Wesleyan portrait of Katja P. Kolcio

Katja P. Kolcio

Associate Professor of Dance

159 Cross Street, 009

Chair, Dance

159 Cross Street,

Associate Professor, Environmental Studies

284 High Street, 202

Associate Professor, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies


MA University of Georgia Athens
MA Ohio State University
PHD Ohio State University

Katja P. Kolcio

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 work is based on the somatic premise that we think, create and enact change through our creative physical engagement in the world.
As an example, Kolcio describes team-teaching a biology and choreography class here: “Anytime you are learning or teaching or thinking you are making creative choices. Often we don’t realize that. In this class, and in dance, that becomes an explicit part of the process….you are making choices about how to think, how to prioritize, how to arrange ….it played into how we thought about the science.”
Kolcio is author of the book Moveable Pillars (2010 Wesleyan University Press), which traces the path by which dance entered the university context, radically bridging body/mind in scholarly inquiry. Movable Pillars demonstrates that dance is an intellectual practice and a creative practice that enacts social change.
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). She was commissioned in 2018 by the National Guard in Ukraine to develop a program in somatic practices for soldiers. Her current research further develops the language and understanding of somatic methods for addressing trauma, specifically in a context of social changes taking place in Ukraine, In other words, Kolcio is asking ‘what is the role of creative somatic practices in social change?’

Katja Kolcio is Associate Professor of Dance, and core faculty member of the College of the Environment 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.

Kolcio’s publications include Movable Pillars: Organizing Dance (2010, Wesleyan University Press), which traces the development of dance as scholarly inquiry over the course of the 20th century; Somatics and Political Change: The Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine (2016, Contact Quarterly); 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.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Spring 2019 Tuesday/Thursday 10:30-11:45AM,

and by appt. (Dance Department 160 Cross Street). Please call/email ahead.


Spring 2020
DANC 111 - 01
Introduction to Dance

DANC 300 - 01
Contemporary Technique II/III

DANC 341 - 01
Dance Teaching Workshop