Photo of Kara Yoo Leaman.
  • Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills


  • AB in economics, Harvard University, 2000
  • MA in music theory, Queens College, CUNY, 2006
  • PhD in music theory, Yale University, 2016


Kara Yoo Leaman is a music theorist whose work is situated at the intersection of music and dance. Her dissertation, "Analyzing Music and Dance: George Balanchine’s Choreography to Tchaikovsky and the Choreomusical Score," was awarded the Theron Rockwell Field Prize by Yale University.  
Leaman has studied piano with Bruce Sutherland and Ick-Choo Moon, ballet and other dance styles with Lois Ellyn and at the Broadway Dance Center, and movement analysis at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute. 

Leaman’s research takes music-analytic approaches to dance in order to examine how the kinesthetic and spatial patterns of dance interact musically with the sonic works to which they are performed. Her close readings involve transcribing dance into music-based notations that are integrated into "choreomusical scores," to which traditional music-only analytical tools can be adapted to the study of performances of music with dances of various styles. Leaman’s work develops new methods in digital dance research and advances the recognition of dance as a musical activity. She co-founded the Dance and Movement Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory.


  • Kara Leaman featured in interview series

    November 12, 2020

    Kara Leaman was a guest speaker on an episode of The Washington Ballet’s Barre Talk, a virtual public interview series. She spoke on her research on George Balanchine’s ballets. 

  • Kara Yoo Leaman gives public lecture

    August 25, 2020

    Kara Yoo Leaman, assistant professor of music theory and aural skills, gave a public video lecture for the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. 

  • Kara Yoo Leaman Presents

    June 1, 2020

    Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills Kara Yoo Leaman presented a paper at the Music and the Moving Image XVI Remote Conference. The paper was titled, "Swingin' Bach in Ballet: Musical and Visual Rhythms in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco (1941)."

  • Kara Yoo Leaman Awarded Fellowship

    September 3, 2019

    Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills Kara Yoo Leaman has been awarded the 2019-2020 Fellowship for the Study of Russia and Ballet, a joint fellowship of the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts (CBA) and the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia. The CBA Fellowship Program invites scholars and artists to The Center to develop self-directed projects that expand the way we think about ballet’s history, practice, and performance.

  • Kara Yoo Leaman Presents at Conference

    August 11, 2019

    Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills Kara Yoo Leaman presented a paper at the Dance Studies Association annual conference in Evanston, IL.