• Kelli L. Forman is the recipient of the Jeremy D. Friedman Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, superior scholarship and contributions to undergraduate life on campus.
Friedman Award recipient Kelli Forman, who will earn her degree in dance, is a dynamic leader, outstanding organizer and creative choreographer. Also a gifted teacher and scholar, she is credited with elevating the university’s dance program through her efforts in advocating for the integration of street dance courses into the curriculum within UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance.
During her time at UCSB, Forman completed an undergraduate research project focused on documenting masters of various street dance forms from across the country. She organized master classes in street dance as well as a university-wide discussion of the role of other marginalized American dance forms within the systems of higher education. She founded a new campus organization, Gaucho Street Dance, which bridged the gap between experienced and passionate hip hop and street dancers and the more traditional, conservatory-style training of the UCSB theater and dance department.
Off campus, Kelli serves as the National Program Director of Everybody Dance Now! (EDN!), a non-profit organization that provides free, weekly hip hop classes for young people in Santa Barbara and seven other cities. Her passion for teaching underserved youth and advocating for equality in arts education inspired her to co-create EDN!’s first standards-based hip hop dance curriculum.
Nominator Brandon Whitted, assistant professor of dance, said, “In our current climate of racial tension, divisive rhetoric and the results of long-established institutionalized racism, Ms. Forman’s work will profoundly contribute to the conversation through the community-building lens of dance.”