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Cora Cliburn (b. 1996) is a professional dance artist interested in environmental sustainability and movement as a way of knowing. In 2019, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, earning a BA with honors in Environmental Anthropology and minors in East Asian Studies and Theater and Performance Studies. Named one of DANCE Magazine’s “25 to Watch” (2016), she has worked with ODC/Dance Company, Robert Moses’ Kin, PARA.MAR Dance Theatre, Post:ballet, Lil Buck and Jon Boogz (Blindspotting/Starz Network), GERALDCASELDANCE, Sharp & Fine, Liv Schaffer, and ARCOS Dance, and has been a guest artist with NDI New Mexico and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Cora is currently working as a freelance artist in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
A recipient of the Santa Fe Mayor’s Melissa Engstrom Youth Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts (2013), Cora received her early dance training at Moving People Dance under the direction of Layla Amis and Ronn Stewart, and with merit scholarships at Alonzo King LINES Ballet and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance (Director: Summer Lee Rhatigan). After graduating high school, she deferred her spot at Stanford, spending one year studying with the LINES Ballet Training Program (Director Karah Abiog), while pursuing independent Chinese language studies. During her gap year, she began dancing for Post:ballet, performing in the company's home season in San Francisco and on tour at Jacob's Pillow.
In fall of 2015, Cora began her undergraduate degree at Stanford University. Throughout college, Cora balanced a full academic course load while dancing professionally and touring with Bay Area dance companies. She pursued research at the intersection of anthropology, dance, Chinese language and culture studies, and sustainability. As a Chappell Lougee Award recipient, she designed and conducted research on cross-cultural communication at international dance festivals in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria. Through the Department of Anthropology Rosaldo Fellowship and Department of East Asian Studies Heidi Zhou Fund, she spent time in China conducting honors thesis research on environmental attitudes at Beijing’s Tsinghua University while pursuing intensive Chinese language and culture studies. Additionally, Cora worked as the Fellow for Stanford’s Sustainable Food Program, coordinating zero-waste education, a food donation program, and other initiatives to fight food insecurity.
Alongside performing, Cora is an independent consultant on food recovery/sustainability. Recently, she worked as a freelance researcher and writer for think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley (Food Recovery Initiative), the California Resource Recovery Association, and the Santa Clara County Food Recovery Program—on projects related to edible food recovery/redistribution and food waste prevention. She is currently the Outreach Director for Artists Climate Collective, a dancer-led organization dedicated to growing environmental awareness and building community around climate action in the arts.
Awards & Recognitions
2022 | Dancers' Group CA$H Grant Awardee
2022 | San Francisco Magazine "Best of the Bay" Award - Representing ODC/Dance
2019 | Stanford University Dept. of Theater and Performance Studies “Award of Excellence”
2018 | Stanford University Dept. of Anthropology “Award of Merit” and “Boas Fellowship”
2018 | Stanford University Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society
2017 | Stanford University Chappell Lougee Award - Humanities and Arts Research Fellowship
2016 | Stanford University “President’s Award for Academic Excellence”
2016 | DANCE Magazine’s “25 to Watch"
2016 | Isadora Duncan “Outstanding Achievement in Performance—Ensemble” Award [Nominated with Post:ballet]
2013 | Santa Fe Mayor’s Melissa Engstrom Youth Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts
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