David J. Popalisky
Chair / Associate Professor
David Popalisky, an independent choreographer has created over 80 original dances. In
April 2015 Silicon Valley Creates named Popalisky an Artist Laureate acknowledging his
body of choreographic work. Recent dances have been presented in San Francisco,
throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and China. Popalisky teaches
dance history, modern dance and choreography at Santa Clara University.
Former artistic director of DaaPo, based in NYC, Popalisky has choreographed,
performed and taught throughout the United States, in Italy, Korea, Belize and China.
Popalisky’s newest dance Walking with Walt inspired by both his love of Walt
Whitman’s poetry and his SCU class Walk Across California was performed in 2015 in
San Francisco’s Vision Series, the Lineage Dance Festival in Pasadena and the DUMBO
Dance Festival in NYC. In 2012 he presented Return To HJ Junction, which investigated
the social chaos following the Civil War, in San Francisco’s Vision Series, the Pasadena
Dance Festival in Los Angeles and the DUMBO Dance Festival in NYC as well as
performing his solo Swimming Upstream in Beijing, China.
Recent dances include Futurismo (2013), created and performed with theatre colleague
Jeffrey Bracco and When in Doubt Keep the Leg co-choreographed and performed with
Abigail Hosein presented in Monterey, CA for the Monterey Dance Festival in August
2010 and as part of Ahdanco’s February 2010 in Berkeley, CA. In 2009, he was
commissioned to create Sculpted Chaos for the Wing and a Prayer Dance Company in
Reno, NV and presented Go, a trio on the theme of migration in nature for Dancing in the
Park, in San Francisco. Popalisky has also presented choreography for the Brand Library
series (Los Angeles), the West Wave Festival and the Vision Series (San Francisco).
In September 2010 Popalisky presented the hour long Migrations on the SCU campus
exploring the interface between human and natural migration. The audience traversed the
campus led by the songs of the “wanderer,” a cross between a visionary and a bag lady,
as the migrating dancers moved in and out of sight between the three designated dance
sites. Following the SCU premiere lecture demonstration performances ofMigrations
were presented at five South Bay schools followed by free classes for the students and an
excerpt of the dance was presented during SCU’s Sustainability Teach-In in April 2011.
Other full evening works include The Fatherhood Project (2006), a performance
celebration of fathers everywhere [http://webpages.scu.edu/ftp/
from Life (2004), a multi-media performance work that explored the issue of wrongful
California, in Milwaukee, WI and Chicago, IL. and was featured in the September 2005
issue of Dance Magazine.
Popalisky has performed regularly with Tandy Beal and Company, Santa Cruz, most
recently in HereAfterHere (2010 and 2011). Commissioned by the Western Ballet
Company he created Flames of Prayer for the company. He choreographed and
performed for the Belize International Dance Festival in 1998, and in 1999 returned to set
a work on the Belize Junior National Dance Company. Previously, he performed with
Throne Dance Theatre throughout New York, Washington DC, in Korea and Japan. With
the Bauer Dance Ensemble he performed throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
In 2012 and 2014 Popalisky walked with students from San Francisco to Yosemite to
witness California’s diverse human populations and natural environments.