ARTISTIC ASSOCIATES AND PAST COMPANY MEMBERS
RAOUL TRUJILLO (Guest Choreographer, Guest Performer) danced internationally with the Nikolais Dance Theater from 1980 to 1986, where he also learned master lighting design. He was the original choreographer and co-director of the American Indian Dance Theater for its first two years, continuing to explore native mythology and creating dance technique along with Alejandro Ronceria in Toronto with Native Earth for the Performing Arts. His work The Shaman’s Journey was turned into a dance film for PBS, along with Alive From Off Center. He hosted and narrated the series Dancing, also for PBS. He has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, taught at the Banff Centre for Aboriginal Arts, and has been a mentor to DANCING EARTH since the beginning. He has worked extensively as an actor in film and television, and continues to dance and choreograph. He recently worked as a choreographer and principal actor, in “The New World”, as historic Chief Red Cloud in Spielberg’s series “Into The West” , and featured roles in “True Blood”, “Tin Man”, “Love Ranch”, “Ancestor Eyes”, and in Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto for which he won a North American Indigenous Image Award for Best Actor. (Photo by Iscah Hunsden Carey)
KALANI QUEYPO (Guest Performer) was born and raised in Hawaii of Blackfoot/Hawaiian heritage, and trained in New York City, Los Angeles and at the Banff Centre for Aboriginal Arts in Canada. A founding member of DANCING EARTH, Kalani has created roles in the world premiere productions of Palestine, New Mexico, She Was My Brother, Please Do Not Touch The Indians , Kaha:wi, Miinigooweziwin…The Gift, Bones: An Aboriginal Dance Opera, Tribe, The Last American, Red Sky, Transformations , Earth Dance Theater‘s Naming Ceremony, U.C. Riverside’s Red Rhythms Conference, and the world premiere of “Of Bodies Of Elements”.
Hollywood has embraced Kalani with prestigious acting projects such as the Oscar-nominated, Terrence Malick film, The New World, and Steven Spielberg’s Emmy Award-winning mini-series Into the West. In 2007, Kalani’s short script, Ancestor Eyes, won a screenplay competition, initiating his directorial debut. He has been recognized with fourteen awards on the film festival circuit, including RIIFF’s prestigious Directorial Discovery Award. Kalani is an active collaborator with Native Voices Theater at the Autry where he proudly serves on the Advisory Council. He is also a proud founding member of the President’s National Task Force for the American Indian at Screen Actors Guild. Kalani will be features in 2015 in the much anticipated Sundance World Cinema winner. ” Slow West” .
JESUS “JACOH” HERNANDEZCORTES (Guest Performer performer 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 appeared in 2006 as a guest artist with Dancing Earth, incorporating his riveting Deer Dance into a performance for the National Performance Network. In 2008 – his first year on Bay Area – 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 ESCUELA – Dancing Earth’s Bay Area associate dance training program training program – that includes folklorico and modern dance , with many scholarship students drawn from area public schools, with student appearances at Brava Theater, and the annual Carnaval Festival, both in the heart of the Mission. Cuicacalli has expanded in to a company, with current major work in progress titled “Cicatrices” about immigration. (Photo by Elizabeth Opalenik)
QUETZAL GUERRERO (Composer, Musician, Dancer), of heritage including Juaneno, Cambiva and Yaqui, carries the name “precious feather” in the Aztec-Nahuatl language. As a Suzuki trained violinist, he has studied and performed internationally since the age of 5, playing with legends such as Tito Puente, Lalo Guerrero and Jorge Santana. He is an accomplished visual artist and actor who trains with Axe Capoiera. As a champion street dancer with Sourpatch, he has appeared with H.T.Chen and Company of New York and was invited to perform with Mikhail Baryshnikov. He was also a founding dancer of DANCING EARTH, performing at sites across the USA, Brasil and New Zealand. He toured Europe with world renowned Osunlade and was recording in Puerto Rico as an artist of Yoruba Records. Acting credits include “New World” where his dancing and acting abilities were featured as a core warrior. He is now touring the world as a featured musical artist with the US Dept of State’s American Music Abroad program – felicidades !
