Assistant Professor & Resident Choreographer

Originally from Brazil, Paula Higa has been teaching, choreographing and performing since the late eighties. In 2012, she joined UVM’s dance program, where she has taught courses in ballet, contemporary, improvisation, and Brazilian dance.

As a choreographer, she is interested in creating works that challenge her kinetic approach to dance. She is the founder and artistic director of “PH Dance & ErS” as well as the founder of “Encounters”- an improvisational ensemble where two professional musicians, Arthur Brooks and Anthony Santor, meet Higa as a dancer to improvise without a pre-determined score. Her work has been presented in venues around the United States and in Brazil. She has also performed extensively for local and international choreographers. Higa earned her MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and a B.S in Chemical Engineering while living in Brazil.

Paula Higa in the news:

UVM dance lecturer Paula Higa's duet found inspiration in two poems by early 20th-century Portuguese poet Florbela Espanca. Titled "The Woman That I Would Like to Be," the piece deals with themes of violence against women and will be danced by members of Higa's company, Paula Higa Dance & Ers.

"It's very aggressive in terms of movement. I want to show the kind of violence that we suffer in daily life," in physical, emotional and other realms, Higa said. The piece works with a duality, she continued: "Are you the woman who is experiencing the violence, or are you the angry woman? The characters, the dancers, switch places."

Awards and Grants

  • Paula Higa was awarded a Bronze Medal for her dance film, The One I Wanted to Be by the Independent Shorts Awards (ISA), an international film festival.
  • Paula Higa was awarded the Coor Collaborative Fellowship Award by rhe UVM Humanities Center in support of her project, Intermedia + Technology.
  • Paula Higa receives a New England Foundation for the Arts Grant in of support the creation of Urbano a new work which will focus on urban environment and the impact that big cities can cause in an individual's life.
  • Paula Higa receives a Vermont Community Foundation Grant.
Paula Higa

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

contemporary dance; ballet; Brazilian dance; dance history/culture


  • MFA Dance, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • BS Chemical Engineering, Universidade Santa Cecilia
  • Teacher Certification Program, Royal Academy of Dance (São Paulo, Brazil)


  • 802-656-7763
Office Location:

Old Mill Building, Room 332


Courses Taught

DNCE 011 - Contemporary Dance I

DNCE 012 - Contemporary Dance II

DNCE 111- Contemporary Dance III

DNCE 112 - Contemporary Dance IV

DNCE 021 - Ballet I

DNCE 022 - Ballet II

DNCE 121 - Ballet III

DNCE 033 - D2: Brazilian Dance

DNCE 060 - Movement & Improvisation

DNCE 177 - Site Performance Practicum

DNCE 050 - Dance History and Legends

DNCE 005 - D2:World Dance