RULAN TANGEN (Director, Choreographer, Dancer) Rulan Tangen is an internationally accomplished dance artist and choreographer.  She is the Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer DANCING EARTH, noted in Dance Magazine as “One of the Top 25 To Watch”, and winner of the National Dance Project Production and Touring Grant, as well as the National Museum of American Indian’s Expressive Arts award. She is also recipient of the Costo Medal for Education, Research and Service by UC Riverside’s Chair of Native Affairs, as well as honoree by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation for their first dance Fellowship, for Artistic Innovation. As performer and choreographer, she has worked in ballet, modern dance, circus, TV, film, theater, opera and Native contemporary productions in the USA, Canada, France, Norway, Mexico, Brasil and Argentina.

Her work values movement as an expression of indigenous worldview, including the honoring of matriarchal leadership, dance as functional ritual for transformation and healing, the process of decolonizing the body, and the animistic energetic connection with all forms of life on earth. She has recruited and nurtured a new generation of Indigenous contemporary dancers and holds the belief that " to dance is to live, to live is to dance". (photo © pauloT.)


2016 Core Collaborating Artists for preview, creation & touring of
"...seeds: REd GENERATION..."

ANNE PESATA is a Jicarilla Apache from Dulce Nm. She attended Fort Lewis College in Duran- go while raising her young son. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. She has since moved back home to the Jicarilla Apache reservation because she feels the overwhelming need to enact positive change in her home community. She currently works as a Community Health Representative, with the Jicarilla Community Health & Fitness Center,spearheading a variety of different programs to serve the community. She aspires to build her own home and live closer to the land. Anne first met Rulan Tangen as a 4th grade elementary student in a two week,school-wide dance initiative and they eventually reconnected years later when Anne was attend- ing Fort Lewis College. She has been working as an apprentice with Dancing Earth since 2012, and became a company member in late 2014. Aside from her projects with Dancing Earth, Anne has no formal dance training. But really, she’s always been in a constant state of dance, and has only just found a tangible, meaningful outlet for that energy. She hopes that the dance work that she does, and the stories told through that work inspires people to enact positive change in the world. (photo © pauloT.)


LUPITA SALAZAR was born and raised in the high desert mountains of northern New Mexico on her family’s ranch, later moving to the big city of Los Angeles to become an actress. A er graduating from college, she realized that the stories about the environment, and the people that live in harmony with the earth were o en forgotten in the media. Every summer she returned home to help her family with the ranch, and when her grandpa passed away, there was no one to plant a garden. So she started to do it, and found her true passion. She loved being outside and continuing the traditions of her ancestors by taking care of the land. She especially loved sharing the food that she found in the wild, or that she coaxed from her garden with her community. She went back to school in Flagstaff, Arizona to learn more about traditional ways of farming and living and has moved back home for good. She now is blessed to be able to tell stories with Dancing Earth about the foods and disciplines that keep her and her family strong, while she also maintains her family’s ranch and is able to hang out with the plants and animals. She also works with young people teaching them about farming, and how to tell stories through plays. Her farming passion helped inspire this performance! (photo © pauloT.)


NATALIE BENALLY  is a Dine woman whose love of theater and dance started at the age of 3. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in eater- Performing and Directing as well as a Secondary Drama teaching licensure from Fort Lewis College. Aside from performing, she works with Navajo youth from the four corners area in performing arts and hopes to one day create an a er school performing arts program which encourages the arts and cultural identity. Her recent work was also lending her voice to the lead role of Dory in the Navajo dubbed version of Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. As a mother to her 4 year old daughter Lulu, her dream is to inspire young children on the Navajo Reservation that with hard work and self belief, they are capable of making their dreams come true. (photo © pauloT.)



2016 cast for Sept premiere " ...seeds: re generation..."
at Fort Lewis Concert Hall in Durango CO


James Uqualla (Cultural Contributing Elder, Guest  Dance Artist) A HAVASUPAI MASTER CEREMONIALIST, teaching Native American Spirituality; thru voice, rhythms, and movement. Motivating seekers to a new EarthWalk of well being. “The universal blue winds allows me to dance” (photo © pauloT.)



Deollo Johnson (Company Dance Artist) I’ve been a principal dancer with Dancing Earth since 2007. I love hot showers, warm hugs, cool people, and cold smoothies–all of which Durango has. Thank you, Durango and FLC for being so good to us! – Deollo (Image credit: Dana Greenblatt)



Anne Pesata (Company Dance Artist) Anne Pesata is from the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in Northern New Mexico. She works as a Community Health Representative, connecting people to health resources in the community. She cares about her people and wants to see them strong and healthy. She is a mom to one boy, and dances to inspire people. (photo © pauloT.)



