Indigenous Choreographers at UC Riverside

April 29, May 5, 7-8 conference welcomes Native dancers and scholars

Emily Johnson in Niicugni. Photo credit: Cameron Wittig

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Indigenous choreographers and dance scholars from the United States, Canada and New Zealand will gather at the University of California, Riverside April 29, and May 5, 7, and 8, to explore connections between traditional and contemporary dance and Native traditions, spiritual healing and understandings of how to live as a Native person in the world.

The Indigenous Choreographers Riverside (ICR) conference is free and open to the public. Parking permits for events at UCR are available at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

Tanya Lukin Linklater, the 400 blows, 2013 Photo credit: Courtesy of the Artist

Tanya Lukin Linklater, the 400 blows, 2013
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Artist

The conference has been bringing Indigenous choreographers to the UC Riverside campus to share work with students and local community members for over a decade. The project promotes Indigenous dance and fosters discussion about the field of Indigenous choreography. “The UCR Department of Dance has a history of being in the forefront of cultural dance studies,” said Jacqueline Shea Murphy, chair of the dance department.

IRC is presented by the Department of Dance, with additional support from the Culver Center of the Arts, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Costo Chair of American Indian Affairs, and the City of Riverside.

The conference kicks off on April 29, with the Indigenous Choreographers Residency Workshop put on by Rulan Tangen, the director of Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. It will take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the dance studio at ARTS 100.

The conference continues on May 5 from 3:30-8:30 p.m. at the Culver Center of the Arts, with the following events:

  • 3:30 p.m. – Cahuilla Continuum: Tuka, Ivax, Tuleka – an exhibition that tells the story of the Cahuilla, a group of Southern California Native people. The past, present, and future of this vital, Indigenous community is brought to life through baskets, branding irons, paintings, photographs and much more.
  • 4:30 p.m. – Laying our Foot Fall: Hands (and Feet) – a vibrant contemporary Pacific dance/art workshop by Transformance Lab. Art activities include personalizing a pair of white canvas shoes with Indigenous inspired motifs. (RSVP for this event is required, and please provide a shoe size. Contact:
  • 6:30 p.m. – How We Show Up – a community gathering curated by Jack Gray.
  • 7:30 p.m. – Guahu Guahan – a contemporary Chamorro performance written, composed and performed by Dakot-ta Alcantara-Camacho and directed by Jack Gray. It renews the collective shards of sacred identities.
Dakot-ta Alcantara-Camacho, Lenapehoking Transformance Photo credit: Roldy Aguer- Ablao

Dakot-ta Alcantara-Camacho, Lenapehoking Transformance
Photo credit: Roldy Aguer- Ablao

On May 7, there will be a performance at 7:15 p.m., followed by a panel discussion from 8:45-9:30 p.m. at the Culver Center of the Arts.

The conference ends with a daylong symposium on May 8, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. This symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners of Indigenous dance to discuss recent work in the field. It will open with brief statements on the topic of “Indigenous Dance Today,” and continue with presentations and discussion of scholarly contributions to an upcoming Dance Research Journal (DRJ) special issue on the topic. Essay contributors will each present a 10-minute “scholarship slam” on their research. The day will continue with detailed discussion of presenters’ essays, and conclude with an opportunity for more general discussion of the topic of Indigenous Dance Today. The meeting is open to the public, but space is limited and RSVP is required –


Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-5893
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Jacqueline Shea Murphy
Tel: (951) 827-3245

Kathleen DeAtley
Tel: (951) 827-3245

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