Dr. Brianna Figueroa
Theatre and Dance
Describe your research in about 200 words.
I am a dance maker whose practice informs my work as a dance historian and theorist. My research advocates for the presence and proliferation of Latinx contemporary choreographers living and working across the United States. I concentrate on the environment, both historic and present, in which Latinx dancers formulate, negotiate, and express their varied identities through physical performance. This project draws attention to the cultural labor that Latinx artists are undertaking when they publicly ground their stories in their bodies, especially as they weave in an out of dismissive or even adversarial arts infrastructure. My aim is to highlight the shortage of culturally responsive dance/arts programming in the U.S. while demonstrating a need (and ways) for more meaningful community engagement around, and contextualization of, Latinx dance-making.
What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?
Because my work has a large experiential and expressive element, I am constantly in contact with students whose lived histories combined with their creativity and imagination are expanding my own world view. Ultimately, I’ve learned that my students need me to model my own vulnerability before they feel brave enough to unlock all that they have to offer. It’s a very scary place to teach from but incredibly rewarding.