Lionel Popkin

Lionel Popkin

Professor, Associate Dean Academic Affairs


Lionel Popkin joined the faculty of the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance in 2006. His work explores the cross-cultural conversation between his post-modern dance training and the imagery and iconography of the Indian subcontinent that surrounded his youth and, most recently, on the intimate familial world, questioning conceptions of home from the point of view of the itinerant, the domesticated, and the mobilized. His research and teaching focus on choreography, improvisation, hybridity, multidisciplinarity, and cultural and artistic lineage.


Choreography, improvisation, hybridity, multidisciplinarity, and cultural and artistic lineage.

Creative Practice & Research

  • Recent courses include: Advance Choreography; Theories and Methods in Dance Composition I: Languages; Theories and Methods in Dance Composition III: Locations; Skinner Releasing Technique; and Senior Projects in Dance.
  • Popkin’s choreography has been presented at venues including Danspace Project Abrons Arts Center, Dance Theater Workshop, The Getty, REDCAT, Jacob’s Pillow, Philadelphia Dance Projects, The Place Theater in London, and the Guongdong Modern Dance Festival in China.
  • Recent projects include The Oedipus/Antigone Project, an evening-length project loosely based on the Sophocles trilogy premiering at the Getty Villa in March 2019, and Inflatable Trio, an evening-length trio with original score by Tom Lopez that premiered at the Skirball Cultural Center in 2017.
  • Current research includes work as the Artist in Residence at the 18th Street Arts Center; a multi-channel dance film on The Oedipus/Antigone Project shot on location between Thebes and Colonus, Greece; and the formation of a research group investigating representational models within the Indian diaspora.