Judy Van Zile

With degrees (from Indiana University, University of Colorado, and University of California, Los Angeles) and teaching experience in dance, theatre, and speech therapy, Judy Van Zile began teaching at the University of Hawai‘i in 1971.  A certified Labanotation teacher, Fellow of the International Council for Kinetography Laban, and member of the UH Center for Korean Studies Faculty, she has been largely responsible for developing the dance ethnology curriculum, and presently coordinates this area.

Judy’s primary research interests are Asian dance, particularly the dances of Korea;  movement observation and analysis using Labanotation;  Japanese bon dancing in Hawai‘i;  change in traditional dance forms;  and issues relating to identity.  She is author of an annotated bibliography on dance in India and a monograph on Japanese  bon dancing in Hawai‘i;  editor of a collection of readings on dance in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific;  and author of articles in books and serials on the analysis of movement in bharatanatyam of South India, tourism and changes in bon dancing in Hawai‘i, non-Polynesian dance in Hawai‘i, and various aspects of dance in Korea.

A frequently sought-after speaker, Judy has presented keynote addresses at international conferences in Finland and Hong Kong, and was commissioned to write materials for a correspondence course on dance at Deakin University in Australia, by the Smithsonian Institution to provide Labanotation scores for traditional Hawaiian dances included in a major publication on hula, and by the Asia Society to write a chapter on dance for a book on Korea.  She travels widely to participate in professional activities, and for three years served as a consultant for a dance program in Yunnan, China.  From 1989 to 1993 Judy served as editor of the Congress on Research in Dance’s semiannual publication Dance Research Journal.  She has been an elected and invited member of the board of directors of both national and international organizations.

Recipient of numerous travel and research grants from local, national, and international sources, a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, and two-time nominee for an Excellence in Teaching Award, in 1997 Judy was designated one of UH’s Ninety Fabulous Faculty.

A recognized authority on Korean dance, her recently-published book Perspectives on Korean Dance received a 2003 Outstanding Publication award from the Congress on Research in Dance.

Judy’s primary UH teaching responsibilities are in the areas of dance ethnology, Labanotation, and dance research.


Recent publications include the following:


“Interpreting the Historical Record:  Using Images of Korean Dance for Understanding the Past,” in Theresa Jill Buckland, editor. Dancing from Past to Present: Nation, Culture, Identities.  Wisconsin:  University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 153-174.


“Tools of the Trade:  We Don’t Need Hammers and Saws,” Global and Local:  Dance in Performance.  Malaysia:  Cultural Centre University of Malaya & Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Malaysia, pp. 369-378.


“Lin Hwai-min:  Beyond Cloud Gate Dance Theatre,” Global and Local:  Dance in Performance.  Malaysia:  Cultural Centre University of Malaya & Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Malaysia, pp. 189-205.  (Edited interview with Lin Hwai-min.)


“Dance in Diasporic Communities.  Issues and Implications,” Animated (Foundation for Community Dance, Leicester, England).  (Spring), pp.  30-33.


“Hahoe Masked Dance:  But Is It Dance?,” Andong Hakyôn’gu [Andong Studies], No. 2, pp. 79-110.  (Also in Korean, pp. 53-78.)


Perspectives on Korean Dance.  Connecticut:  Wesleyan University Press.