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Kiri Avelar

Artist 
Educator
Scholar
 

Quién soy

Kiri Avelar (she/ella), MFA, is a fronteriza artist-scholar and educator from the U.S./Mexico borderlands of El Paso, Texas/Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. The movement between her cultures in the borderlands and time lived away from her homeland has shaped her interest in accessible, inclusive teaching-research practices anchored in Chicana/Latina feminist epistemologies, border studies, and interdisciplinary frameworks. Her teaching philosophy employs an intersection of translanguaging, sentipensante (sensing/thinking), border/transformative, nepantla, and critical dance pedagogies to facilitate the potential for liberatory research, teaching-learning, and creative practices.

A former Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellow for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and NYU Teaching Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, her work (re)maps transnational dance histories of the Latinx diaspora to provoke thought around border(less) experiences and contributions in/beyond the U.S. and challenge notions of transborder latinidades in historical and contemporary contexts through film and screendance, embodied oral histories, photographic essays and collages, poetry, soundscapes, and digital mappings.

Her interdisciplinary work has been presented in the Southwestern United States, Northern Mexico, and New York City, including El Chamizal National Memorial Theater, Teatro INBA, El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, the Apollo Theater, The United Palace Theater, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Ballet Hispánico, the National Dance Institute, and Lincoln Center Outdoors. She has published in the Journal of Dance Education, Dance Index, Hispanic Outlook on Education, Critical Storytelling from the Borderlands, Border Crossings: Exile and American Modern Dance, and the forthcoming anthology ¡Somos Tejanas! Chicana Identity and Culture in Texas edited by Jody A. Marín and Norma E. Cantú.

She is the founding director of La Academia de Ballet Emmanuel—a dance program she collaboratively established with her community in the U.S./Mexico borderlands for the Hogar de Niños Emmanuel orphanage in Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, where she has worked with her family since 1999. Her advocacy continues through scholarly research in collaboration with the José Limón Dance Foundation, as a member of the Research Committee for the National Dance Education Organization, and through the co-development of the Latinx Dance Educators Alliance (LXDEA). Her curatorial practice includes an ongoing conversational series for dance educators, Plática with LXDEA, co-curating the exhibition, The Mestizo as Ambassador: José Limón and the Transculturation of American Modern Dance for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and the international tour of the exhibition, José Limón: embajador mexicano-americano de la danza moderna for the Galería Arte Binario in Mexico City.

Following her 11-year tenure with Ballet Hispánico in New York City as a teaching artist, dance faculty, choreographer, performing artist, and Deputy School Director, she is pursuing her doctoral studies as a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Photography Credits: Kiri Avelar, John Evans, Paula Lobo

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