Kennesaw State interim provost showcases ‘disruptive collaborations’ in choreography

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 30, 2021

The creative process in interdisciplinary research collaborations through the lens of dance will be the subject of Kennesaw State University’s last Research with Relevance – Deans’ Showcase for this fall. The featured guest is Ivan Pulinkala, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and professor of dance in the College of the Arts (COTA)


The Office of Research is hosting the hybrid event at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 in the Katherine Scott Rehearsal Hall of the Bailey Performance Center on the Kennesaw Campus. Guests who prefer to attend virtually can view the live video stream on KSUTV

Traditional choreography is led by the choreographic artist serving as the primary content creator. Yet Pulinkala’s body of scholarship has been guided through a technique of working with interdisciplinary collaborators in a process he terms disruptive collaborations. 

“My process intentionally defies the norms of traditional choreographic inquiry, to engage the collaboration of other artists and disciplinary experts in a process sequencing that changes the outcome and the choreographic product,” said Pulinkala.

Pulinkala will showcase three recent choreographic works that demonstrate this technique, including “Metamorphosis,” celebrating the opening of the Dance Theater on the Marietta Campus in 2017, and “Moon Dust,” a collaboration between the College of the Arts and the College of Computing and Software Engineering last year. 

Pulinkala’s most recent disruptive collaboration involves a new work called “Forest” that was filmed this past summer at the University, featuring the interplay between 12 robotic arms and KSU alumni dancers. Gil Weinberg, professor and founding director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, had invited Pulinkala to join the project and choreograph the piece. The robotic arms were developed in the School of Music at Georgia Tech. 

“This National Science Foundation-funded pilot project was intended to be additive to the robotic techniques Dr. Weinberg had developed to create musical choices and augment the capacities of individuals through highly functional robotic prosthetics,” explained Pulinkala. “I was immediately drawn to the project, as it perfectly fit my interests in pursuing disruptive collaborations.” 

Originally from New Delhi, India, Pulinkala has worked professionally in the field of dance and musical theater both in India and the U.S. His work has been commissioned by professional and collegiate dance companies such as the Israel Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Alliance Theatre, Washington University at St. Louis, Shanghai Normal University, the University of South Carolina, among many others. 

Pulinkala joined Kennesaw State University in 2005 and founded KSU’s Department of Dance, a program he developed into the largest collegiate dance program in Georgia. He also was instrumental in the development of the Dance Theater on the Marietta Campus, Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance. He served as the department’s first chair until he became the COTA dean in 2019 and then took on the interim provost role in 2021. 

Click here for more information about the upcoming Research with Relevance program.

– Joëlle Walls

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