Nita Little is both a touring artist and a theoretician, working within the academy. She engages in an investigation of the dynamic aspects of embodied states through performance, pedagogy, and theoretical inquiry. A touring dance artist specializing in improvisational forms, she introduces ideas of embodiment as the ecological articulation of presence, the physicality of directed attention, and the flexibility of self-sensing that makes moving important to knowing different forms of intelligence. Her work impacts students and audiences on a number of continents. A PhD in Performance Studies (2014) from the University of California, Davis, her dissertation (Articulating Presence: Creative Actions of Embodied Attention in Contemporary Dance) further develops the theory and practice of this material. She directs Nita Little Dance Research Laboratory, which is an improvisational ensemble based in San Francisco that investigates the materials of her theoretical writings. In the summers of 2013 and 2014 she investigated and produced a project for able and disabled dancers - UrbanFERAL was choreographed for the Avignon Festival OFF. A street performance, the work was commissioned, produced and danced for and by members of Dreamtime Danza Senza Limiti, a mixed-ability dance company based in Milan. Company director, Paola Banone, is collaborative in developing UrbanFERAL as an ongoing multimedia dance performance that works across disciplines as well as across abilities.
She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Florida, 2015-16.
Her essay, " Restructuring the self-sensing: Attention training in Contact Improvisation"was published in was published in The Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices,Vol 6, no2 (Intellect, Ltd 2014) pp. 247-260.
Keep on the lookout for a forthcoming publication (2016) of a collection of edited essays by Lexington Books that includes Dr. Little's " Enminding Performance: Dancing with a Horse." The book is titled Sentient Performatives of Embodiment: Thinking alongside the Human.The text will also contain essays with critical theorists from diverse fields who are significant to Dr. Little's work: Lynette Hunter (ed), Joe Dumit, Erin Manning, and Brian Massumi.
Nita Little, Ph.D. choreographs, performs, teaches and writes about improvisational dance and theories of embodiment in action. She participated with Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith and others in the explorations that became Contact Improvisation in 1972 and has been significant in its emergence. Her work on the embodied mind and the "meaning" of attention dates back to the early 80s when she initiated a curriculum, The Mind in Motion. This work explores the range of experiential states of the embodied mind and reveals principles that define Contact Improvisation as well as other movement forms. She collaborated in numerous performing companies including those that introduced Contact Improvisation throughout the United States. Her performance practice is a mix of both formal and improvisational choreography that utilizes scores. Nita has received funding and support through the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the NEA/Dance USA National College Choreography Initiative. Her San Francisco based ensemble company, Nita Little Dance Research Laboratory investigates the resonant webs of awareness derived from movement scores that direct and modulate attention as the bases for compositional structures. Over the years Nita has been both faculty and guest artist at numerous colleges and universities including New York University, California Institute for the Arts, Texas Christian University, Temple University, Tufts University, Scripps College and UC Santa Barbara. Nita teaches and performs regularly at national and international dance festivals. Most recently she was at the Kiev Festival, ImPulsTanz, Spazio Nu, and the ContactFestival Freiburg. Previous tours have taken her to The São Paulo Meeting, The Rio Festival (Rio de Janeiro), and The Israeli Contact Improvisation Festival, The Side Step Festival (Helsinki), Kontakt Budapest International Improvisation Festival, the Zip Festival (Italy), the Seattle Festival of Alternative Dance and Improvisation and the West Coast Contact Improvisation Festival, Berkeley California. Nita has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at The University of California, Davis. Her dissertation weaves theories with practices of embodied attention in post-Judson dance improvisation with a focus on an activated 'presencing'. It emphasizes the instability of boundary definitions with respect to experience, selfhood, and the production of spacetimes. She is currently on the faculty of the University of Florida as a Visiting Assistant Professor.