TAPS announces appointment of Julia Rhoads

julia rhoads

The Committee on Theater and Performance Studies is delighted to announce the appointment of Julia Rhoads as Director of Dance and Assistant Senior Instructional Professor.

Julia is the Founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions, where she devised more than 35 original dance-theatre works, among them such notable successes as Rink Life (2019), Rooming House (2017), SuperStrip (2016), and The Better Half (2011). Under her twenty-year leadership, the company received commissions from The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, Art on the MART, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Julia has choreographed for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, among others. A recognized hub for collaboration and innovation, Lucky Plush earned significant support from the National Endowment of the Arts and from the MacArthur Foundation— it remains the only dance company to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Julia has also been a formative and indispensable presence at TAPS. Since her appointment as a lecturer in 2012, she helped to found the Dance Council and developed an innovative dance and movement curriculum that now spans 11 courses, including Core offerings like Moving and Thinking/Thinking and Moving that debuted this quarter. At the height of the pandemic, when theaters and classrooms were shuttered, she launched Virtual Dance Lab, an online platform for dance instruction that reached over 5,500 registrations from 22 countries and 40 states. With the resumption of face-to-face learning, Julia orchestrated a workshop on campus with world-renowned choreographer Akram Khan and helped arrange a university residency for Bintou Dembelé.

TAPS is very fortunate to be led by a Director of Dance who is a consummate artist, an ingenious teacher, and a mainspring of collaboration and experimentation. We invite you to congratulate Julia Rhoads and celebrate our program's good fortune.