Wesleyan portrait of Douglas  Elkins

Douglas Elkins

Associate Professor of the Practice in Dance


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BFA SUNY Purchase
MFA Hollins College

Douglas Elkins

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hip Hop Dance (Locking, House, Voguing, Popping, Boogie, Breaking, Footwork, Threading, New Style)
  • Contemporary Dance Technique
  • Contact Improvisation and Contemporary Partnering Practices
  • Composition/Choreography (Dance, Site Specific, Theater Staging)
  • Improvisation
  • Dance Film Direction, Intermedia, and Intertextual Projects
  • Capoeira
  • Microbatics/Floor Swimming (Floorwork, Acrobatics, Flow Transitions, Parkour, Inversion Skills, Hybrid)
  • Theater (Stage Combat, Theatrical and Opera Staging, New Vaudeville, Commedia dell’arte, Dramaturgy)
  • Dance History (Intro Level)
  • Artistic Direction, Company Management, International Touring

Doug Elkins, MFA (Dance Educator/Dancer/Choreographer/Artistic Director), is a two-time New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award-winning choreographer and a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Creative Arts Fellow. A BFA graduate of SUNY Purchase, Elkins received his MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ADF in 2007. 

Elkins began his dance career as a Breakdance, House and Hip Hop dancer, touring the world with New York Dance Express and The Magnificent Force, among others, and then making his name as a dancer/performer in New York's experimental contemporary dance scene with several companies before creating, The Doug Elkins Dance Company (1988-2003) and then Doug Elkins Choreography, Etc. (2005-Present). Elkins has created over 50+ works in repertory and several dance films. His companies and projects have performed and toured nationally and internationally in venues including The Joyce Theatre, New York City Center, Lincoln Center, Baryshnikov Art Center, New York Live Arts, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, The American Dance Festival, Santa Barbara Dance Works, The Ringling International Arts Festival, The Bumbershoot Festival, White Bird Festival, Sadler's Welles, Queen Elizabeth Hall (UK), Dublin Arts Festival (IR), Berlin Tanz Festival (GR), Tanz Wochen, Impuls Tanz (AUS), Montpellier Dance Festival, Avignon Festival, Theatre Jean Vilar, Tanzwochen Vienna, Kobe Arts Festival (JPN), Festival Londrina (BRZL). 

Elkins is the recipient of significant choreographic commissions, fellowships, and awards, including the NEA, National Performance Network, Jerome Foundation, Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation, Dance Magazine Foundation, Metropolitan Life/American Dance Festival, Hartford Foundation, Arts International, The Paul Taylor Fellowship, The Greenwall Foundation, and The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. In 1994, he received a Brandeis University Creative Arts Medal, sharing the stage with author Philip Roth and photographer Nan Goldin. In 2006, he was honored in New York City by the Martha Hill Award for Career Achievement; in 2010, he was honored in Boston with an Elliot Norton Award for Choreography (for Doug Elkins & Friends’ Fräulein Maria, a complete deconstruction of The Sound of Music). 

Commissioned to choreograph, teach, and lecture throughout the US and internationally, Elkins has created original works for companies including Israel’s prestigious Batsheva Dance Company, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, The Flying Karamazov Brothers (New Vaudeville/ Music/ Cirque), Vertigo Dance (IS), Maggio Danza (Contemporary Ballet Florence, Italy), The Graz Oper Ballet (AUS), The Pennsylvania Ballet, London's Union Dance Company (where he served as their Associate Choreographer in residence) and CanDoCo Dance (UK).

