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Kara Wilkes

Published August 17, 2022
Visiting Assistant Professor
School of Dance



Areas of Responsibility

Ballet (I, II, III)Dance theory/historyChoreographer EOD

A Milwaukee native, Kara Wilkes is an educator, choreographer, dancer, visual artist, and filmmaker. Her expertise in classical and contemporary ballet is extensive and supported by her twenty-year career performing with Milwaukee Ballet Company, Ballet Victor Ullate, Charlotte Ballet and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Kara has danced leading roles, domestically and internationally, in works by Alonzo King, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and others. She has been named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine and one of “12 Standout Performances of 2015” by Pointe magazine; in 2016, she performed in the TEDWomen Conference in San Francisco. Kara has also served as Ballet Master for LINES and was recently on faculty for the LINES Ballet Training Program. She has taught all levels of dance, including master classes for Hollins University, Duke University, University of Iowa, UC Santa Barbara, University of Georgia, Western Michigan University and abroad in Dublin, Ireland. In 2019, Kara earned her MFA in Dance from Hollins University and has since served on dance faculties at Wake Forest University, Mills College, and Santa Clara University.Kara is currently a Toulmin Choreography Fellow through NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts and National Sawdust; her creative process embraces experimentation and collaboration. She most recently choreographed works for Traverse City Dance Project (NuVo Choreography Fellow), Texas Christian University, and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Kara’s MFA thesis and subsequent choreographic research investigates inherited trauma, addiction, and healing; it also focuses heavily on the Digital Age’s impacts on society and on issues surrounding climate change. Kara is a movie enthusiast whose creations are often cinematic, offering non-linear narratives; viewers are exposed to various artistic mediums and theatrical elements, such as props, facial expressions, poetry/speech, singing, and gesture-inspired movement.


St. Mary’s College of CA, LEAP Program (2012-14)Master of Fine Arts in Dance, Hollins University (2019)

Scholarly & Creative Works

NYU Toulmin Choreography Fellow, Center for Ballet and the Arts & National Sawdust (2022-23)New Voices Choreography Fellow, Traverse City Dance Project (2022 & 2021)Hollins University, MFA in Dance, thesis solo: “passing the salt” (2019)

Teaching Areas

Ballet (I, II, III)Dance theory/history

Research Areas

Embodied generational trauma with a focus on addictionClimate change; the effects of consumer culture on our planetThe Digital Age’s effects on the dance world and societyDance documentary/filmmaking