Sasha Anawalt is an acclaimed critic, writer and media entrepreneur. She co-founded USC Annenberg’s arts journalism master’s program in partnership with the university’s arts schools in 2008. Anawalt was chief dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, KCRW (NPR’s affiliate in Santa Monica) and LA Weekly, where she was the first-ever dance critic. Her book The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company was called a “milestone in dance writing” by The New York Times. It spent two weeks on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List for Non-Fiction. A documentary film about the Joffrey Ballet based on her book aired on PBS American Masters in January 2013.
Anawalt built and ran the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for 13 years as its founding director, identifying numerous arts journalists before much of their national fame and glory, such as Siobhan Burke, Nate Chinen, Jace Clayton, Daniel Hernandez, An Xiao Mina, Carolina Miranda, Neda Ulaby, Alissa Walker and Douglas Wolk, among others. She also directed the USC Annenberg/NEA Arts Institute for Theatre and Musical Theatre for seven years for the National Endowment for the Arts.
An arts journalism innovator, Anawalt is the co-producer of the Engine Series and co-founder of DanceMapLA with her frequent collaborator, Douglas McLennan. 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, and co-authored a children’s astronomy textbook for Goddard Space Institute’s late director, Robert Jastrow. She has written for The New York Times on Shelley Duvall, Martha Graham, Mary Tyler Moore and Twyla Tharp, and has interviewed legends Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julia Child, Jane Goodall, Yo-Yo Ma, Agnes de Mille, Rudolf Nureyev and Art Spiegelman.
The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company (1998, University of Chicago Press).
Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance (2013)