Lionel Popkin is a choreographer/performer who sees the world as hybridized over homogenized, gloriously confusing instead of needing fusion, and who consistently values bodily experience as the primary way we orient to our world. During the decade from 2004-2013 he made works looking at the cross-cultural conversation between his post-modern training and the imagery and iconography of the Indian subcontinent that surrounded his youth. His recent work has focused on the more intimate familial world, questioning conceptions of home from the point of view of the itinerant, the domesticated and the mobilized.
He tours and performs his projects throughout the United States, where he is based, and abroad. He has had his choreography presented nationally and internationally at numerous venues including DanspaceProject Abrons Arts Center and Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, The Getty Museum, REDCAT, and Highways in Los Angeles, the Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series, On the Boards in Seattle, the Wilma Theater, The Painted Bride and Philadelphia Dance Projects in Philadelphia, ODC in San Francisco, Sushi Performance in San Diego, Dance Place in DC, The Place Theater in London, and the Guongdong Modern Dance Festival in Guongzhou China.
From 1999–2000 Lionel was a Choreographer-In-Residence at the Susan Hess Studio in Philadelphia, PA and he has been commissioned by San Diego's Lower Left Performance Collective, the Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company, Carolyn Hall, and Nejla Yatkin. As a dancer, Lionel has performed throughout the US and Europe in the companies of Trisha Brown (2000–2003), Terry Creach (1996–2000), and Stephanie Skura (1993–1996).
He has received grants from the National Performance Network's Creation Fund and Forth Fund, the National Dance Project Touring Subsidy, the Center for Cultural Innovation,
the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs, the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship, the Puffin Foundation, the Danspace Project's Commissioning Initiative through the Jerome Foundation, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New York State Music Fund, and the Durfee Foundation. He has served on the faculty of Bates College, London's Laban Centre, Sarah Lawrence College, Temple University and the University of Maryland.
Lionel Popkin is the Chair of the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA,
and Professor of Choreography and Performance. He is a certified teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique.