Associate Professor of Professional Practice; Director of Arts Journalism Programs




ASC 307C/J

More Sasha


Arts and Culture
Critical Thinking
Long-form Journalism
Los Angeles
Media Entrepreneurship
Online Journalism
Popular Culture
Popular Music
Practice of Journalism
Public Culture

Center Affiliation

Annenberg Innovation Lab
Center on Communication Leadership and Policy

Sasha Anawalt is an acclaimed critic, writer and media entrepreneur. She co-founded USC Annenberg Master's Program in Arts Journalism in partnership with the university’s arts schools in 2008. She was chief dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, LA Weekly and KCRW, and author of The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company, called a “milestone in dance writing” by The New York Times and published in paperback by the University of Chicago Press. Spent two weeks on The LA Times Best Sellar List for Non-Fiction. A documentary film about the Joffrey Ballet based on her book aired on PBS American Masters in January 2013. She ran the Getty Arts Journalism Program for 13 years and the NEA Arts Institute for Theatre and Musical Theatre for seven years, both at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, starting in 2001. An arts journalism innovator, Anawalt is the co-producer of the Engine Series and co-founder of DanceMapLA. She served on the Pulitzer Prize jury for criticism for two years. She has taught dance in a women’s prison in Montreal, been a chambermaid at the Wawona Hotel, co-authored a children’s astronomy textbook for Goddard Space Institute’s late director, Robert Jastrow and interviewed Martha Graham, Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma, Agnes de Mille, Art Spiegelman, Twyla Tharp, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mary Tyler Moore and Julia Child among other greats. Went to McGill University in Montreal for three years (started its ongoing arts weekly), then Barnard College. Has three children with husband of 37 years. Eight years of Latin and Greek, what do you expect? Classical and loyal and inquisitive. Lives in Pasadena. Boring, but tribal. 

Upcoming 2017 and past 2016 Speaking Events:

  • Jan 14, 2016: Moderator, ALOUD series, "What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing," LA Central Library's Mark Taper Forum
  • Nov 12: Co-producer w/ USC School of Cinematic Arts, "Daisy and Max" screening
  • Nov 7: Talk, "A Tribute to Rudy Perez," Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UC Irvine
  • Oct 26: Panelist, "Visualizing the Invisible," Theatre@Boston Court, Pasadena
  • July 23: MC and producer, Dancers Forum IV, Screen Actors Guild, L.A.
  • June 26: Lecture-demonstration, "Every Little Movement," Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, MA.
  • April 26: Lecture, "The History of American Theatre Criticism or Why the Cherry Sisters Still Matter," Pasadena Playhouse
  • April 18: Moderator, LA Festival of Books, panel with authors Sandy Tolan, Elaine Bell Kaplan and Jervey Tervalon, USC Annenberg auditorium
  • March 28: Moderator, Moderator, "LA as LAB," Claremont Graduate University
  • March 14: Book signing and onstage conversation about "Beautiful Chaos," w/ author Carey Perloff, at Samuel French Bookstore, L.A.
  • Feb 21: Producer, DanceMapLA community gathering, "Black Grace," USC Visions & Voices
  • Feb 13:Producer, DanceMapLA launch/talk and video karaoke, "Dance and Be Counted," at UCLA's Royce Hall
  • Jan 29: Lecture-demonstration, "Making Ballet Contemporary," Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach.
  • Jan 16: Producer, "Red Beard/Red Beard" workshop, USC Annenberg
  • Jan 15: Moderator, Los Angeles Poverty Department "Red Beard/Red Beard" panel, USC Visions & Voices
  • Jan 13: Moderator, ALOUD series, "Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class," LA Central Library's Mark Taper Forum

Here's a short video on the Arts Journalism Masters program at USC Annenberg:

Hero Photo Credit: Cynthia Minet for the elephant in the background.


The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company
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Kindle Edition: reissued January 2012
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Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance
Documentary heavily based on Anawalt's book
Learn More

Selected Articles:

Carmen de Lavallade: a Homecoming, Los Angeles Review of Books, November 27, 2016
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, catalogue, Introduction, 2015
Inside Arts magazine, "Soloists" column, January/February 2010
Cue, dance reviews, Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies, June 14-July 2, 2010

Course Titles

FALL 2017:
JOUR 510: Special Assignment Reporting: ARTS CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT, 2 units

SPRING 2016:
JOUR 575: Converged Media Center
GESM 110: Seminar in the Arts | L.A. Culture Behind the Scenes: Process Storytelling About Art and Entertainment

FALL 2015
JOUR 592: Specialized Journalism | Reporting the Arts
JOUR 599: Special Assignment Reporting | Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

JOUR 593: Arts Criticism and Commentary
JOUR 599: Monetization and the New Media

JOUR 580: Introduction to Specialized Journalism

JOUR 477: Arts Reporting

JOUR 594B: Master's Thesis
JOUR 594Z: Master's Thesis
JOUR 594A: Master's Thesis