Katja Kolcio is Director of the Allbritton Center at Wesleyan University. She is also Associate Professor of Dance, and core faculty member of the College of the Environment, Environmental Studies and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Programs at Wesleyan University. She holds a Ph.D. in Somatics from The Ohio State University and Masters degrees in Dance and Political Science from The Ohio State University and the University of Georgia.
Drawing on a background in politics, international relations and sciences, dance scholar Katja Kolcio specializes in the role of physical engagement and creativity in education, research and social change. Her research focuses attention on the way in which creative physical practices promote individual agency, social connectedness, and psycho-social wellness.
Kolcio’s current work directly considers the role of the creative body/mind as an agent of social change. She writes about her research on the revolution in Ukraine in Somatics and Political Change: The Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine (2016 Contact Quarterly) and in Ukraine, A Utopian Mindset (2014 Huffington Post). Kolcio has lead workshops in somatic resilience in collaboration with the Ukrainian NGO Development Foundation for civic organizations involved in war relief efforts in Ukraine, since 2015. They were commissioned in 2018 to develop a program in somatic resiliency for soldiers, working closely with the National Guard, Ukrainian Armed Forces, and veterans. She presented her research The Force of Breath together with her research partners from Ukraine in a forum titled Heroes of Liberty, hosted by the US Senate Ukraine Caucus and Congressional Ukrainian Caucuses in the US Capital Building, March 2020. Her current research, Vitality Project Donbass 2020, in collaboration with the Development Foundation and funded by the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, further develops the language, understanding, and dissemination methods of somatic methods for generating resilience and creative agency during trauma, crisis and social change.
Kolcio is author of the book Moveable Pillars (2010 Wesleyan University Press), which traces the path by which dance entered the university context, radically bringing the body/mind into scholarly inquiry beginning in the 1920’s. Movable Pillars demonstrates that dance is an intellectually vital methodological paradigm that engenders critical analysis and action through creative physical practice.
In addition to Movable Pillars, Kolcio’s publications include Moving Self, Moving Earth: Studying the Environment and Ecology Through Movement and Dance (2010, Accelerated Motion, electronic edition, Wesleyan University Press); Faking It: The Necessary Blind Spots of Understanding (2009, Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies), A Somatic Engagement of Technology (2005, International Journal for Performance Art and Digital Media); Branching Out: Oral Histories of the Founding of Six National Dance Organizations (2000, American Dance Guild, nominated for the De La Torre Bueno Prize); and book reviews in e-misferica, Dance Research Journal and the New England Theater Journal.
Kolcio creates choreographic events to engender social and political impact. Katja has received choreographic fellowships from the New England Dance Fund, New York State Council of the Arts, and Meet the Composer. Choreography has been presented at Judson Church, The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center – Artists for World Peace Festival, New York University Black Box Theater, St. Marks Church, The Ukrainian Museum of New York, The Bridge for Dance, La Mama Experimental Theatre, the Ukrainian Institute of America, various community gardens throughout NYC, the Honchar Museum (Kyiv, Ukraine), Kyiv Mohyla Academy (Kyiv, Ukraine), Wesleyan, Duke, Antioch, Ohio State, Wittenberg, SUNY Brockport and other colleges around the United States.