Dr. Ilya Vidrin is a 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 works as a choreographer, dramaturg, and educator. Ilya is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in Theatre and Creative Practice Leadership at Northeastern University. 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 - song writer Alec Hutson, and Argentinian choreographer Valeria Solomonoff. He is a recipient of an Erasmus Fellowship, Derek Bok Fellowship in Media, Visualization, and Literacy (Harvard University), Mass Cultural Council Choreographic Fellowship, 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, and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston).
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 The Royal Swedish Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, The Cambrians, the MIT Media Lab, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and dance artists including William Forsythe, Brian Brooks, and Wendy Whelan.
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 Partnering Lab and the arts-based nonprofit organization, Reciprocity Collaborative.