Headshot of Joe Alter

Joseph Alter

Professor of Dance

Dance Advisor

San Diego



Joseph Alter has been an active dancer, choreographer, and teacher in the field of contemporary dance for over 40 years. He received his Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University with an emphasis on choreography and dance technology. As artistic director of the Joe Alter Dance Group, his works have been performed at The Kitchen, The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, the 92nd St. Y, Harkness Center for Dance in New York City, throughout San Diego, and internationally in Mexico, Germany, Poland, and Serbia. In collaboration with international partners, Prof. Alter created the Polish Project, a regional outreach program designed to investigate the creative process with disadvantaged youth throughout Poland. He has been a Professor of Dance at San Diego State University since 2005. 

Mr. Alter has taught at numerous festivals throughout East-Central Europe and was a guest faculty member at the Frederick Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland. His research interests include digital technologies as applied to dance, dance pedagogy in higher education, social systems theory, somatic and contemplative practices and the continuous investigation of the human condition through movement and choreographic structure. Works include “The End is the Beginning” for Tijuana’s Lux Boreal, “Everything Slips Away” for PWST in Krakow, Poland, “Passing Through”, a site-specific work commissioned by Trolley Dances San Diego as well as the commissioned work “If/Then” which premiered in Poland in November of 2019. As part of SDSUs ArtsAlive, Prof. Alter worked with Physics Professor Arlette Baljon on a course which encouraged collaborative learning between Dance and STEM students. In July of 2021, Mr. Alter premiered the work: “Skin Hunger” in Wrocław, Poland to critical acclaim and remains in repertory at Teatr Polski in Wroclaw. This work was subsequently performed at the Jersey City Theater Center in New Jersey, The Main Stage at San Diego State, and at CECUT in Tijuana, Mexico. Skin Hunger: Part II premiered in March of 2023 at CEART in Tijuana and has subsequently been performed at CECUT, Tijuana, Mexico.


  • MFA, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • BA, Hunter College, New York, NY