Alexandra Kolb joined the School of Media and Performing Arts in 2012 as Reader in Dance. She was previously Head of Dance at the University of Otago in New Zealand and led the academic studies programme at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. She trained professionally in dance in Germany, notably at John Neumeier’s Academy of the Hamburg Ballet. She has published widely in the fields of dance and politics, gender, and globalisation in modern and contemporary works. Her published writings include two books: Performing Femininity: Dance and Literature in German Modernism (2009) and the collection Dance and Politics (2011).

Alexandra has been awarded numerous grants by UK, US, New Zealand and German funding bodies to support her research; most recently a Fellowship from the Harry Ransom Centre of the University of Texas at Austin. She is very active on the global conference circuit and has guest-lectured abroad. She occasionally choreographs pieces, framing her research within performance contexts.

Alexandra was the convenor of an international conference on interdisciplinarity in 2010, and organised a symposium at Middlesex entitled New Visions on Dance for early-career researchers in 2013. She is involved in ArtsCross/DanceCross, a major international collaboration project between the Beijing Dance Academy, Middlesex University’s ResCen research centre, and the Taipei National University of the Arts.


  • Ph.D. Cambridge University (2004)
  • M Phil (distinction) Cambridge University (2000)
  • MA (first class) University of Cologne (1999)

Alexandra teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She has supervised and examined a range of postgraduate projects, including two current Ph.D. dissertations. She welcomes enquiries from potential doctoral candidates to work on topics related to her areas of expertise.

Courses taught:

  • DAN1100 - Learning in Context (Year 1)
  • DAN2013 - Dance Histories and Philosophies (Year 2)
  • DAN3800 - Independent Project (Year 3)
  • Workshops for PhD candidates: Research Methodologies and Practices

Current Ph.D. students:

  • Stina Sommerlade: Identity, Knowledge and Ownership: Theatre Dance in the UK Creative Economy
  • Noyale Colin: Choreographic collaborations: from the collective to the post-consensual

Her research interests are in connections between dance, politics and gender in modern and contemporary works.

Selected publications

Kolb, A. (ed.) 2011. Dance and Politics. Oxford: Peter Lang.
See further information at

Kolb, A. 2009. Performing Femininity. Dance and Literature in German Modernism. Oxford: Peter Lang.
See further information at

Journal Special Issue

Kolb, A. (editor) 2011. Brolga: An Australian Journal about Dance. Special issue on dance and interdisciplinarity 35/2, December.

Journal Articles

Kolb, A. Forthcoming, 2013. Current Trends in Contemporary Choreography: A Political Critique, Dance Research Journal 45(3), December issue (11,000 words)

Kolb, A. 2013. The Migration and Globalisation of Schuhplattler Dance: A Sociological Analysis. Cultural Sociology 7/1, pp. 39-55.

Kolb, A. & Kalogeropoulou, S. 2012. In Defence of Ballet: Women, Agency and the Philosophy of Pleasure. Dance Research 30/2, pp. 107-125.

Briggs, H., & Kolb, A. & Miyahara, M. 2012. Able as Anything. Integrated Dance Performance in New Zealand. Brolga: An Australian Journal about Dance 37, available online at

Kolb, A. 2012. Overt and Covert Politics in Contemporary Choreography. Jahrbuch Tanzforschung 22, pp. 34-44.

Kolb, A. 2011. On the Politics of Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Brolga: An Australian Journal about Dance 35/2, pp. 27-36.

Kolb, A. 2010. Dying for the Cause. Choreographing the Myths of Ulrike Meinhof and Wolfgang Grams. The International Journal of the Arts in Society 5/3, pp. 275-284.

Kolb, A. 2009. Theatricalising Terrorism. Johann Kresnik’s Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction. About Performance 9, pp. 127-148.

Kolb, A. 2009. Mata Hari's Dance in the Context of Femininity and Exoticism (in English and Portuguese). Mandrágora 15, pp. 58-67 (English text), pp. 68-79 (Portuguese translation).

Kolb, A. 2009. Nijinsky's Images of Homosexuality: Three Case Studies. Journal of European Studies 39/2, pp. 147-171.

Kolb, A. 2008. "The never-ending trembling and vomiting of the soul". Carl Sternheim's Critique of the Modern Dance Movement, Discourses in Dance 4/2, pp. 59-71.

