Natalie Zervou

Assistant Professor

129 Lathrop Hall

1050 University Ave

Madison, WI 53706-1304

Zervou, Natalie

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Natalie Zervou is a dance studies scholar and ethnographer whose work focuses on the intersection between dance practices and the socio-political sphere. She is an affiliate at the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program at UW Madison. Her manuscript Choreographing the Greek Crisis: Performing National Identity in the Age of Austerity explores the ways that dancing bodies negotiate national identity construction in the fluctuating landscape of the (2009-2019) socio-political and economic crisis in Greece. Her essays have been published in Dance Research Journal, TDR (The Drama Review), Research in Drama Education, Dancer Citizen, and CHOROS International Dance Journal. Her research has been presented internationally at conferences in Dance Studies, Modern Greek Studies, European Studies, and Arts. At UW Madison Zervou is teaching courses in Dance Studies, Dance History, and Writing.


  • PhD Critical Dance Studies, University of California, Department of Dance, 2015
  • MA Dance, University of Surrey, Department of Dance, Film, and Theatre, 2009
  • Ptychion Political Science and Public Administration, National Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Economics and Political Sciences, 2008
  • Professional Diploma Dance and Dance Pedagogy, Higher Professional Dance School Morianova, 2007

Select Publications

  • Zervou, N. (2020). Walking Backwards: Choreographing the Greek Crisis. In Susan Manning, Rebecca Schneider, Janice Ross (Ed.), The Futures of Dance Studies Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Zervou, N. (2019). Emerging Frameworks for Engaging Precarity and ‘Otherness’ in Greek Contemporary Dance Performances. DRJ (Dance Research Journal), 51(1) Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Zervou, N., & Quinlan, M. (2017). Moving in Solidarity: Thinking through the Physicality of Recent protests. Dancer Citizen Journal Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Zervou, N. (2017). Fragments of the European Refugee Crisis: Performing Displacement and the Re-Shaping of Greek Identity.. TDR (The Drama Review), 234, 32-48. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Zervou, N. (2017). Rethinking Fragile Landscapes: Performance and the Aesthetics of Precarity on Athenian Stages During the Greek Crisis. RiDE (Research in Drama Education), 22(1), 104-115. Online Publication/Abstract.

Select Presentations

  • Zervou, N. (2019, August). Activating the Commons: The Rise of Rural Festivals and Site- Specific Projects in Greece during the Financial Crisis. Paper presented at the DSA (Dance Studies Association) Annual Conference, Chicago.
  • Zervou, N. (2018, July). Improvisation as a Tool for Cross-Cultural Dialogue: Engaging Refugee Experiences Through Dance. presented at the Dance Days Chania Festival, Crete, Greece.
  • Zervou, N. (2018, July). Χορογραφώντας την Ελληνική Ταυτότητα στον 20ο αιώνα: Οριενταλισμός και Ρωμιοσύνη στην εξέλιξη του παραδοσιακού και σύγχρονου χορού στην Ελλάδα. (Choreographing Greek Identity in the 20th century: Orientalism and Romiosini in the development of traditional and contemporary dance in Greece). Lecture presented at the , Athens, Greece.
  • Zervou, N. (2018, March). Dance, Refuge, and Shifting Landscapes of Europe. Paper presented at the CES annual conference, Chicago, IL, USA.
  • Zervou, N. (2017, November). The Greek Body in Crisis: Negotiating National Identity and History through Contemporary Dance. Paper presented at the MGSA biannual conference, Galloway, NJ, USA.
  • Zervou, N. (2017, October). Local Confines and Digital Freedom: The International Circulations of Refugee Bodies. Paper presented at the DSA annual conference, USA.
  • Zervou, N. (2016, November). Questioning the Colonialist Power Dynamics of Immigrant Performances in Greece. Paper presented at the CORD/SDHS annual conference, USA.
  • Zervou, N. (2015, September). From Public Protests to Staging the Public: Performing Advocacy in Greece During the Crisis. Paper presented at the ASAP/7: Arts and the Public, Greenville, SC, USA.
  • Zervou, N. (2015, June). The State of Dance Studies in Greece. Paper presented at the CORD/SDHS (Congress of Research in Dance / Society of Dance History Scholars) annual conference, Athens, Greece.

Select Awards and Honors

  • First Book Program, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin Madison, 2020
  • EI (Education Innovation) Small Grant, University of Wisconsin Madison, 2017
  • Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research, Andrew F. Mellon Foundation. Harvard University, 2017
  • Mellon Dance Studies Summer Seminar Fellow, Dance Studies in/and the Humanities, Stanford University, 2014
  • Janet Lansdale Award for the most outstanding MA Dissertation, Department of Dance, Film and Theatre – University of Surrey, UK, 2009