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

Aubrey Ellis
Operations and Production Manager, Undergraduate Production/ Yale Baroque Opera Project/ Yale Dance Lab
Aubrey is originally from New York, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Theater from SUNY Oneonta. Before earning her MFA in Technical Direction from the University of Connecticut, Aubrey started her career making props. She has served as the Props Master for Capital Repertory Theater, Props Master and Scenic Charge for The Fisher Center of Performing Arts at Bard College and the Bard Summerscape Festival, Adjunct Professor for Stagecraft and Props Design at the University of Connecticut, and most recently as the Shop Foreman and Master Carpenter for Arts Production at Wesleyan University.
Emily Coates
Artistic Director
Emily Coates has performed internationally with New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp and Yvonne Rainer. Highlights include duets with Baryshnikov in works by Erick Hawkins, Mark Morris, and Karole Armitage; principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins; and performing in Rainer’s work for over twenty years. Her own choreographic projects weave together fragments of dance histories and other cultural relics of modernism, with special attention to highlighting overlooked or dismissed forms of knowledge. Her work has been commissioned and presented by the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Guggenheim Works & Process, Wadsworth Atheneum, Quick Center for the Arts, Hopkins Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, Performa Biennial (NYT Best Dance of 2019 with Yvonne Rainer) and Danspace Project (NYT Critic’s Pick 2017, Fall Dance to Watch 2018), among others, with funding and fellowships from the Sloan Foundation, Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts (with Kaatsbaan Cultural Park). She is Professor in the Practice and Director of Dance Studies in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at Yale University, where she created the dance studies program. She holds a secondary appointment in the Directing Program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. With physicist Sarah Demers, she co-authored Physics and Dance (Yale University Press, 2019). She majored in English at Yale ‘06 and holds an MA ‘11 and MPhil ‘17 in American Studies. She has collaborated with Lacina Coulibaly since 2007. For more: emilycoates.art
Lacina Coulibaly
Artistic Associate
Lacina Coulibaly was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. His professional dance career, deeply rooted in traditional African dances, later merged with contemporary influences to create a uniquely African choreographic expression. In 1995, Lacina created the Cie Kongo Bâ Teria with Souleymane Badolo and Ousseni Sako. One of their Vin Nem (2001) toured the world and won international awards. Vin Nem toured more than 30 cities in Europe in 2002 and throughout the United States in 2004 on the Movement (R)Evolution tour. Coulibaly is a featured artist in the documentary Movement (R)evolution Africa, on the emergent experimental African dance scene. He has toured in Africa, Europe, and the US collaborated and worked with Nora Chipuamire, Kota Yamakazi, Emily Coates, Daria Fain, Wendy Jehlen, Salia ni Seydou, Faso Danse Theatre, and Urban Bush Women. He has taught on faculty and worked with universities including Brown University, Yale University, University of Florida, Cornell University, New School, UCLA, Sarah Lawrence College, Barnard College. Coulibaly’s unique blend of traditional and modern influences results in dynamic intellectual and artistic processes that intrigue and inspire young artists and audiences. Lacina’s choreography often provokes questions about the (dis)integration of the traditional and the contemporary. He is currently on the faculty at Yale University and the director of Compagnie Hakilisigi.
Tadea Martin-Gonzalez
Associate Producer
Tadea Martin-Gonzalez is a Senior American Studies focusing her studies on dance, education and Latinx studies. She has been involved with the Yale Dance Lab for several projects, including Rite of Spring, performed February 2023 at the Schwarzmann center. She’s particularly interested in movement and dance as a community building medium, as well as a way to connect to heritage and culture. Originally, she is from Northampton, Massachusetts.