Dixon | Dahlia Li is a dance artist, writer, theorist, and scholar currently completing a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. They are a cultural historian and ethnographer who studies diaspora, gender, and embodiment between the fields of dance and performance studies, cinema and media studies, and literary studies. Their dissertation, Caress Without Body: Queer Diasporic Dancing and Questions Concerning Technology explores how the staging of the queer diasporic body in 20th and 21st-century dance models modes of engaging what Denise Ferreira Da Silva calls “matter in the raw.” Additional projects include an ensemble dance project investigating technique as it is imbricated between aesthetic disciplining and diasporic social practices and a nonfiction book on their own gender transition and its convergence with intergenerational afterlives of 20th century social revolutions in Asia. They have written on Black Women and Monumentality for The Monument Lab and have a forthcoming chapter on describing dance in a new Routledge companion on Dance and Popular Culture.
They are in the early stages of developing a long-term serial performance/film project centered on Anna May Wong's lost television show "The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong" (1951) and run the "Dance and the Poetics" embodied laboratory with support from the Kelly Writer's House. They work as Jaamil Olawale Kosoko's pedagogical dramaturg and book editor for his forthcoming American Chameleon: The Living Room Installments text project.
Most recently they have performed in and/or created performances for: The Transgressive Body (ponder0sa, Germany 2019), Time Passes (Sharon Hayes & Brooke O'Hara, Philadelphia, 2019), Secret Journey: Rove (Pat Catterson & Yoshiko Chuma, New York, 2019), Delshakes: Much ado about nothing (Bi Jean Ngo, Delaware, 2018), OpenFlr (Elisa Zuppini, Florence, 2016), The Master's Festival Goldsmiths University (London, 2016), Festival Danse Directe Butoh (Normandy, 2015), 'Essercitazione Ritmiche' in the Venice Biennale (Claudia Castellucci, Venice, 2015), are part of the 2021 emergeNYC cohort through the Brooklyn Arts Exchange.
In the Fall 2021 they are an adjunct instructor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where they will co-teach a course on Global Humanitarianism. From 2019-2020 they taught in University of the Arts' Dance MFA and were on the curatorial team for The School for Temporary Liveness Vol 2.0. They co-coordinated Penn English's Gen/Sex working group with Ava Kim and Melanie Abeygunwardana from 2018-2019 and co-coordinated the "Queer Urgencies Conference" and again and co-coordinated again from 2019-2020 with Kirsten Lee and Jacob Meyers. They are currently a curatorial associate for the Clouds Gathering Performance Festival in New Lebanon, New York as well as a Graduate Student Representative for the CinemArts Special Interest Group through SCMS (The Society for Cinema and Media Studies).
They graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2014 with certificates from the Center for African American Studies as well as the Center for American Studies. From 2014-2016 they were a Marshall Scholar in London where they received an MA in Writing in the Modern Age from Queen Mary, University of London and a practice-based MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London.