Mara Mandradjieff


Office: 115 Rich Building



MaraMandradjieffMara Mandradjieff began her ballet training at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, where she performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Serenade, Valse Fantaisie, and Garland Waltz. Her summers were spent training at various programs such as the Chautauqua Institute, Miami City Ballet, and four summers at The School of American Ballet. Mara went on to dance professionally with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, Columbus Dance Theatre, Texture Contemporary Ballet, and The Georgia Ballet, where she performed principal roles in The Nutcracker and George Balanchine's Who Cares.

Turning towards academics, Mara received her BA at the University of Pittsburgh in English literature with a minor in dance and a certificate in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. She later finished her MEd at the University of Pittsburgh with a certification to teach secondary English education. Once graduated, Mara remained at Pitt as a choreographer and part-time faculty member, in addition to her involvement with Point Park University.

Mara is currently a PhD candidate in dance at Texas Woman’s University, where her research focuses on posthumanism, gender studies, and ballet. She has called Emory University home since 2012, while working part-time at Kennesaw State University as well. Through these universities, Mara has choreographed contemporary ballets and performance art pieces. She has presented research internationally in Portugal, England, and Switzerland with publications in Text & Performance Quarterly, Dance Chronicle, and a collaborative piece in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science.

While teaching and researching, Mara also runs her 501(c)(3) nonprofit Lume Foundation, an organization that uses dance to engage and inspire individuals at healthcare facilities. Over the years, Lume has performed for children’s hospitals and senior centers; it strives to promote the joyfulness of dance. For more information please see:

Teaching Statement

I believe teaching is a great responsibility. You are not only educating individuals—presenting them with the necessary tools, so that they may grow on their own—but you have the opportunity to positively affect another person’s life. Therefore, whether it is in the dance studio or a traditional classroom setting, my instructional approaches center on the students’ individual needs. I consider their various learning styles, personalities, and future goals in constructing inclusive and adaptable lessons. Most importantly, I strive to foster a positive learning environment, where students feel supported while attempting new levels of intellectual, artistic, and physical rigor.



Mara's research interests include gender and sexuality studies, posthumanism, object oriented ontology, performance studies, ballet culture and history, eating disorders and body dysmorphia, dance pedagogy, body and disability studies, and twentieth-century continental philosophy.


“Ballerina-Pointe Shoe Becoming, Fluid Multiplicities, and The Red Shoes”: 

“Maguy Marin’s Posthuman Cinderella: Thingness, Grotesquerie, and Cyborgs”: 


Mara Mandradjieff     Mara Mandradjieff