Christina McCarthy

Headshot of woman with pink hair
Lecturer SOE

Office Location

Theater Dance West, Room 1508


Christina McCarthy (she/they) is a multi-disciplinary artist in dance, aerial circus arts, theater, puppetry, film and visual art. Christina danced with Nina Wiener Dance Company and was both a dancer and Assistant Director to Santa Barbara Dance Theater. They teach contemporary dance technique, dance on film, choreography, solo performance generation, puppet making and aerial dance. Their movement training background includes ballet with Lupe Serrano, Finis Jhung, Bob and Carol Hanlin and Valerie Huston, modern training with Tonia Shimin, Alice Condodina, Nolan Dennet and Christopher Pilafian, and aerial dance training with Ninette Paloma and Autumn Phillips. Christina engages in the department both in theater, where they work in collaboration with directors on choreography for musical theater productions and plays and in dance where they often collaborate with the Music Department on joint dance/music performance projects. Recently, their collaborative work with Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian from UCSB Department of Music, (an innovative full puppet theater staging of the Mozart opera The Magic Flute with live singing and orchestration) was performed as part of NYC Opera For Kids! series in New York. Christina has made site specific work for the opening of the new UCSB Library and for Arts Walk 2018 and 2019, directed departmental dance concerts and choreographed multiple musical theater productions in the Santa Barbara community including,  Something Rotten, Grease, Spamalot, Young Frankenstein, Bullets Over Broadway, Chicago, Pippin, Beauty and the Beast, The Drowsy Chaperone, Singing in the Rain, Anything Goes, Music Man, On the Town, Pajama Game, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Bye Bye Birdie, Little Shop of Horrors, Hair, Footloose, The Wizard of Oz, Copacabana, Gunmetal Blues, Once Upon a Mattress, and Wind in the Willows. Christina is the resident movement director of Naked Shakes whose work has been shown both on campus at UCSB and at the Arizona Shakespeare Festival. For Orlando Shakes, in Orlando Florida, Christina collaborated on the stylized movement for a well received production of Macbeth directed by Artistic Director of Naked Shakes, Irwin Appel. Christina has designed and fabricated puppets for Lit Moon Theater Company, Ensemble Theater Company, Out of the Box Theater Company, Proboscis Theater Company, storyteller Michael Katz, State Street Ballet and Santa Barbara Dance Theater in addition to their creations for their own creative choreographic works. In addition to the puppets created for The Magic Flute production in 2022, their puppets have appeared in State Street Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty,  as well as theater productions including Amelie, Peer Gynt, Young Frankenstein, A Perfect Ganesh, Beauty and the Beast, Once Upon a Mattress, La La La Strada, and Big Fish. In 2018, Christina was the featured puppet artist at the Santa Barbara International Puppet Palooza Festival. Their concert dance choreography often includes puppet/theater and aerial dance elements. In their teaching, they are interested in exposing dancers to the threads of movement training based in ballet, Limón, Graham, floor work practices and aerial dance elements. An accomplished ceramic artist, they have also shown their ceramic creations at the Terra Sol Gallery and at the annual Santa Barbara Mission Arts Fair.