Our Mission

The Yale Dance Lab promotes community, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and activism through dance at Yale and beyond. Fostering partnerships with schools and departments across the university, the Dance Lab emphasizes creative practice as a unique form of research. Even as the discipline, ritual, and repetition inherent in the practice of dance forms the Lab’s core knowledge, Dance Lab members expand and connect their work to some of the most powerful social and political ideas of our time.
Central to the Dance Lab’s activities is its spring semester project, which involves the licensing of seminal choreography and/or commissioning of new choreography. Additional events range from studio-based workshops and professional intensives to talks, screenings, class visits, and various other experiments, explorations, and collaborations launched throughout the year.

Our Team

Emily Coates
Faculty Director
Emily Coates is a dancer, choreographer, and writer who has performed internationally with New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp Dance, and Yvonne Rainer and Group. Her choreographic work has been commissioned and presented by Danspace Project, Performa, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Ballet Memphis, Wadsworth Atheneum, University of Chicago, and Yale Art Gallery. She directs the dance studies concentration at Yale University, where she is associate professor in Theater and Performance Studies with a secondary appointment in the Directing department at Yale School of Drama. She is co-author, with particle physicist Sarah Demers, of the book Physics and Dance (Yale University Press 2019).
Jacob Santos
Associate Producer
Jacob Santos is an Afro-Latinx artistic producer who is passionate about using theatre as a tool for social justice. He is a MFA candidate in Theatre Management at Yale School of Drama. Jacob is the founder of the Crescent Players of Color, a coalition formed between current students and alumni of color at SCSU. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, and a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre. He was the Newman’s Own Foundation Managing Director Fellow at the Westport Country Playhouse. Jacob is also the Interim ASPIRE Leadership Program Coordinator for Region 1 of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Natalie King
Associate Producer
Natalie King is a MFA candidate in Theatre Management at Yale School of Drama. She most recently held the positions of Institutional Giving Manager at Theatre Development Fund (TDF) and Development Director for New York Deaf Theatre. Previously, Natalie worked as a dancer/performer, stage manager, and sound engineer with NYC-based companies TheaterWorks USA, Hudson Vagabond Puppets, Frances Black Projects, and Stairwell Theater as well as performing with choreographers Pat Graney, Nusha Martenyuk, and Richard Dickinson, among others. Natalie received her BA in Dance from Oberlin College.
Madelyn Blaney
Student Coordinator
Madelyn Blaney is a senior and an English major at Yale. She has been involved with Yale Dance Lab throughout her entire time as an undergraduate. As a dance student and performer, she is interested in the history and practice of dance, as well as the cultural and social implications of movement and performance. She is from Montclair, New Jersey.
Mariel Pettee
Student Coordinator
Mariel Pettee is a 6th-year PhD candidate in Physics at Yale University specializing in high-energy particle physics and the Higgs boson particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. As a choreographer, director, and performer, she also uses theater and dance work to research audience activation, duration, power, self-documentation, authenticity, fear, and playfulness. Since 2017, she has led a team of researchers working to develop machine learning techniques to generate novel choreography based on 3D motion capture of her own movements. She grew up in Dallas, TX.