Juan Manuel Aldape/DANZAFUERZA
Juan Manuel is a queer alien with a migrant disposition and a choreographing problem. Sometimes he makes dances and other times the dances make him do things. His heart beats to the sound of cumbia. His head rages to the sound of punk. His feet swivel to the sound of banda. He’s still learning how to walk so he learned to roll in order to deal with the constant falling. His skin is the color of the desert. He comes from mountain people in Leon, MX and Salt Lake City, Utah. As a practitioner, his current work focuses on movement, migration, and mapping discourses related to undocumented spaces and choreographic processes.
Juan Manuel is an Andrew W. Mellon-Chancellor’s Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. His current project Choreotopias: Performance, State Violence, and The Near Past examines the relevance of experimental theatre and dance processes to the study of twentieth-century Mexican culture and nationalism. Juan Manuel is also a choreographer and professional dancer, as well as the co-director of the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers. He is a working-class, formerly-undocumented, queer immigrant from Mexico.
His research has been published in performance-related anthologies. His most recent publication in the Routledge anthology Performance as Research: Knowledge, Methods, Impact (2018) evaluates performance research methods, embodiment, and state violence. In 2015, his study “Choreographic Mobilities: Embodied Migratory Acts Across the Mexico-U.S. Border,” in Attending to Movement: Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World, examines choreographic discourse and return migration to conclude that migrants are spatial experts.
He is the co-organizer of the Dance Studies Working Group at UC Berkeley. The group organizes monthly panel discussions to feature choreographers creating dances in genres such as vernacular, indigenous, contemporary dance, hip-hop, and folkloric. Also, the group coordinates writing-feedback sessions for graduate students to help them improve their dance research projects. Since 2014, he has been the e-resource convener for the International Federation for Theatre Research’s Performance as Research working group.
He is the co-founder of both A PerFarmance Project and Dance Cloud. PerFarmances are site-specific collaborations between farmers and performers researching the concept of food security and labor from rural and urban perspectives. DanceCloud.org is a community of dance practitioners and researchers digitally sharing the places they explore and promoting an embodied way to think about the digital space around us. Also, he was a founding member of the Salt Lake-based improvisational dance company Movement Forum (aka MoFo).
He’s been a resident artist for venues such as the Alfredo Zalce Contemporary Art Museum (Morelia, MX), 5 Acre Farm (England), STATION-Service for Contemporary Dance (Belgrade, Serbia), Zenon Dance Company (Minneapolis, US), and Sugar Space Arts Center (Salt Lake, US).
From 2008 to 2010, he had the pleasure of dancing for Koester Dance Company and Stephen Brown Dance Theater. He produces and choreographs performances across the United States and Mexico.