Larissa Velez-Jackson

Undergraduate Discipline


Graduate Program

MFA Theatre Program

A choreographer and hybrid artist who uses improvisation as a main tool for research and creation, focusing on personhood and the dancing/sound-making body, Velez-Jackson employs a deep humor to grant audiences universal access to contemporary art’s critical discourse. Of her 2010, critically-acclaimed show at Danspace Project, The New York Times said, “Ms. Velez-Jackson demonstrates her own formidable presence as she bursts into the space…A choreographer who is not afraid of being (or showing) ugly onstage, she disarms her audiences with humor….” In 2011, she launched a song-and-dance collaboration with her husband, Jon Velez-Jackson, called Yackez, “The World's Most Loveable Musical Duo." Velez-Jackson is also the artistic director of the LVJ Performance Co. Her works have been performed widely in New York City, including at The Bushwick Starr, The Chocolate Factory, Roulette, Museum of Art and Design, Danspace Project, New Museum, American Realness Festival at Abrons Arts Center, and Martin E Segal Theatre. In May 2014, LVJ performed an exciting mobile outdoor work, S.P.E.D. THE BX, with the support of Bronx nonprofit Pepatían and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education. S.P.E.D. THE BX was a durational, site-speciific work that culminated for an audience of 70 children and BRONXNET cable television. Later in 2014, LVJ premiered “Star Crap Method” at Chocolate Factory Theatre. The piece was the culmination of three years of studio and stage research in LVJ’s improvisational performance practices for a cast of four people. The piece also featured lighting designer Kathy Kaufmann, who improvised the lighting design anew for each performance. Talya Epstein, a member of the cast, was nominated for a 2015 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” award for her performance in “Star Crap Method.” SLC, 2020–

Previous Courses


Sensing, Devising, and Performance

Open, Component—Fall

Through the lens of experimental dance-theatre practice, this course proposes theatre as a container of one’s own making for the desires, needs, and realities of the body and the greater community to which it belongs. Centering the politics of care, this course explores improvisation and body-based inquiry including, but not limited to, movement, somatics, vocal sound, song, spoken and written words, and archetypal embodiment. By workshopping these forms, participants will devise their own solo performance practices; create scores, texts or compositions; and work collaboratively and instructively to create for and with each other. Our study will consider how to collect and integrate “material” from outside of the body to further apply interdisciplinarity as a force for creation, all while being mindful of the body’s somatic response to said materials and particular responsibilities that we collectively have when considering appropriation. The capturing of these materials will include two-to-three workshops on experimentation in various technological platforms, collecting found sound and language from our environment (aspects of the course will involve safely going outside of the “studio” during class time), and students creating and sharing their own methodologies for harvesting. Group discussion will make room for critical dialogue around all terms that we use, and the course will include supportive readings to illustrate the precedence for these practices in our contemporary landscape.