Lupita Salazar (Company Dance Artist) Lupita is a farmer and performing artist from the mountains of northern New Mexico. She has returned to her family’s farm, and is working as a Agricultural Programs Director with the Northern Youth Project, as well as teaching theater with Moving Arts Española, and as a performer with Dancing Earth. At present she is working to find balance between working the land and telling the stories that need to be heard.



Natalie Aceves (Company Dance Artist) Natalia’s creative practices and leadership roles are based out of Northern California. Serving local and oversea communities with journeys of awakenings and transformation through educational programs, mind/body/soul wellness, bodywork, performance and dance to inspirit and generate personal/planetary solidarity and soulful change. She debuts with the company in summer/fall 2016 at Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, and as one of the core Bay Area company members for new work to be previewed in Dec 2016 at Festival for Latino Arts and Culture at Dance Mission.


Justin Giehm (Company Dance Artist) Justin Giehm is a Diné dancer, actor, and designer currently residing in San Tan Valley Arizona. He is a former student of Fort Lewis College, and has been with Dancing Earth since 2014, touring to San Francisco for SEEDS AND SOUL Festival . He was recently selected for the feature film JAMESTOWN. (photo © pauloT.)



Trey Pickett (Company Dance Artist) Trey Pickett is a performance artist based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Trey has been with Dancing Earth since the Summer of 2012. Trey loves to share his gifts/talents to promote positive change and transformation. (photo © pauloT.)




Talavai Lakai Denipah-Cook (Apprentice Dance Artist and  Guest Hoop Dancer) I am a descendant from the Hopi/Dine/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo people. I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelors in Environmental and Organismic Biology with a Geographical Information Systems certificate. I feel that my duty in life is to be connected with the land that my ancestors once walked on.



Andrea Rose Bear King (Apprentice Dance Artist and Guest Aerialist) Andrea Thompson has been an aerial artist for Dancing Earth for the past three years. She has been performing since the age of five in various types of dance styles. She is Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Standing Rock Sioux, and Crow Creek Sioux and is currently residing in Albuquerque, NM.





JESUS "JACOH" HERNANDEZ CORTES (Dancer and Founding Director of associate training program of Cuicacalli Escuela De Danza) was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He began his training in danza folklorica when he was 6 years old under the direction of his uncle Juan Natoli. In 2000, at age 21, Jacoh (aka Jesus) joined the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez at the Bellas Artes in Mexico City. He became principal dancer in the role of the deer in &La Danza del Venado&, as chosen successor to Lucas Zarate in the version originated by Jorge Tiller, with which he toured Mexico, Europe and the USA. He has been company choreographer and lead teacher for Los Ninos de Santa Fe y Compania, teaching hundreds of school children annually with the Santa Fe Opera outreach program. He has performed with Moving People Dance Theatre (in choreography by Robert Moses and others), Danza Folklorica, and Dancing Earth with whom he was able to  incorporate his riveting Deer Dance into a performance for the National Performance Network. In 2008  he was the featured image of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival , including posters, T- shirts and a photo mention in Dance Magazine. He is the founding director of CUICICALLI, Dancing Earth&s associate dance training program that includes folklorico and modern dance , and includes classes for public schools, with student appearances at Brava Theater, and the annual Carnaval Festival, both in the heart of the Mission.

JAVIER STELL-FRESQUEZ (Dancer, Bay Area Admin & Strategist) Since his first Mexican folkloric dance class at age 5, dance has always been a major part of Javier’s life, education, and personal development. Across his life, he has garnered experience in multiple genres, including Flamenco, ballet, contemporary, social partner dance (salsa, cumbia, swing, blues), vogue, and danza azteca.  He recently joined The House of Prolific, an up-and-coming San Francisco vogue house led by several of the SF Bay Area’s most seasoned and ovah Vogue performers. As a Dancing Earth company performer, he’s found a path towards (re)connecting with his  ancestral Tigua and Piro (Pueblo) communities, and has committed his artistic voice to the work of decolonizing society. Javier has also served for 5+ years on our administrative team.

CHRISTINA LEYVA (Dancer, rehearsal coach for Treaty-Making Project)  directs The Bee Dance Project, a performance installation on pollinators and pesticides. Based in Berkeley, California, she was named a Dancing Earth Ecological Dance Artist of 2016. Previously she co-directed anthrocollagik sound + movement co., a site-specific dance film company presenting at festivals in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Leyva earned her BA in World Arts & Cultures: Dance from UCLA (2008), and was recipient of the Emma B. Keller Award for Excellence in Dance Scholarship (2007). Leyva has been a company member of Lan Sattha Thai Dance since 2007, and previously trained at Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle), The Ailey School (New York), the American Dance Festival (Durham), and the Çudamani Summer Institute (Bali).