ANTHONY CH-WL-TAS COLLINS (Photographer, Dancer) is a member of the Salt River Pima/Maricopa, Seneca, and Osage tribes and has been dancing since age 10. He is a frontrunner in cutting edge, experimental and creative urban street dance. His unique sense of aesthetics extends to his visual artistry, as awarded the T.C. Cannon Scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute for photography. As 2004 program coordinator for the Native American Cultural Center of San Francisco and founder of the Earth Dance Street Unit, he hosted native poetry events and creating incredible street dance performances at unconventional spaces throughout San Francisco. He has performed with “Kaha:wi”, “Here on Earth”, Earth Dance Theater, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and the televised Aboriginal Achievement Awards and is a founding member of DANCING EARTH . Onscreen, he can be seen in the film “The New World”, “Tecumseh” and and independent films by artist Kent Monkman. He is a sought after photographer in the USA and Canada. (Photo by Anthony C.Collins)
ALEJANDRO (ALEX) MERAZ (Actor, Filmmaker, Artist, Dancer) of the Purepecha First Nation of Michoacan, Mexico was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. He attended the New School for the Arts, and apprenticed with master mask carver, Zarco Guerrero. Under the name Nomak, he earned an international reputation for break dance and creative street dance break dance. For 12 years Alex studied mixed martial arts, winning numerous tournaments in karate and capoeira, which led him to train with Andy Cheng as a stuntman on the set of THE NEW WORLD. As noted by the film crew, “he moves like a panther.” Highly sought after in the indigenous dance world, Alex has worked as a lead dancer throughout the USA and Canada with renowned choreographers including Raoul Trujillo, Rulan Tangen, and Santee Smith (where he earned a Dora Mavor nomination). His interest in film was fueled by roles in THE NEW WORLD, and TWO SPIRITS, ONE JOURNEY and he began making his own independent short films which have been well received on the festival circuit. His thoughts and perspectives on dance and film-making are influenced by his exquisite drawings and paintings. As an actor , he developed the werewolf character of Paul for the very popular Twilight film series. In addition to acting, he is currently co- writing, directing and co- producing independent films.
JESSICA MARISOL ALLEN (Dancer) began formal ballet and jazz training at age 10. Her first performances were with the San Francisco Bay Area’s Dance Brigade and with mother – the multi artist Gina Pacaldo. Jessica competed and toured throughout the United States for 9 years with the Logan World Guard and Concord Blue Devils world champion color guard performing units incorporating ballet, modern and jazz dance with complex stage design and pageantry – performing in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Canada and Japan. From 2003-06 she was a featured performer in the Tony Award winning show “Blast” ( national tour) and in “CyberJam” at the Queens Theater in London. She worked as a television personality on the PBS and ESPN2 broadcast of Drum Corps International World Championships. She specializes in performing with props, saber swords, flags, fire staff and fire poi. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she worked at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, a non-profit corporation that delivers education, research and training programs which promote justice in Indian country, and is now one of the Founding Board of the Indigenous Arts Institute. She continues to pursue film and photography projects and enjoys being a mother. In 2011, her daughter Rulan debuted at age 15 months onstage at UC Riverside, in honor of “Mother Earth Day”!
