Caracol Heart of the Earth - Flower of Hope


Elvira and Hortencia Colorado, Chichimec Otomi storytellers, playwrights, performers and community activists are founding members of Coatlicue Theatre Company. They are also members of danza Mexica Cetiliztli, New York Zapatistas and the American Indian Community House. The company's plays address social, political, cultural and identity issues that impact their lives and their community. Their work is based on stories they weave together which educate as well as entertain, while reaffirming their survival as urban Native American women. They have conducted storytelling/ theatre workshops. They are recipients of the Ingrid Washinawatok Community Activism Award.


Coatlicue Theatre

‘Cordel’ Choreography


In the late nineties, the Cia. de Dança Palácio das Artes intensified its focus on the dancer's creation process of artistic work. New choreographies were created--either by famous invited choreographers or by dancers in the group--such as Rodrigo Gièse's Imago, (1997), which resulted in the following shows: Entre o Céu e as Serras, Sonho de Uma Noite de Verão and Poderia Ser Rosa. Under the responsibility of Cristina Machado, the management focus of Cia. de Dança do Palácio das Artes takes advantage of the dancers' creative potentiality and stimulates and promotes research in dance. Coreografia de Cordel (2004) surpasses a past of strict identification with classical ballet. However, it keeps the professionalism of the group's early years, which was a strong characteristic of the old Corpo de Baile. The Cia. de Dança was established in 1971 by the former dancer of the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Leite (1914-95). Applying classical technique, the master ballet dancer and choreographer took the dancers to a professional level and developed the company's excellent national reputation. For more than 20 years, the group has dedicated special attention to staging major plays from the erudite repertoire and to operas produced by Palácio das Artes.

Companhia de Dança Palácio das Artes

Dancing Earth


Dancing Earth is an array of indigenous dance artists who work as a collective under the leadership of Rulan Tangen, striving to embody a unique essence of Indigenous identity and perspective by creation and renewal of artistic and cultural movement rituals. "Ancient and futuristic, our dances are an elemental language of bone and blood memory in motion. We cultivate our individual artistry on behalf of empowerment of all peoples, and create bridges for art and humanity, tradition and experimentation. Through movement, we gather with respect, inspiration and innovation. We create our works with Indigenous collaborators in the fields of music, mask making, photography, costume, light design, architecture, poetry and storytelling". With international performing backgrounds and credits on stage, street and film, choreographer Rulan Tangen is joined by musician/dancer/painter Quetzal Guerrero (Cambiva, Yacqui, Ahumeche), dancer/photographer Anthony Ch-Wl-Tas Collins (Salt river Pima, Seneca, Osage), dancer/actor/painter Alejandro Meraz (Tarasco), and painter/videographer Joaquín Newman.


Dancing Earth: Mélange of contemporary American performance

David Pleasant: President and Founder of RiddimAthon!, Inc., David Pleasant is a musical stylist who was raised in the Gullah/Geechee culture of Georgia, namely Sapelo Island, Darien/McIntosh County and Savannah. His work is driven by the wealth of African retention in the mentioned region, as well as the synthesis of that material into a peculiar resource for American culture.

David Pleasant: Mélange of contemporary American performance

Como Habitar Uma Paisagem Sonora – Projeto para uma Performance


Dudude Herrmann is one of the precursors of contemporary dance in Belo Horizonte. She is a ballerina, choreographer, theatre director and dance teacher. In the 70's she directed Grupo 1st Ato in many productions. In 1994, she created the Benvinda Cia. de Dança, proposing the investigation of dance into a contemporary language that doesn't deny its Brazilian roots and origins. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture granted her a scholarship for the National Choreographic Center of Orleans (France), an invitation that had been made by Josef Nadj, through the Project Bolsa Virtuose 2000 (Virtuose scholarship 2000). Sponsored by Programa Vitae de Artes in 2002-2003, she carried out the research "Poética de um andarilho a escrita do movimento no espaço de fora."

Marcelo Kraiser was born in Belo Horizonte in 1952. He is a visual artist, working in photography, drawing, video, soundtracks, illustration and poetry. He is a professor in the MA program in Visual Arts at Escola de Belas Artes of UFMG and carried out 9 individual exhibitions and took part in more than 30 collective exhibitions in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Doctor in Letters in Comparative Literature for FALE/UFMG. He published the following visual poetry books: Lúcia Rosas/textos, Corpos Seriais, Luna Nula and Paixão.

Dudude Herrmann & Marcelo Kraiser

Soledad y Esperanza


Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya, A.C. provides services and support to indigenous women and children in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. These indigenous women and children have moved to the city as a result of the 1994 military events in Chiapas, or for religious reasons. The majority are unfamiliar with city lifestyle and often do not speak or write Spanish. For these reasons Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya A.C. provides programs that educate women and children in Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Spanish as well as offering an extensive array of vocational skills such as tailoring, bakery, manual crafts, cultural and computer programs. In addition, Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya A.C. provides services such as childcare, women's rights education, and healthcare.



