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People  •  Theatre  •  Assistant Professor

Ilya Vidrin

Dr. Ilya Vidrin is a choreographer, dramaturg, and director of The Partnering Lab. Born into a refugee family, Ilya’s work engages with and investigates ethics of physical interaction, including the embodiment of care, trust, cultural competence, consent, and social responsibility. As an Assistant Professor of Creative Practice Research and Core Faculty at the Institute for Experimental Robotics, Ilya draws on concepts and methods in social epistemology, performance philosophy, ethics of care, dance studies, and cognitive psychology. Ilya has been featured as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” (2022), and has been an artist-in-residence at Jacob’s Pillow (’18, ’19, ’23), National Choreographic Center, MIT Media Lab, Harvard ArtLab, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, North Atlantic Ballet, Ballet Des Monies, Schwerin Ballet, the National Parks Service, The Walnut Hill School, Interlochen Arts Academy, Boston Center for the Arts, Le Laboratoire, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the NewMuseum (NYC).

Ilya is an alum of Northeastern, where he pursued undergraduate studies in Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, and Rhetorical Theory. He ​holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology ​from​ Harvard University, and a doctorate in Performing Arts ​from the Centre for Dance Research at​ Coventry University (United Kingdom). His fieldwork involved creative research residencies with The Royal Swedish Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, The Cambrians, Boston Ballet, Chicago Hubbard Street, and the Erick Hawkins Dance Company. Ilya has performed works by dance artists including William Forsythe, ​Sidra Bell, Aszure Barton, Ohad Naharin, Brian Brooks, Jill Johnson, Ali Kenner Brodsky, and Jessi Stegall.

Research/Publications Highlights

Dramaturg for Jessi Stegall’s “The Theremin Vignettes” (2024) at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston).

Vidrin, I. (2024). Keynote Presentation “Design and Improvisation.” Design Research Society Conference.

Vidrin, I. (2024). OtherWise: An Evening of Poetry, Music, and Dance. Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.

Vidrin, I. (2023). Proxies. Pillow Lab @ Jacob’s Pillow.

Vidrin, I. (2023). “Conceptualizing Care in Partnering”. Journal of Performance Research.

Vidrin, I. (2023). “Thresholds of Resistance.” Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

Vidrin, I. (2022). “More or Less”. Residency; New Museum, New York City.

Vidrin, I. (2022). “Considered Care”. Short film collaboration with Boston Ballet artist My’kal Stromile and cinematographer Sue Murad.

Vidrin, I. (2021). “Choreographing the Personal: A Profile of Jessica Roseman”. Boston Art Review.

Vidrin, I. (2021). “OtherWise: A Choreographic Investigation of Intergenerational Trauma Through the Lens of the Soviet Bard Movement”. Dancemakers Lab Residency, Boston Center for the Arts.

Vidrin, I., and Laviers, I. (2021). What Falling Robots Reveal About the Absurdity of Human Trust.  Psyche Magazine.

Vidrin, I. (2021). We Need to Distinguish Trust and Care in Partnering.  Dance Magazine.

Vidrin, I. (2020). “Attunement: Or That Which Cannot Be Measured“. Residency; New Museum, New York City.

Laviers, A., and Vidrin, I. (2020). Can a Robot Do a Trust Fall?: Absurdity as a Component of Human Intelligence and Embodiment. Creative Computing.

Vidrin, I. (2020). Embodied Ethics: The Conditions and Norms of Communication in Partnering. In Thinking Touch, Edited by Malaika Sarco-Thomas. Cambridge Scholars Press.

Pettee, M., Shimmin, C., Duhaime, D., & Vidrin, I. (2019). Beyond Imitation: Generative and Variational Choreography via Machine Learning.  Computational Creativity.

Vidrin, I. (2018). Partnering as Rhetoric. In A world of Muscle, Bone & Organs: Research and Scholarship in Dance. Edited by Hetty Blades, Charlotte Waelde and Simon Ellis. Coventry University, pp 112-131.





  • Ph.D. Coventry University
  • Ed.M. Harvard University
  • B.S. Northeastern University


  • Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”
  • Derek Bok Fellowship (Harvard University)
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council Choreographic Fellowship
  • Live Arts Boston Grantee (Boston Foundation)
  • Byron Fellowship
  • Presidential Grant (Knight Foundation)

Research Focus

  • Performance Studies
  • Dance and Choreographic Practices
  • Care Ethics & Social Epistemology
  • Assistive Robotics
  • Ethics & Artificial Intelligence

Professional Affiliations

  • Signet Society for the Arts at Harvard
  • Rhetoric Society of America
  • Association for Moral Education
  • International Association for Dance and Medicine and Science
  • American Psychological Association
  • MetaLab @ Harvard University

Courses Taught

THTR 1170: Eloquent Presenter

THTR 1150: Dance History and Performance

THTR 1125: Improvisation

THTR 2993: Contemporary Dance Lab
INAM 2000: Ethics in Creativity

INAM 6200: Topics in Communication Strategies 

Honors Studio Embodied Ethics


In the News


Ilya Vidrin awarded Knight Foundation grant

CAMD professor Ilya Vidrin combines his background as a dancer and choreographer with his experience in neuroscience and robotics to help design biofeedback technology and explore meaning through physical movement.

January 8, 2024