HAPPY FREJO (Actress, Writer, Singer, Dancer) is a native performing artist who is a member of the Pawnee and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma. She is an accomplished poet, dancer, singer/songwriter, and actress. Happy travels across the United States to youth conferences, conventions, camps and reservations conducting hip-hop workshops, sharing her message of hope and acquiring love from within. Using her gifts and talents, she desires to reach as many young people as she can, encouraging them to go after their dreams with all the belief in themselves and to strive to lead a positive and healthy lifestyle. Her accomplishments include touring the USA with Peter Buffett’s SPIRIT as a performer and dance captain, producing her own short film , “My Darkest Hour”, singing with her band, touring to Thailand as a powwow dancer and developing the Happy Soul Project. (Photo by Anthony C.Collins)
LAWRENCE SANTIAGO (Set Designer) Santiago is a Native American artist, singer/songwriter, architect, and actor currently based in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and a Native Hachamaori from the island of Guam. Santiago lived in Italy where he studied Classical Architecture & Art through the University of Notre Dame. He received a Bachelors Degree in Architecture & Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, and is currently attending the University of Southern California for a Master of Architecture & Urbanism. For Santiago, art & life are truly a mutual process that know no restrictions of medium or time. He is recording and performing hiphop music as ‘Santiago’ , and he believes that even though art’s tangible form is limited, those who experience it give it no bounds. (Photo by Larry Price)
SARRACINA LITTLEBIRD (Dancer) was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. She began her dance training with the Santa Fe Dance Foundation (now Aspen Santa Fe Ballet) and later studied with Moving People Dance Theatre’s school, performing with their student company and apprenticing with the main company. She embraces her cultural heritage through dance, having family at Laguna, Santo Domingo, and Tesuque Pueblos, by participating during the summers in traditional Pueblo Corn Dances. Sarracina spent a summer in Chile on cultural exchange, a summer in the Peruvian Amazon researching the relationship between cultural traditions and fisheries management, and is now a graduate of Columbia University as a double major in Environmental Biology and Dance. Since age 12, Sarracina has danced in Rulan’s choreography at the Museum of Crafts in NYC, Native Roots and Rhythms, and now with DANCING EARTH, originating a role in a women’s trio created for the Santa Fe Dance Festival. Graduating with honors as a Gates Scholarship awardee, with degree in Environmental Biology and Dance from Columbia University, she now attends law school at Stanford University. (Photo by Kate Russell)
SERENA RASCON (Dancer, Vocalist, Instructor) is a young developing artist whose flame of creativity can be sparked by any art form that catches any of her senses at any time . Serena has trained in many forms of dance but most specifically ballet and different modern techniques. Right now, she delves into the world of choreography using the young dancers that she works with in Espanola, New Mexico as her canvas, while still trying to maintain and grow as a dancer herself. The dance that is in her heart has taken her to many places within the states, to dance, and to discovery.
Serena was adopted into an ever growing, multi cultural home when she was just 8 months old. Being of mixed blood, she is Indian (Indigenous to Mexico), Spanish, and Mexican and was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico in February of 1988. She seeks to find a tangible connection with her different cultures, though she can feel the connection in her bones and in her spirit. She now is a co-leader of Wise Fool New Mexico’s Penasco Theater in rural northern NM. (Photo by Anthony C.Collins)
EDGAR GARCIA (Dancer, Hair Stylist) is a dancer and professional hair stylist, who lives in Arizona. A champion breakdancer/streetdancer who helped develop the experimental Sour Patch crew, he has studied contemporary dance with an interest in choreography. He has performed with Desert Dance Theater and danced on stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project, as well as co-creating new choreography for a Native Film Festival in Montana. With Dancing Earth, he has performed at the National Dance Institute of NM, the Santa Fe Opera House stage, Native Wellness Institute conferences, National Performance Network Showcase, Santa Fe Dance Festival, Las Sedona’s Festival of Native Arts and Culture, in Alaska for the Yu’Pik Nation and in Las Vegas and Arizona. (Photo by Anthony C.Collins)
NICHOLE SALAZAR (Dancer) is from Santa Fe, New Mexico where she trained and performed with Moving People Dance Theater. At age 17 she was a all category finalist in a national dance competition which earned her an apprenticeship with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble of Denver. She soon became the company’s youngest principal dancer and toured internationally performing a vast repertory including Milton Meyers, Rosangela Silvestre and others. She also performed in New Work with the Michael Mao Dance. She has performed in Rulan Tangen’s choreography as a soloist since high school, and joined DANCING EARTH for performances at Idyllwild Arts, CA, Santa Fe Dance Festival, Arizona, and Alaska, in recognition of her Shoshone/Chinese/Latina heritage. (Photo by Colleen Minkius-Sperry)
ERIC GARCIA LOPEZ (Dancer) was born and raised in Arizona, of the Tarasco First Nation. A inspired student of the arts with special interest of photography, film production, painting, creative movement , music and the many different native cultures/traditions. He has been dancing for many years under the style known as b-boying (break dancing) and street dancing . He has taught and perform for non-profit, intergenerational, Arts and Educational Outreach under Michelle Ceballos Michot, and also trained under the guidance of Hodge Jo and Dance Worldbeat with street performances all over Phoenix. With the love of dancing, he continues to explore the many realms of the performing arts.
