Daria Kaufman is a performer/choreographer working at the intersection of dance and neighboring forms, namely theater, intermedia arts, video, and installation. Though formally trained, her work takes an experimental approach, plumbing the edges of genres to deconstruct notions of perception, femininity, and communication. She is interested in the slippery meanings that underlie everyday actions, and the ways in which art and performance can lay these bare. Her pieces demand active, critical viewing while stimulating audiences to re-view their surroundings and assumptions.
Since 2013, Kaufman has created a series of solo works exploring female persona and the tools we use to shape desire. She is a frequent collaborator with StratoFyzika - a Berlin/Lisbon-based interactive, audiovisual performance collective that creates immersive works through a hybrid of new media, dance, and spatial soundscapes. Though currently based in the US, she lived and worked in Lisbon (Portugal) for five years, where she studied with and gained influence from contemporary performance makers such as João Fiadeiro and Jonathan Burrows. She is also an associated artist under Bazen Productions, based in Lisbon.
Kaufman received her early training at Ballet Pacifica in Irvine, California, and went on to study at the Hartt School of Dance at the University of Hartford, Connecticut. She received a B.A. in Dance from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and obtained a MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Mills College in 2008. Since then, her solo and collaborative works have been presented throughout Europe and the San Francisco Bay Area, at venues and festivals including: Curtas de Dança, in scope of Festival Dias de Dança (Porto/PT), B-Seite Festival (Mannheim/DE), UferStudios (Berlin/DE), Festival Atalaia Artes Performativas (Aljustrel/PT), Escola Superior de Dança (Lisbon/PT), Rua das Gaivotas 6, in scope of Encontro Bianual de Artes Performativas - (Re)union 2018 (Lisbon), Biblioteca de Marvila (Lisbon), Atelier Concorde (Lisbon), Zaratan Contemporary Art Gallery (Lisbon), Festival Cidade PreOcupada (Montemor-o-Novo/PT), ODC Theater (SF), Cutting Ball Theater (SF), Joe Goode Annex (SF), NOHspace (SF), SAFEHouse Arts (SF), Mills College (Oakland), The Milkbar (Oakland), and on KQED Spark TV (SF Bay Area). Her premiere dance film Forge screened at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, KILL ALL Festivals (Portland), and was an Official Selection of the 2013 Tiny Dance Film Festival (SF).
In 2015, Kaufman was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award ("Izzie") for Individual Performance. Her work has been supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, GDA Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and numerous individual donors. In addition, her projects have been awarded Artist-in-Residencies throughout Europe and the SF Bay Area, including LakeStudios - DanceTECH AIR sponsored by TroikaTronix (Berlin), Devir Capa (Faro/PT), Cultivamos Cultura (Sao Luis/PT), Atalaia Artes Performativas, Atelier Concorde, ÇATI Dans (Istanbul/TU), Shawl-Anderson Dance Center (Oakland), the Milkbar (Oakland), Subterranean Arthouse (Berkeley), and the Foundry (Berkeley). As a contemporary dancer, she has performed and collaborated with a diverse range of companies and choreographers, including Alma Esperanza Cunningham Movement, Erin Malley, Deborah Karp Dance Projects, Aura Fischbeck Dance, The Thick Rich Ones, Jose Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama (NAKA Dance Theater), Amy Lewis, and John Jasperse.
In Portugal, Kaufman taught at Escola Superior de Dança, Lisbon's leading, professional training institute for contemporary dance. She regularly taught at the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley from 2012-2014. She has given master classes and/or guest lectures at Belas Artes - Universidade de Lisboa, the University of California at Berkeley (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Department), Mills College (Dance Department), Danceworx Mumbai (India), and ÇATI Dans. She also assisted lecturer Jenefer Johnson in three separate dance theory courses at UC Berkeley from 2013-2014. Her writings on dance have been published on Baywatch (a project of the UC Berkeley Dance Studies Working Group), StanceOnDance.com, and the Examiner.