWorks, and DanceNow/NYC. She is also committed to public engagement. Since 2015, she has annually co-organized a public symposium on Katherine Dunham and activism. Her love for dance and theatre history has also led to some fun side projects, including co-curating an exhibit on the history of American Ballet Theatre for the Library of Congress and serving as a historical consultant for The Rockettes.