Irene Hsiao


Dancing with Kinetech

I write about poetry. I dance about poetry. I write poems about other things.

I dance. I write about dance. I take photographs of dancing and non-dancing subjects.

I’m fascinated by still lifes. I move around a lot.

I studied science. I studied literature. I study what’s around me and people, places, and things that are not.

I didn’t want to have a website, but there you go.


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Irene Hsiao is a 2020 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, 2020-2021 CDF Lab Artist in Residence and 2022 Fellow at High Concept Labs, the inaugural Artist in Residence at the Smart Museum of Art in 2020 and 2021, and first artist in residence at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago.

Irene Hsiao is a writer, dancer, and photographer. Her essays and poems have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, SF Weekly, Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, KQED Arts, Bay Area Reporter, Newcity, Cambridge Quarterly, Victorian Poetry, Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US, Literary Imagination, Modern Philology, Word Riot, elimae, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, and Sweet, as well as in the book Peter Pan In and Out of Time. She has appeared with Kinetech Arts, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Alma Esperanza Cunningham Movement, Lenora Lee Dance, Labayen Dance/SF, South Chicago Dance Theatre, Yin He Dance, Carole McCurdy, Erica Mott Productions, and other companies in the US and Asia, and has taught at the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of San Francisco, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, City University of Hong Kong, National Taipei University of Technology, and Roosevelt University. Her book of photography and text, Letter from Taipei, was published in 2014. She has been awarded the Louis Martz Prize by the William Carlos Williams Society and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her article, “Dancing Alone Together,” received a 2020 Peter Lisagor Award for arts reporting and criticism. She received 2nd place in arts criticism from the Association for Alternative Newsmedia in 2022 for two articles on Asian stereotypes in dance.

Irene has worked as a library attendant, library subject specialist, professor,  editor, study guide and encyclopedia-entry writer, researcher, restaurant server, gelateria sales associate, cashier, ghostwriter, and unemployed sponge supported by her relatives. She has held as few as 0 and as many as 8 jobs at a time, for as little as a week and as long as a year. She was a Regents’ scholar at UC Berkeley, where she earned a double BA in English and Molecular and Cell Biology and won the Chauncey Wetmore Wells Critical Essay Prize. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Chicago.

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