Kiri Avelar is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and scholar working to embody, honor, and challenge space for Latinx identities to be expressed. A 2020 Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellow for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, her scholarly research Descubriendo Latinx: The Hidden Text in American Modern Dance, visibilizes the Latinx diasporic presence in the early American modern dance canon as a way to retell our collective dance histories, shifting the narrative through a re-examination of the archive. Her correlating artistic practice is designed to further provoke thought around the artistic, physical, and cultural borderless experience of Latinx artists in America, and immerses audiences in unique spaces to explore themes of ruido, mestiza consciousness, intersectionality, migration, and Latinidades through film, embodied oral history performances, interactive screendance, and soundscapes.
Ms. Avelar’s teaching philosophy employs an intersection of teaching practices through a Latinx inquiry of culturally responsive, translanguaging, and critical dance pedagogies, centering Chicana/Latina Feminist methodologies and pedagogies of testimonio and plática. Most recently awarded a Teaching Fellowship through NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Ms. Avelar will be developing curricular work for K-12 public schools around the theme, Developing Critical Pedagogies of Care in our Schools, exploring language, culture, immigration, race, contemporary politics, indigeneity and identity in the dance classroom. As Founding Director of the Academia de Ballet Emmanuel, an after-school dance program for the children of Hogar de Niños Emmanuel Orphanage in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, she continues to advocate for dance through co-founded initiatives that hold space for collaborative community expression: The Latinx Dance Educators Alliance, a resource site for dance educators, and ColectivXs, an interdisciplinary artist collective.
Having studied as a scholarship recipient at the Boston Ballet School, and more extensively in the New Mexico/Texas borderland region and Madrid, Spain, Ms. Avelar has performed with the Milwaukee Ballet, Cor Ignis Contemporary Dance, Sol y Arena Spanish Dance, American Bolero Dance Company, and as an independent artist. She is Associate Curator for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' exhibition,The Mestizo as Ambassador: José Limón and the Transculturation of American Modern Dance at Lincoln Center, and working in collaboration with the José Limón Dance Foundation on scholarly research in celebration of their 75th anniversary. She holds an MFA in Dance from Rutgers University, and a BA in Dance with honors from New Mexico State University. Fronteriza de El Paso, Texas/Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, México, Ms. Avelar resides in New York City, serving as Deputy School Director and teaching faculty for Ballet Hispánico, and for the National Dance Education Organization's Research Committee.