Meet Our Staff

Get to Know Dr Nalina Wait

Job Title
Dance Lecturer
Contact Details
Doctor of Philosophy (Dance), University of New South Wales
Bachelor of Arts (Hons 1), University of New South Wales
Bachelor of Arts (Dance), West Australian Academy of Performing Arts

Staff Bio

Nalina Wait has worked as a professional dance artist for more than 20 years, performing nationally and internationally in works by Sue Healey (2002-present), Hans Van Den Broeck (SOIT), Sydney Performance Group, Danceworks (Sandra Parker), Rosalind Crisp, Nikki Haywood, Lizzie Thomson, Joan Jonas, and Marina Abramović. She has also taught contemporary dance technique, composition, and improvisation in most of Sydney’s pre-professional dance institutions including: UWS, NAISDA, SDC (pre-professional year and public classes), Ausdance, IDC, extensively at UNSW, and specialised HSC dance workshops based on a work she performed in, Sue Healey’s Fine Line (2003), which is included in the HSC dance syllabus.

Teaching Interests

Contemporary dance technique, composition, performance, improvisation, and somatics.

Research Interests

Improvisation, composition, performance, and somatic-based dance theory, with a particular interest in somatic intelligence, affect theory, and continental philosophy.


Nalina has recently published a monograph titled Improvised Dance: (In) Corporeal Knowledges. This book elucidates both the corporeal and incorporeal aspects improvised dance performance by offering an alternative narrative of its history and current practice centred on the epistemology of (in)corporeal knowledges, rather than on the more visible performative outcomes of improvisation as an art form. It is a timely offering that unpacks the major discoveries that have precipitated the development of improvisational expertise. It does this by mobilizing the languages and conceptual frameworks of theories of affect, embodied cognition, somatics, and dance.


Wait, N. (2023). Improvised dance: (In) corporeal knowledges. Routledge. ISBN 9781032438283
Wait, N. (2019). “Embodied consciousness.” In V. Midgelow (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of improvisation in dance. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199397013
Wait, N. & Brannigan, E. (2018). “(Non) competitive body states: Corporeal freedom and innovation in contemporary dance.” In S. Dodds (Ed.),
The Oxford handbook of dance and competition. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190639112
Wait, N. (2015). Working with the breath. Critical Dialogues (5), 16-17.
Wait, N. (2015). Authentic movement: Seated. Critical Dialogues (5), 32-33.
Wait, N. (2015). Dance Massive: An independent Sydney perspective. Critical Dialogues (4) 28-31.
Wait, N. (2014). Listening with my skin, bones, organs, eyes. Real Time Magazine (123), 24.
Interviewed in Baxter, V. (2013). Performing in 13 Rooms. Real Time Magazine (115), 8.

Conference Presentations

2022 Intermedial Composition Network, UNSW
2017 Pragmatics : Practice : Praxis, UNSW
2015 La Danse Comme Expérience in Recherche Dans Les Arts EHESS, Paris. Gesture and the Alternative Science of Contemporary Dance, at ASDA Sydney University
2014 In Conversation panel member at Improvisational Practices Symposium, Critical Path Past, Present and Future: Shifting Boundaries FASS Postgraduate Conference, UNSW
2013 Cultures of Change SAM Postgraduate Symposium, UNSW
National choreographic residencies at Bundanon Trust (2016), Critical Path (2008, 2007, 2005), Ausdance (2006), Omeo Dance Studio (1998-2005).
International choreographic residencies at Monty in Antwerp, Le Biennale Nationale de Danse Val-de-Marne and the CND in Paris, Tanzfabric in Berlin (2001).
2014-2017 STGA Postgraduate Top Up Scholarship in Dance
2013-2017 Australian Postgraduate Award
2003 Australia Council Young and Emerging Arts Grant

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