RIA THUNDERCLOUD (Dancer) of HoChunk/Sandia-Taos was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin and later moved to New Mexico where she grew up. Ria devoted her young years to dance by attending local dance schools, and began to compete in local, state and national dance competitions. She has won several awards and recognitions including National champion for solo dance artist and regional competitions. As a solo dance artist, Ria has performed for Gathering of Nations, 1st Annual Native E Music Awards, Moving People Dance Company, Dancing Earth, Robert Mirabal, Moving People , Brule, and guest appearance at several tribal resorts,colleges and universities. Ria is a champion pow wow fancy shawl dancer, and also dances Jingle and Ho-Chunk Applique. Ria is pursuing a BA in Dance Kansas University where she is a member of the First Nations Club and is also training with Haskell Boxing Club. ( photo by Paulo T Photography)
JOSE MERAZ (Dancer), a descendant of the First Nation Purepecha Tribe (in Spanish, Tarasco) of Indigenous Mexico. Born in the state of Washington, he was raised in Mesa,Az since he was 5 where as a troubled youth he overcame obstacles through b-boying (aka break dancing) and martial arts. A teacher, trainer and senior performer in Grupo Axe’ Capoeira Arizona since 2000, he has performed on national and local TV news media channels also including doing shows and teaching workshops at colleges, community centers and theatres throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. He recently performed for the promotional signing for the movie sequel The Twilight New Moon August 2009. Since the passing of his mother in 2003 he began attending native ceremonies and learning Danza Azteca as means to better understand himself, his people and the strong connection to TonaTzin (Mother Earth). (Photo by Colleen Minkius-Sperry)
SANDRA LAMOUCHE (Dancer) is a Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree woman) from the Bigstone Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. She has fifteen years experience in ten international styles of dance. She specializes in the hoop dance, as well as being a professional Indigenous Contemporary dancer and an emerging choreographer.
EHREN KEE NATAY ( Dancer, Musician, Artist) is a multi- artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. An affiliated member of the Navajo Nation, he is of mixed nationality – his father descending from Dine’ and Kewa Pueblo, and his mother descending from German, Irish and Cherokee ancestry. Ehren comes from a long line of artists, most notable is his grandfather Ed Lee Natay who was not only a skilled artisan but also the first American Indian to be recorded and broadcasted on the radio. Ehren has followed in this tradition, touring nationally as a singer songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. A long time visual
artist, creating works in acrylic paint, colored pencil, and marker, he recently began jewelry making at the Poeh Arts Center in the Pueblo of Pojoaque under the instruction of Fritz Casuse. His arts background and martial art training bring him to debut in 2010 summer with DANCING EARTH in the SOMOS UNO Festival and in our site-specific installation CRUDE FRACTURE with land artist Chrissie Orr.
In 2012 he was selected as SWAIA’s Rising Artist, and composed a track for Dancing Earth’s “Walking At the Edge of Water” which toured to Stanford University, Downtown Dance Festival in NYC ( courtesy of Smithsonian Museum of NYC ), and Aotearoa’s Kowhiti Festival at the Wellington Opera House in New Zealand.
In 2014 he was honored with the Rollin and Mary Ella King Fellowship from the school for Advanced Research. (Photo by Paulo T. Photography)
LISA NEVADA (NM Education coordinator, dancer) is a native New Mexican and began dancing at locally at a young age. She became a student, volunteer and performer at Keshet Dance Company in 1996 – the founding year of the organization. As of 2001 Lisa began teaching within the company as well as facilitating community outreach programs. In the spring of 2004, she was promoted to become a full time member of Keshet’s Repertory Company, becoming Rehearsal Director in 2005. Lisa has taught and performed with Keshet throughout New Mexico and the United States, receiving her B.A. and more recently her masters in Dance from the University of New Mexico in 2002. where she taught Modern I class at UNM from 2002-2003. Lisa has danced for the Bill Evans Dance Company , Donna Jewell & Co. Ecotone Physical Theatre Company and is a founding member of the Put Attention Dance Collective. (Photo by Paulo T. Photography)
ANDREA NICOLA (Dancer) started at the age of 7 at a local dance school, Lynn ‘s School of Dance in Globe, Arizona. While attending this studio she studied ballet, jazz, Hip hop, Modern/contemporary for 11 years. She is attending Scottsdale Community College majoring in Dance. She has taken workshops from different choreographers, such as Joe Termaine, Sam Watson, Ann Reinki and many others. She met and had the opportunity to understudy Dancing Earth in 2009, since then has performed with Dancing Earth in Arizona.