Grupo de Teatro de Bonecos Giramundo: The artist members of this group – who have been performing through its existence awarded shows such as Cobra Norato – are able to provide their puppets with the ability to interpret complex texts. "Each puppet has a different type of information". The process of creating a play demands hard work on researching.

Grupo de Teatro de Bonecos Giramundo: Cobra Norato

Galpão was founded in 1982 and is the most important drama group from Minas Gerais and one of the best-considered groups in Brazil and abroad. Some of its performances, such as Romeu e Julieta (staged in "The Globe", in London and in several countries) have made the group internationally known.

Grupo Galpão: Imaginary Molière

El Shame-man meets el Mexican't y la hija apócrifa de Frida Cola y Freddy Krugger in Brazil


Performance artist/writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña resides in San Francisco where he is artistic director of Pocha Nostra. Born in 1955 and raised in Mexico City, he came to the US in 1978. His pioneering work in performance, video, radio, installation, poetry, journalism, and cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, "extreme culture" and new technologies. A MacArthur fellow and American Book Award recipient, he is a regular contributor to National Public Radio, a writer for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico , and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). He is currently in the process of producing an artist-made DVD featuring performance and video art of his own work and the work of over 30 of his international collaborators. Designed for screenings, video installations, intelligent TV and as a pedagogic tool.

James Luna is a Luiseno Indian and lives on the La Jolla Indian Reservation. In addition to being an artist, he works as a full time academic counselor at Palomar College near his home in North County San Diego, California. Luna believes that installation/performance art, which employs a variety of media such as objects, audio, video, and slides, offers "an opportunity like no other for Indian people to express themselves without compromise in traditional art forms of ceremony, dance, oral traditions, and contemporary thought." His installations have been described as transforming gallery spaces into battlefields, where the audience is confronted with the nature of cultural identity, the tensions generated by cultural isolation, and the dangers of cultural misinterpretation from a Native perspective. Using made and found objects, Luna creates environments that function as both aesthetic and political statements.

As a "Rez" resident, he draws from personal experience and probes emotions surrounding the way people are perceived within their cultures. In his installation/performances, Luna addresses the mythology of what it means to be "Indian" in contemporary American society and exposes the hypocrisy of the dominant society,which trivializes Indian people as romantic stereotypes. Luna's installation/performance art is provocative, often dealing with difficult issues affecting Indian communities, including socio-economic problems, substance abuse, and cultural conflict. He confronts these issues head-on, using humour and satire as both counterbalance and salve, to take what he describes as "the first step in recovery". Demanding a level of audience participation, he challenges viewers to examine their own prejudices. As one reviewer wrote, "The rich reward of Luna's probing performance pieces is learning more about our own cultural perceptions, learning where the edges are, where the discomfort starts. His voice and his imagery carry the gift that a good artist can bring -the enlarging of our conscience and the increased awareness of what it means to be human."

Perforamance artist and actress Violeta Luna has collaborated with La Pocha Nostra and Guillermo Gómez-Peña since 1998. Luna has participated with distinguished theatre directos in different events in Mexico and in the United States. Her work explores the relationship between theatre and performance. Born in Mexico City, Luna studied at El Centro Universitario de Teatro, UNAM and La Casa del Teatro.


Guillermo Gómez-Peña, James Luna, and Violeta Luna

Pre-Hispanic Cabaret: The Goddessesses


Jesusa Rodríguez is a Mexican director, actress, playwright, performance artist, scenographer, entrepreneur and social activist, Jesusa Rodriguez has been called the most important woman of Mexico. Her "espectáculos" (as both spectacles and shows) challenge traditional classification, crossing with ease generic boundaries: from elite to popular to mass, from Greek tragedy to cabaret, from pre-Columbian indigenous to opera, from revue, sketch and "carpa," to performative acts within political projects. She and her partner, Argentine singer/actor Liliana Felipe, own and operate El Habito and Teatro de la Capilla, alternative performances spaces in Mexico City. They have won an Obie for Best Actor in Las Horas de Belén, A Book of Hours (1999) with Ruth Maleczech and New York-based Mabou Mines. Rodríguez contributes regularly to Mexico's most important feminist journal, Debate Feminista.

Liliana Felipe is one of Latin America's foremost singers and composers, born in Argentina in the 1950s. She left for Mexico just before the outbreak of the 'Dirty War' (1976), but her sister and brother-in-law were both 'disappeared' victims of the military dictatorship's criminal politics. In Mexico, Liliana went to one of Jesusa Rodriguez's performances. Jesusa, catching a glimpse of Felipe in the audience, remembers saying to herself: "I am going to die with that woman." Since then, Liliana and Jesusa have created two performance spaces, El Cuervo and later El Habito, which they still run. They 'married' in February, 2000. Liliana's music has a wide range of followers in Latin America. She continues to be a powerful presence in Argentina, working with human rights organizations especially H.I.J.O.S. (the organization of the children of the disappeared).