As an educator, Elkins has taught, lectured, and choreographed for numerous universities, festivals, studios, outreach, and youth programs, including NYU, Rutgers, North Carolina School of the Arts, Harvard Summer Dance, State University of Londrina (BR), Trinity College (IE), and University of Dundee (SCT), American Dance Festival (NC), Bates Dance Festival (ME), Jacob’s Pillow (MA), Center for the Arts (FL), Gibney Dance Center (NYC), Dance New Amsterdam (NYC), 92Y Harkness Dance Center (NYC), Pineapple Dance (UK), Chateauvallon Festival (FRAN), Trafo House (HU). His tenure as a PK-12 certified dance educator at The Beacon School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is the subject of Where the Dance Is, a short film by Marta Renzi. In addition, Elkins has provided numerous professional development workshops for teachers, including intensives for the NYC Department of Education, Gibney Dance Center, the Harkness Dance Center, and World Masters of China Arts Educators Program (CN), etc. Most recently, he was a Visiting Guest Teacher, Choreographer, Lecturer at, The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where he also continued his outreach work teaching and collaborating with several Palestinian Youth groups. He is currently a Dance MFA degree thesis advisor for Hollins University.

Throughout his career, Elkins has served as a fight director, movement dramaturge, and choreographer for many theatrical and inter-media productions and projects. Some of his theater and opera works include collaborations with Joanne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, Jonathan Larson, Justin Levine, Matt Stine, Robert Woodruff, Pavel Dubrusky, Anne Geenen, Annie Hamburger, Molly Smith, Craig Lucas, David Henry Hwang, Daniel Sullivan, Barbara Karger and Michael Preston, Gadi Roll, Anne Kauffman, Arin Arbus and, Janos Szasz, The American Repertory Theatre, New York's Theatre for a New Audience, Mabou Mines, Seattle Repertory, The Guthrie Theatre, The Cleveland Playhouse, Theater Rotterdam Schouwburg (NL), Sadler's Welles/Peacock Theatre (UK), Royal Theatre Carre Theatre (NL), In The Wings Productions (BE), Theatre du Jean Vilar (FR).

Ekins joined the dance faculty of Wesleyan University as a Visiting Associate Professor in Autumn 2020. His upbringing as an adopted, mixed-race individual was seeped in Talmudic inquiry and legal, social justice inquiry and has served as an impetus for his investigative inquiries. His research interests are grounded in social constructivism and advocacy-liberatory worldviews. Thus, his research is committed to examining issues of individual, communal, and inter-textual corporeal histories based on the intersectional paradoxes of prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization (i.e., racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, body-mind dualism, etc.). His research practices are rooted in multi-modal, enactive, and grounded approaches at the nexus of Practice as Research, Participatory Research, and Narrative Inquiry.

His upcoming projects include a new collaboration with (UK/Tanzanian) Choreographer Bawren Tavaziva and Educator-Movement Artist Emory Moore, Director of EM Arts, where Elkins also serves as a program advisor. Later this Spring, he will be teaching Master Classes for students of The Boston Dance Conservatory at the Berklee School and The Dance Complex and collaborations with colleagues Dr. Hari Krishnan and Javier Ninja, Prof. Iddi Saaka, and Prof. Chelsie McPhilimy. Elkins is currently developing a new project with Japanese choreographer Anna Kuroda and her company, Murasaki Penguin, for 2025 to be premiered in Japan and touring in the U.S. 


Public Domain Links:


Doug Elkins Choreography, Etc.



Bessie Award Winning Choreographer Doug Elkins Collaborates with Mason Gross Dancers



DANCEworks 2011 Meet Doug Elkins Dancers



DANCEWORKS Santa Barbara – Doug Elkins ‘Mo(or)town’ Day 1



DANCEworks Santa Barbara “Mo(or)town Redux” Day 21



ADF Inside Insights: Doug Elkins and Friends



Doug Elkins and Friends “Fraulein Marie” Jacobs Pillow



Doug Elkins Interview – American Dance Institute



Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive Archives

Video excerpts from Fräulein Maria, including Elkins solo excerpt and artist biography.

Searchable Listing


New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Research Collection

  • 114 Records/Archival Materials
  • Films, video cassettes, DVDs, photographs, articles, essays, and choreography performance reviews
  • Full listing available searchable     


Additional Links Available Upon Request

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

By arrangement.


Fall 2024
DANC 111 - 02
Introduction to Dance

DANC 214 - 01
Hip Hop

DANC 249 - 01
Making Dances I: Solo Work