Sasha Anawalt is a professor of professional practice emerita of journalism. An acclaimed critic, writer and media entrepreneur, she taught for twenty years at USC Annenberg until June 2021, co-founding with Michael Parks its esteemed arts journalism master’s program in 2008. This Specialized Journalism Arts program expanded in 2020 to include food journalism courses and culture at large.
Anawalt was chief dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, KCRW (NPR’s affiliate in Santa Monica) and LA Weekly. 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. A documentary film about the Joffrey Ballet inspired by 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 their full national and international recognition, including Siobhan Burke, Nate Chinen, Daniel Hernandez, An Xiao Mina, Carolina A. 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.
Anawalt served on the Pulitzer Prize jury for criticism for two years, one of which was the year Jonathan Gold won. She has also juried the Rabkin Foundation’s award for visual arts criticism and the James Beard Foundation’s award for local food journalism. Articles by her can be found in The New York Times and NY Times Magazine on Shelley Duvall, Martha Graham, Mary Tyler Moore and Twyla Tharp, interviewing them at length, in addition to 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)