She is a member of Penobscot Nation and Navajo Nation. Both her parents are artists and she is continuing the arts through her body as a performing artist. ( Photo by Colleen Minkius-Sperry)
CA’MI LEONARD (Dancer and Installation Artist ) as a Dine’ Woman, born and raised within the Four Sacred Mountains, she is To’dichini (Bitter Water People) and born for the Bitani (Folded Arms People). Without formal dance training on the reservation, she began her first steps in dance and love for performing on the High School Drill Team as a dancer. This would lead her early interest in the performing arts of Ballet, film and theatre. She later entered and won Native American State & National Pageant titles and participated in the Pow Wow Circle as a Traditional Dancer. She then graduated from the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico where she studied Laban/Bartenieff Movement, Modern Dance, Flamenco & Dance History under Bill Evans, MaryAnne Santos Newhall; Jennifer Predock-Linnel, Eva Encinas-Sandoval, Judith Chazin-Bennahum & Pablo Rodarte. Other contemporary Modern, Ballet & Theatre companies and performances include Dancing Earth – Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, Santa Fe NM; Daystar – Contemporary Dance-Drama of Indian American, Rochester NY; imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Toronto Canada; Grace Ann Etcheberria-Jacobs; Ballet Amy Burnham; DreamWeaver Theatre Ensemble, Santa Fe, NM; and Modern Native Ensemble, Albuquerque NM. She currently resides in Phoenix AZ where she continues to dance and train in Modern Dance. She is an advocate, lecturer in Indigenous Dance History & Culture, and also works with Native American Communities and local schools in Education Outreach in Theatre, Dance & Indigenous History/Culture. Cami’ is a SAG Actor in film & commercials; and also directs, acts, and is a playwright in Theatre. She recently was curated by Rulan for inclusion in a performance response to SEED Broadcast installation and workshop by seed activist Rowen White, at the Santa Fe Art Institute.
AMY BECENTI (Dancer) Amy’s passion for dance began with ballet classes at age 4, followed by self training in the wilds of south-eastern Utah. Having no formal dance classes available to her, Amy staged recitals atop sand dunes and bedrock as crows and sheep dogs looked onAmy, and her dance became steeped in myth of her ancestors as well as the ancient Greek and mainstream culture. She has explored Azteca, African, Balinese, Odissi, Salsa and Swing, as well as club dancing and drum circles. In 2003 Amy discovered American Tribal Style belly dance, a form which transcends age and body type, and she continues to develop her voice as an artist of dance. She is currently a teacher in Colorado.
(Photo by Tanana Rivera)
JAQUE FRAGUA ( Dancer, Musician, Artist) is a multi-disciplined artist from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Through traditional practices in Towa ceremonies, Jaque began his journey in dance as a young child. Inspired by the vast genres of music he listened to growing up, he developed as a dancer through swing, jazz, salsa, break-dancing/hip-hop, butoh, modern, capoiera angola, and indigenous dance. He continued to develop his dance with Dancing Earth and with prolific break-dancing crews in the Southwest. He is now working and traveling extensively as a multi media , with many initiatives including mural painting and posters for http://www.honorthetreaties.org . From his cultural background, he has developed a yearning for creativity and for the intrinsic process that is Art. Experimenting with various mediums, such as aerosol, found-objects, earthworks, poetry, & music, messages of civil unrest, social justice, emotional introspection, and personal healing have heartened his unique perspective on life through art. Fragua has studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and in turn, has taught many community-based workshops, such as mural projects/public-art studies, and studio classes for figure drawing & painting. Fragua has worked with fine establishments such as Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, & Museum of Indian Arts & Culture to produce progressive/innovative exhibits concerning the plight of Native America.
KOROU Productions, of Aotearoa, led by Terri Ripeka-Crawford
Consuelo Marie de Guambana
Dancing Earth Apprentices 2011