Joan  Gavaler

Professor of Dance

Office: Adair Hall 401
Email: [[jsgava]]
Phone: (757) 221-2785
Webpage: {{}}

Areas of Specialization

Dance Choreography and Performance, Theatre Movement Direction and Choreography, Physical Theatre, Contact Improvisation, Alexander Technique


In addition to teaching at William & Mary, Joan Gavaler is the Co-Artistic Director of Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre. The company creates innovative performances blending dance, theatre, and acrobatics to tell stories. Their work embodies the qualities of lightness (Aura), curiosity (Curi), and strength (Atlas) to find enchantment in ordinary situations presented in unusual ways.  Since 2014 Aura CuriAtlas has toured two shows, DREAM LOGIC and A Life With No Limits, to communities large and small in the Midwest, East Coast, and Southern United States. They will premiere a new show at the Kimball Theatre in March 2019.

In the dance field, Professor Gavaler has choreographed over 65 original works and been a driving force behind four professional companies. She relishes collaborative discovery and has worked with poets, visual artists, composers, musicians, actors, directors, acrobats, and physicists on dance and theatre projects.  She has been invited by over 70 organizations to present and teach in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including presentations on the Alexander Technique in Lugano, Switzerland, a dance residency at Beijing Normal University, performances for American Dance Guild showcases in New York City, and movement consulting for the Virginia Shakespeare Festival.  She has received multiple project grants for Gavaler Danceworks (1990-1996) and Aura CuriAtlas (2013-present), most recently from Virginia Commission for the Arts, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, York County Arts Commission, and Junior Woman's Club of Williamsburg.

Her professional expertise has been sought for external program and faculty reviews, performance adjudication, and board membership in professional organizations. She served as Head of Dance from 2000-2009, as Department Chair for Theatre, Speech, and Dance from 2009-2014, and as Director of Dance from 2015-2017.

Current Courses

Dance Composition I and II, Introduction to Physical Theatre, Alexander Technique, Modern I - IV, Ballet

Student Advising

Dance Minors, Interdisciplinary Studies Majors, Performance Ensemble, William & Mary Theatre