Cynthia Oliver

Professor, Dance

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Personal profile

Creative/Performing Interests

I am interested in secrets, in the spaces between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. Intrigued by women’s worlds and the ways we negotiate complicated lives, I investigate these interests physically through movement that explores gesture and the transitory spaces between departure and arrival. My movement is vigorous, sometimes quirky, yet always fully embodied. I use voice and sound in experimental and guttural ways. In my work, choreography and text are intricately intertwined. One cannot exist without the expression of the other. They are a poetic mix of physicality and spoken word, and together they complete a picture.

My aesthetic voice is one located between borders, between and across social, political, economic, gendered, and national boundaries of blackness, of Caribbean-ness, American and African-ness, of womanhood, and the complicated navigation of the human condition. My work plays with the negotiation of the world in which we live from multiple perspectives. Topics I have explored range from the metaphysics of Afro-Caribbean belief and reality, race and the language of fashion, death and mourning, to madness, womanhood, transnationalism and Caribbean mythology. The Caribbean figures greatly in what I do, as it is often the source of my inspiration. It is the place where I became a woman and an artist. It is a place of fascinating contradictions and diversity.

Because of the diversity of people, ideas, and issues in my life and work, I am committed to interdisciplinarity. I am interested in total theatre and inclusivity. I work with a diverse group of artists. They are part of the rich world in which I live and are what make my work rich. I believe the job of art is to express points of view that cause one to pause, to consider and reconsider one’s position/s, and especially to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. I believe art, in its clearest expression, demonstrates a difference and simultaneous unity of experience. I want to get dirty, acknowledge demons, hail the angels, tell secrets, question and celebrate conflicted, complicated, glorious lives fully lived.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Dance Arts & Humanities
Dancing Arts & Humanities
Artist Arts & Humanities
Virago Arts & Humanities
Calypso Arts & Humanities
Masculinity Arts & Humanities
Music Arts & Humanities
Dance Theatre Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2000 2018

They Say it is Heaven

Oliver, C., Mar 5 2018

Research output: Other contributionCreative work


Weaver, D. D., Allen, J. & Oliver, C., 2017

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Epiphanic Moments: Dancing Politics

Oliver, C., Mar 2017, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics. Kowal, R. J., Siegmund, G. & Martin, R. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 99-116

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Laurie Carlos’ Breath Dance

Oliver, C., 2017, 2 p. Girls Like US.

Research output: Other contributionCreative work


Virago-Man Dem: World Premiere

Oliver, C., Oliveiro, V., Cyrus, D., Gonzalez, J., Jones, N. N. & Whitson, NJ., Oct 2017

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

World Premiere
African Americans
Latin Language

Activities 2007 2017

  • 4 Oral presentation
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Editorial activity
  • 1 Invited talk

Stay Late Discussion: Her History - Her Present - Her Future

Cynthia Oliver (Speaker), Leslie Cuyjet (Speaker), Jaamil Olawale Kosoko (Speaker)
Oct 24 2014

Activity: Talk typesOral presentation

On the Creative Impulse and the Artist

Cynthia Oliver (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

Calypso: An Agent of Caribbean Diasporic Communion

Cynthia Oliver (Invited speaker)
Mar 25 2011

Activity: Talk typesOral presentation

Women and Performance (Journal)

Cynthia Oliver (Advisory board member)
2007 → …

Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

Come Early Conversation: Sequencing Non-Linear Narratives

Nia Love (Speaker), Cynthia Oliver (Speaker)
Oct 23 2014

Activity: Talk typesOral presentation


Virago-Man Dem entangles through love

Cynthia Oliver


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Cynthia Oliver on Virago-Man Dem

Cynthia Oliver


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Cynthia Oliver in conversation with Leslie Cuyjet

Cynthia Oliver & Leslie Cuyjet


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Together in the Fierce Tender – notes from October ’17

Cynthia Oliver


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Honors & Recognition

Washington, D.C.