David Roussève


Guggenheim fellow and Alpert Award-winning choreographer, writer, director, and performer David Roussève is a professor of choreography in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he has taught since 1996. His dance/theater company REALITY has performed throughout the UK, Europe, South America, and the U.S. His work frequently engages the talents of UCLA alumni and combines the accessibility, grit, and passion of African American traditional and pop cultures with the challenging compositional structures of avant-garde dance and theater to explore socially-charged, immensely relevant, and often spiritual themes. Roussève has provided important leadership for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, serving as associate dean, academic affairs (2014–15), acting dean (2015), and interim dean (2015–17).


Experimental, interdisciplinary dance theater, filmmaking, and directing.

Creative Practice & Research

  • Recent courses include: Advanced Choreography; Senior Projects in Dance; Theories and Methods in Dance Compositions III: Locations; and Special Topics in Choreography: Text and Movement.
  • Choreographic works include 14 full evening works including three commissions for the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Halfway to Dawn, his most recent work which premiered at REDCAT in LA prior to national touring that included REALITY’s return to the Next Wave Festival, explores the life and music of jazz composer Billy Strayhorn. He choreographed Kurt Weil’s Lost in the Stars (2017) for director Anne Bogart, SITI company, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; as well as Enough? (2017), a work that asks whether dance can address social movements like Black Lives Matter for the San Francisco duet company RAWdance. Enough? was also performed by Lula Washington Dance Theater at the Ford Theater.
  • Awards include a “Bessie” (NY Dance and Performance Award), three LA Horton Awards, the CalArts/ Alpert Award in Dance, seven NEA Fellowships, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, two Irvine Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Creative Capital Fellowship.
  • Roussève has created three short films, the most recent screening at festivals in 11 countries and receiving 10 awards including 4 for “Best Film”.
  • Current Research includes the writing of two feature length screenplays (based on live works) and the touring of Halfway to Dawn.