Jesusa Rodríguez & Liliana Felipe

Larry Yazzie: (Meskwaki/Dine) is a World Champion Fancy Dancer who consistently takes top honors at American Indian powwows in the United States and Canada. In 1995, he won the World Championship for the Northern Style Fancy Dance.

Larry Yazzie: Mélange of contemporary American performance

Luisa Calcumil has worked in theatre since 1975. She started as an actress, presenting twenty theatre performances and acting in five films of international importance and in various television programmes.

Luisa Calcumil: It’s Good to See Ourselves in Our Own Shadow

Arctic's (from Alaska and Greenland) performance group Pamyua reinterprets modern traditions of the Inuit and Yup'ik Eskimo through storytelling, music and dance. Pamyua performs Yup'ik danced stories that portray the traditions of the Yup'ik culture in Southwestern Alaska.

Pamyua: Live in Concert

Participants' Performances at the Praça da Estação, Parque Municipal and other alternative spaces

Throughout the Encuentro, artist participants came together and performed individual and group pieces. These included, among others:

  • Amapola Prada, (Perú)
  • Reona Brass, "Dawn" (Canada) 
  • Anadel Lynton-Snyder, "Ciclos y los Otros" (Mexico)
  • Grupo Corpo de Letra, "Das raízes ao corpo: uma performance poética" (Brasil)
  • Ilona Dougherty and Teoma Naccarato, "Oongit" (Canada)
  • Colette Jacques (Canada)
  • Ángela Girón, “Letters from the State of Chihuahua” (USA)
  • Anne Baillargeon, "She just wants to be an Actress" (Canada)
  • Guy Sioui Durand, "La Cervelle Renversée" (Canada)
  • Eduardo Flores (México)
  • Capoeira, grupo do Mestre João Angoleiro (Brazil)
  • Paola Rettore (Brazil)
  • "Dança Afro-Brasileira" workshop showing, led by Marlene Silva

Participant Performances

Quetzal Guerrero 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 Capoeira.

Quetzal Guerrero: Mélange of contemporary American performance

Susana Baca, the Peruvian vocalist who became internationally renowned with "Maria Lando," a track in the 1995 David-Byrne-produced CD The Soul of Black Peru, has often been compared to Cesaria Evora, from Cabo Verde. It's not surprising; both women have found rich material in folk traditions of their countries, and both sing songs that are rooted in gloomy emotions: pain, nostalgia, longing.

Susana Baca: Live in Concert 2005


The Kaiapós natives live in an area that is almost the size of Austria, with villages along the Xingu River, in Mato Grosso. Their territory is formed mostly by tropical forests. They call themselves "Mebengokré," but the name kaiapó was given by the neighboring native tribes. The word kaiapó means "resembling apes" and it was probably given because the men used to dance with monkey masks. "The Circles" is the name of one of this tribe's main symbols, probably given because of the circular courses of the sun and the moon. Some distinctive aspects of the Kaiapó culture are the slingshots that are still used by some men, although the new generation doesn't continue the practise. Another aspect is body painting, which is very symbolic in their culture and is done with geometric and intricate lines. It means status and social behavior. Red and black are the main colors. The wonderful parties represent another very interesting aspect of their culturet. The climax of these parties comes after a period of months, during which each ritual meticulously adheres to the group with their songs, dances and special rites appropriate for that party. The language has 17 vowels and 16 consonants, and a distinct pattern of intonation and lasting vowel used to give emphasis. 

The Kaiapó People (Mebengokré)

At the opening ceremony of the Encuentro in Belo Horizonte, led by the the Maxacalí (photo above) and the Kaiapó/Mebengokré from Brazil, representatives from indigenous groups from throughout the Americas exchanged dances, songs and words to welcome all the participants to the 10-day event.

Welcome Ritual



Zeca Ligiéro is a writer, director and drama professor. Doctor for the Department of Performance Studies of New York University. In Brazil, he is the director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, whose headquarters are in New York. He is also one of the founders of the MA course in Theater at UNI/Rio. He coordinates the Núcleo de Estudos das Performances Afro–Ameríndias that organized the first meeting of Performance e Política das Américas at UNI/Rio. In the Drama Field, he directed O Mito de Medéia, As Loucuras do Doutor Corpo Santo, As Bacantes, and Kabaret Futurista. In the USA, he adapted and directed Guimarães Rosa's The Third Bank of The River and his own Elegba Crossing, a Journey. He has books published in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Among them we can mention Divine Inspiration From Benin to Bahia, Iniciación Al Candomblé and O Teatro Infantil de Zeca Ligiéro.

Zeca Ligiéro