Lateesa joy walker

Choreographer • dance educator


I was born and raised in Northern California's Bay Area, and my life’s work as a dancer began over twenty years ago. I have established myself as a sought-after choreographer and dance educator throughout the East and West coasts. My first opportunity for professional dance training and performance was with New Generations Dance Company. After receiving my B.A. in theater and dance from San Diego State University, I continued my training as a fellowship student at the Academy of Performing Arts in San Diego. Further training included Mills College Graduate Studies Department of Dance and NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development - Music & Performing Arts Professions.

The Western Stage offered me my first opportunity as a professional dancer and choreographer and this experience generated a new passion for a career in dance education. My works have been commissioned by Cal State University East Bay, Cypress College, Fullerton College and Long Beach City College, as well as Norwalk High School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Training with “Ms. Joy” has promoted noteworthy success in my students’ careers, such as participating in live network dance competitions, So You Think You Can Dance season 1 and going on to hold the title of America’s Best Dance Crew season 3. As well as attaining feature roles in the Disney TV show, Good Luck Charlie and in the major motion picture, Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked. A few have been signed by MSA and DDO Talent Agencies and have embarked on their own teaching careers as well as formed their own dance companies and studios.

In March 2011 I formed LJ Boogie & Company a dance company consisting of myself, LJ Boogie and dancers that joined me on a performance by performance basis. The company made their first appearance at the 2011 White Wave 11th Anniversary DUMBO Dance Festival in Brooklyn, New York. And the following year we were invited back to perform at White Wave’s 9th Annual Cool New York Dance Festival. Upon departing from my duties as a teaching artist-in-residence for both the Dance Theater of Harlem and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center,  I returned to the West Coast to further pursue my professional development.

Currently I’m ABD (all but dissertation) status in the PhD Performance Studies Graduate Group at UC Davis. My dissertation Signification of The Black Dancing Body: Reinscribing the Historiography of Dance and Revisioning the Discipline and Its Collective Identity seeks to dismantle structures responsible for racializing and subsequently disembodying---depriving of bodily existence and or representation---the Black dance aesthetic in the academy. Since there is currently no established definition and or technique for the Black dance aesthetic, nor has one been loosely constructed and agreed upon by Black American dancers and choreographers, my work seeks to be another step in meeting this need. I offer the following working definition of the Black dance aesthetic---the performativity of an embodied Black experience.

As a Black American dance practitioner, political arts activist, scholar and movement inventor, I continue to explore ways to access agency in my field. In doing so, my works aim to promote non-stereotypical assumptions about the Black dance aesthetic. My current work Physical Beats is a prime example.

My general research focus encompasses the fields of dance education and curriculum development with an emphasis in Black American dance traditions. Ultimately I am interested in how the historiography of dance might reconsider its discipline with consideration for the Black performer in terms of representation and as paradigm for practice/performance and choreographic innovation.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

“Everyone comes to know his/herself by exercising their imaginative freedom to be anything but what other’s reality dictates.”  ~ LJW

Copyright © 2011, La Teesa Joy Walker All rights reserved.