I was an active kid, building forts, swinging from trees, playing lost in the woods, making adventure videos, teaching myself how to backflip, double axel, unicycle ride, 3-ball juggle, and trampoline tumble. If it weren't for 13 years of being a successful competitive swimmer I might have ended up in a circus.
I fantasized about being Kristi Yamaguchi and Dominique Dawes and Janet Evans and Madonna - and prayed that I would one day end up marrying Jake from Sixteen Candles. I twirled a baton, and on any given day you might find me stapling a towel to the end of a broom stick to create a fabulous flag that I could parade with down my street. I dreamed of being in ballet classes, mostly so I could wear tights, and also so that I could be around other boys...in tights. I was great at brushing hair, making beds, talking back to my teachers, asking questions - or, rather, questioning asks. I excelled at science fair projects because my display boards were well designed and had no visible glue residue. I wish that every one of my classes growing up, including those in grad school, required some sort of mission building project. I could spend hours crafting churches made of sugar cubes and red licorice. Give me a needle and thread and I could drum up a slim-line onesie. Give me some scissors and I could turn my old worn out, barely see-through speedos into something more fun...like, a jockstrap.
I was a hairy child, the kind of kinky dark pre-pubescent fuzz, but more like ethnic fuzz, laying low to the derma not quite ready to become erect. I was latino. I am latino. I was latino. I am latino. I got caught shaving my arms and legs by a classmate in third grade, which started a maelstrom, years of abuse for being different. different. little yellow buses were not a safe space, cafeterias blistering grounds of chaos, swing sets dizzying spells of fear, tether ball rings felt more like boxing rings. My neck, still sore from looking over my shoulder, my eyes low from peering down at the ground.
I grew up in a small town called Yucaipa, raised by two working class parents: My father, a high school math teacher; My mother, a medical transcriptionist. I have hispanic grandparents who still refuse to acknowledge they're Mexican. You know, they're not "really" Mexicans: they're from Spain Mexicans (ugh). My other grandmother grew up in Korea town LA, she's not Korean.
I came out in college. I quit swimming in college. I started dancing in college. I realized I was Mexican, not Spanish, in college. I had my first drink in college. I smoked weed in college. I had sex in college. I got my first F in college. I took my first choreography class in college. I came alive in college.
I make dances.
I tell stories.
I hurl my body through space.
I articulate my body and research ideas through performance and teaching. working as a choreographer, dancer and visual artist I ask questions about gender and sexuality politics as well as how structures and strategies for dance-making are concealed/revealed or de/mystified as modes of production. I am interested in exploring ways of making visible the intersections of my own queer/latino hi(s)tories through performance and writing.
My main research project for the past 15 years is as co-artistic director, choreographer, performer, designer and producer of casebolt and smith, a duet dance theater company based in Los Angeles with artistic partner Liz Casebolt. Established in 2006, casebolt and smith is a platform for collaborative research in duet dance making, specifically which challenges the hetero-normative conventions of male/female partnerships traditionally seen in modern and contemporary performance. We continue to share our research with diverse communities throughout North America and in Europe.
Education has been an important part of my career as an artist. After receiving my MFA in Experimental Choreography from UC Riverside in 2004 I spent 9 years teaching adjunct at various colleges including Scripps College, UCLA, Cerritos College, El Camino College, and Rio Hondo College. After teaching for three years as a visiting professor in the Department of Dance at UC Riverside, I was offered a full-time tenure track position where I am now currently a tenured Associate Professor and Chair. At UCR I teach across the curriculum in the BA, MFA and PhD programs, and am co-chair of the chancellor's advisory committee on LGBTQ student, staff and faculty issues.
1995 - 2000
BA, Studio Art, University of California Davis
2001 - 2004
MFA, Experimental Choreography, University of California, Riverside