Dr. Ilya Vidrin is a choreographer, dramaturg, and research-practitioner situated at the nexus of performing arts, ethics, and interactive media. Born into a refugee family, Ilya grew up navigating the nuances of cultural expectations, language barriers, and diverging political ideologies. This experience of code-switching fuels his research and artistic practice to interrogate ethical dimensions of human interaction, including the embodiment of empathy, cultural competence, and social responsibility. Based in Boston, he is on faculty in Theatre and Creative Practice Leadership at Northeastern University, and directs the Partnering Lab. His teaching philosophy centers on ethics of care.
In recent years, Ilya has collaborated with a diverse range of creative professionals across media, including award-winning Japanese Butoh dancers Mutsumi Neiro, designer Çaca Yvaire, violinist Daniel Kurganov, singer-songwriter Alec Hutson, and New York-based choreographers Brian Brooks, Raja Feather Kelly, & Valeria Solomonoff. He is a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Choreographic Fellowship, Live Arts Boston Grant, Erasmus Fellowship, Derek Bok Fellowship in Media, Visualization, and Literacy (Harvard University), and the Byron Fellowship in Sustainable Leadership. He has been artist-in-residence at AREA Gallery, Jacob's Pillow, the National Parks Service, Harvard ArtLab, The Walnut Hill School, Interlochen Arts Academy, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the New Museum (NYC).
Ilya began his formal dance training at the Boston Ballet School at the age of nine, and has invested time in the study of music (piano&clarinet), as well as Latin/Ballroom, Argentinian Tango, Horton Modern Technique, and contact improvisation. He holds teaching certifications in experiential anatomy based on proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation with Irene Dowd, Mat Pilates, and Restorative Yoga. He has worked with members of the The Royal Swedish Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, The Cambrians, the MIT Media Lab, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Lorraine Chapman, Jim Viera, Vibeke Toft, and Jill Johnson.
Alongside his artistic practice, Ilya pursued undergraduate studies in Cognitive Neuroscience and Rhetorical Theory at Northeastern University. He completed three years of intensive clinical research training in the Neurology Department at Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Center, where he focused on non-pharmacological therapies for cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. He went on to graduate school at Harvard University, earning a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Human Development and Psychology. At Harvard, he worked on experimental research projects investigating cognitive models of creative practice and empathy, including biofeedback technology, Therapeutically Active Digital Medicine, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and Somatic Enrichment. Focusing deeper on ethics in creative practice, Ilya completed a practice-based PhD funded by the Centre for Dance Research in the United Kingdom under Sarah Whatley, Scott Delahunta, and Sara Reed. He is an Associate of the Signet Society for the Arts at Harvard, and a professional member of the Rhetoric Society of America and Association for Moral Education, among others. Ilya is the founder and director of the Reciprocity Collaborative.