NATALIE ACEVES (Dancer) Natalia’s creative practices and leadership roles are based out of Northern California. Serving local and oversea communities with journeys of awakenings and transformation through educational programs, mind/body/soul wellness, bodywork, performance and dance to inspirit and generate personal/planetary solidarity and soulful change. She debuts with the company in summer/fall 2016 for Southwest tour, and as one of the core Bay Area company members for new work to be previewed in Dec 2016 at Festival for Latino Arts and Culture at Dance Mission

DANIEL ARIZMENDI (Dancer)  was first invited to work with Dancing Earth in 2011 after meeting at the San Francisco International Arts Festival. He participated in a trio for Bioneers Conference in Callifornia, and was subsequently invited to represent the company for the 2012 Hemispheric Encuentro of Performance and Politics. An international martial arts champion, he began his vocational ballet training with a full scholarship at Redding Ballet Academie in their Pre-Professional program, and he also was privately coached by Natasha Morken. For six years, he was a principal dancer with Redding City Ballet as well as a resident choreographer for both the company and the school. In 2008, he founded Belariz Ballet School, performed for FACT/SF's Home Season 3.0, was a founding member of Artesan Dance Company. Daniel currently teaches ballet for The Dance Zone in Cupertino, Poise Ballet (Royal Academy of Dance) of Sausalito, Cuicacalli Escuela De Danza in San Francisco, and Cuicacalli Dance Company. As an indigenous choreographer and teacher, he creates original works and teaches master classes for dance companies, schools, and universities. Daniel and his family ( descended from Mayan and Sonoran curanderas on both sides ) are spiritual advisors for DANCING EARTH&s initiatives.

SAMMAY DIZON (Dancer) is a Bay Area-based creator, artivist, and educator whose roots stem from Carson, California; Gerona, Tarlac; and Guinobatan, Albay. Having trained in Polynesian, modern, musical theatre, Hip Hop, contemporary, African diaspora, and urban dance choreography—she extends her advocacy for cross-cultural understanding and making progressive social impact through the arts. Sammay holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Sociology and has two minors in Dance and Performance Studies and Global Poverty and Practice from UC Berkeley. During the day, Sammay leads the first-ever Performing Arts program for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco; she is a deep believer of using arts for social activism and encourages her students to use art as the vessel for healing, understanding, and remembering. Sammay’s style is a fusion of her urban upbringing and personal journey to find meaningful movement that speaks to the soul; her work has been featured at Zellerbach Hall, SOMArts Bay Gallery and Diego Rivera Art Gallery. Recent stage performances include BIRTHRIGHT? by Rhodessa Jones and She, Who Can See by Alleluia Panis. Sammay was a featured artist for the 18th Annual United States of Asian America Festival where she produced, curated, and created for URBAN x INDIGENOUS: Spirits of the Streets – a two-day, multi-disciplinary, inter-generational community arts event that gathered 40+ artists to explore the indigenous spirit in the urban jungle of our present day. Next up – catch SAMMAY in La Alquimista: A Circus-Theatre Fable as part of SF Fringe Festival, APAture 2015: Future Tense. Sammy appeared in Dancing Earth's  first ever Seeds & Soul Indigenous Cultural Exchange and Festival and is a lead artist in new work being previewed and developed in Bay Area in 2016-17.

DEIRDRE MORRIS (“Of Bodies Of Elements” and Riddu Riddu Tour Tech Director, guest dramaturge for" ...seeds:re generation...", performer ) Deirdre Morris holds a masters from UC Davis and is an international performing artist, producer, dramaturge, activist, and educator. Her practice spans theatrical forms that focus on spectacle based physical theatre, contemplative movement based performance and site specific installations. Inspired by her study of Butoh dance in rural Japan, her interest is in uncovering artistic material in the performer’s/witnesses bodily states, emotions and sensations, creating physical encounters in wild and constructed spaces. Her collaborative projects, draw diverse communities into a creative process that is socially reflective and ecologically aware. Being affective, generous and sustainable, is the essence of her education and performance work. With content ranging inter/disciplinarily, her work spans a variety of performance sites, bodies, ecologies, media and social issues. Her current research is looking at feminism and somatic affect as well as site specific and site particular presentations. Working with artists and public, in particular sites, to create reflective textual, visual and somatic documentation of local culture and history, to produce ‘momentary communities’. These communities are built in specific times, places and sites, between the performers, commmunity, and site of the project. With lasting effects continuing to be seen via presentations of video in local galleries and libraries, and textual archives.

Additional Treaty-Project dancers: Andrea Maldonado, Lydia Neff, Christina Joy Ferrer, Ashley LeBlanc, Anisahka Abdullah, Jade Whaanga, Jordin Dudas, Tria Wahkpa Blu, Hante Wahkpa Blu, Sam Mitchell, Evangelina Lopez, Zoe Klein, Liz Cameron,  Maria Firmono-CVastillo, and guest artists Ananya Chattarjea, Yvonne Montoya

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