Kolb, A. 2007: "So watt war noch nie da!!!" Valeska Gert's Performances in the Context of Weimar Culture, The European Legacy 12/3, pp. 293-309.

Kolb, A. 2006: Dance and Political Conflict: Three Comparative Case Studies, The International Journal of the Arts in Society 1/2, pp. 17-21.

Kolb, A. 2002. Tanzkultur paradox. Carl Sternheim's 'Die Schule von Uznach' (1926) im Kontext des zeitgenössischen Tanzdiskurses (The Paradox of Modern Dance Culture. Carl Sternheim's 'Die Schule von Uznach', 1926), Jahrbuch Tanzforschung 12 (Annals of Dance Research), pp. 203-215.

Book Chapters

Kolb, A. 2011. Terror Without End? Choreographing the Red Army Faction and Weather Underground. In: A. Kolb (ed.) Dance and Politics. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 89-115.

Kolb, A. 2011. Cross-Currents of Dance and Politics: An Introduction. In: A. Kolb (ed.) Dance and Politics. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 1-35.

Kresnik, J. and A. Kolb 2011. “Theatre has to become political again….”: Interview with Johann Kresnik. In: Dance and Politics. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 67-87.

Kolb, A. 2008. Goodbye GDR! German Reunification in Johann Kresnik's Wendewut. In: D. Varney (ed.) Theatre in the Berlin Republic. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 267-285.

Subject entries in reference works

Kolb, A. (forthcoming 2014). "Ausdruckstanz", "Hexentanz", "Mary Wigman" and "Schuhplattler". In: A. Hartmann & M. Woitas (eds.) Tanzlexikon. Laaber-Verlag.

Kolb, A. (forthcoming). "Grete Wiesenthal". In: S. Manning (dance editor) / Stephen Ross (general editor) Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.

Conference Proceedings

Kolb, A. 2011. Contemporary Dance and the Politics of Form. Proceedings of the SDHS conference 2011, pp. 85-92.

Kolb, A. 2009. Spatial Interaction – Italian Futurism and Bauhaus. Dancing across the Divides of Art and Technology. Proceedings of the SEAM Symposium 2009 Spatial Phrases, pp. 111-121.

Kolb, A. 2009. Mata Hari’s Images of Femininity. Proceedings of the CORD Conference on Global Feminisms, 2008.

Kolb, A. 2008. The Globalisation of Schuhplattler. CORD Conference Proceedings 2007, pp. 137-143.

Creative Works and Miscellaneous Commissioned Articles

One Day in ’44, ch: Alexandra Kolb. October 8 & 9. Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, 2010.

Balanchinade, ch: Alexandra Kolb. October 8 & 9. Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, 2010.

Kolb, A. 2010. Double dance mania at the University of Otago: Symposium on Dancing Across the Disciplines, 28-30 June 2010 & National Tertiary Dance Festival, 30 June-3 July 2010. Danz Quarterly 21, pp. 14-15.

Kolb, A. 2009. On the Death of Pina Bausch. Danz Quarterly 17, p. 28.

2013 - Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, to carry out archival research on “Mary Wigman: The Antimodernist Modernist” (working title) in early 2014.

2010 - University of Otago Research Grant to conduct research and interviews on the politics of form in dance, leading to the publication of several international journal articles

2009 - School of Physical Education Symposium Grant to organise an international conference on interdisciplinarity; keynote speakers: Profs. Susan Foster, Ananya Chatterjea and Charles Royal

2006/7/9 - School of Physical Education Research Grants

2007 - University of Otago Research Grant for a two-year project on dance and politics leading to the anthology of the same title

1999-2003 - M.Phil. and Ph.D. research funded by Kurt Hahn Trust; Cambridge European Trust; St. John’s College, Cambridge, and Allen, Meek and Read Scholarship

2001 - Tiarks travel and research grant to New York and Baltimore to attend SDHS conference and conduct research at the New York Public Library

2001 - DAAD research grant

1998 - Erasmus scholarship to study at Trinity College, Dublin (not taken up)

1998 - DAAD travel grant

Alexandra serves on the executive board of the SDR (Society for Dance Research) and is a member of the SDHS (Society of Dance History Scholars) and Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung. She is also a Fellow of the Cambridge European Society.

She is a reviewer for international dance and arts journals including Dance Research and Dance Research Journal. During her time in Australasia she was an invited dance critic for Theatreview and conducted pre-show talks for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.