The Piñata Dance Collective

Event has passed (Sun May 4, 2014 - Sun May 4, 2014)
Shawl Anderson Dance Center
4:00 PM
$5 - $50
Dance (performance), Theater / Performance Arts


Choreographer and artistic director of the Piñata Dance Collective, Liz Boubion, was recently accepted to a prestigious month-long artist residency, 360 XOCHI QUETZAL, in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. The program’s mission is to is to support artists, writers, and musicians who would benefit from having uninterrupted time to devote to their creativity. Boubion was one of three artists chosen from a pool of 160 applicants. In celebration, she is hosting a benefit performance entitled “Piñata Dance Ritual,” featuring nine dancers and performing artists, all of whom display the diversity in cultural background and artistic practice that has defined Boubion’s work. The performance will feature two traditional Chinese dancers, an Aztec dancer, and six contemporary dancers and musicians who will take the audience on a visual and musical journey through the history of La Piñata. Audience members will also have the option to participate in a blindfolded exploration and other interesting surprises.

For the last several years, Boubion has collaborated with a variety of interdisciplinary artists to deconstruct piñata rituals in theaters, galleries, and outdoor landscapes across the Bay Area. Identity, impermanence, and sustainability are the dominant themes in Boubion’s work. Her choice of subject, the piñata, has enabled everything from engaging with environmental crisis and human exploitation of the land, to exploring mixed-race identity, and breakthrough metaphors—all through reclaiming the lost meanings of indigenous piñata rituals.

Boubion’s ongoing Piñata Dance project is also going to be taken into more schools this year, to further the artist’s mission of building community and breaking through ideas of identity through the impermanent nature of movement. She is also currently a guest artist at CSU East Bay, where they will perform a Piñata Dance on May 9 and 10. In her teaching and performance, Boubion hopes to stress the creative process as a necessary element in sustainability. “Like dance, like the body, La Piñata is an temporary art form that is made to be destroyed,” Boubion has explained. “It has a birth, death, and rebirth cycle that I find very sustainable, and fodder for endless exploration.

Tickets: $5-50 sliding scale: Cash, check, or credit card OK. Pay at the door.
For photos, interviews, and more information, email: [email protected]
For information on Liz Boubion’s Indiegogo campaign, visit:
All proceeds will go towards Liz Boubion’s month long residency in Mexico and to the artists of the Piñata Dance Collective.

FB Link:

Performers include Liz Boubion (direction, choreography, and performance) in collaboration with:

Jeanette Male, Dominique Nigro, Sophie Stanley (contemporary dance trio)
Cuauhtemoc Mitote Peranda (traditional Aztec dance for Huitzilopochtli)
Katherine He (traditional Chinese dance)
Bricine Mitchell, Rebeca Sanchez Glazer, Meghan Ballog, and all other performers (improvisation)
Afia Walking Tree, Regina Wells, Bricine Mitchell (Live Music)

To donate to Boubion’s campaign and receive free tickets to the show, view her Indiegogo campaign video, "Help Liz Dance in Mexico!" here:
Participating Artists:

Liz Boubion, MFA, RSMT, is a Contemporary-Modern Dance Choreographer and Registered Somatic Movement Therapist based in Oakland, CA. She has a BA degree in Dance from CSU Long Beach (1993), a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies (2011), and is an associate teacher of the Tamalpa Institute (since 2006). She teaches professional level modern dance, contact improvisation, movement and music for elders with memory loss, and Tamalpa Life/Art workshops. Boubion has taught at local university dance departments (including St. Mary’s College, Dominican College, San Francisco State University, and CSU East Bay). In 2011, Boubion founded the Piñata Dance Collective, a project-based collaboration of artists dedicated to social and environmental wellness in the arts.

Praise for Boubion’s Work:

“Liz is a riveting dancer. Her voice is articulate and relevant with the themes and cultural metaphors she is exploring.”
Daria Halprin, Co-Founder of the Tamalpa Institute

“Elizabeth Boubion is a beautiful dancer and performer. Her work is strongly influenced by her desire to put a spotlight on what is beautiful in the world as well as what needs to be changed or made fair.”
Jeff Slayton, Master Teacher/1st generation Merce Cunningham Company

Katherine He has been dancing with Fei Tian Dancers since 2007. Since moving to Oakland in 2012, Kat has expanded her dance vocabulary from traditional Chinese dance to include jazz and modern technique. When she isn't dancing, He bikes around the Bay Area, works for nonprofits, and bakes pies.

Jeanette Male began her dance training at City College of San Francisco and then went on to study at Arte XXI: Escuela de Danza in Buenos Aires, and at the Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York. After receiving her BFA in Dance (Magna Cum Laude) from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Male relocated to Oakland, CA, where she received her MFA in Dance at Mills College. She has performed with the Mills Repertory Company, CCSF Repertory Company, HERPIC Dance, Ishika Seth and Dancers, and most recently with BadMarMar (Seattle, WA) and with WaxPoets (San Francisco, CA). Male is also a professional performer and teacher of Argentine Tango, and is part of the dance faculty at City College of San Francisco.

Bricine Mitchell is currently a performing artist based in the Bay Area. Mitchell has spent nearly a decade living and performing in New York City, on the stage and in film as an actor, dancer, and violinist. She landed back in the Bay nearly seven years ago, journeyed into motherhood, and departed from the collaborating and performing realm. She recently completed Level 1 Tamalpa Training and has been a collaborating artist with the Piñata Dance Collective since 2012.

Cuauhtémoc Mitote, MFA (Xicano/Aztec & Mescalero Apache), is a choreographer, performer, and dance teaching artist from Santa Cruz, CA. His artistry is rooted in Danza Azteca, contemporary dance, vogue & hip-hop, Butoh, and performance art. Since the age of 15, he has performed regularly as a freelance artist and continues to teach dance to his communities. A graduate of Stanford University and Mills College, he now creates new artwork through his Cuauhtemoc Mitote Dance Company.

Dominique Nigro is an artist who has worked with Bay Area artists Ara-Glenn Johansen, Antione Hunter, Paco Gomes, Cera Byer, Kyra Rice, and Hiroko Tamano. Nigro has been collaborating with the Piñata Dance Collective since 2011.

Matthew Sigal is a sound engineer, designer, filmmaker, producer, permaculturalist, and builder. Sigal was based in Manhattan, NY for 15 years, started Tammany Farm, and now lives in a tee-pee in Green Valley Village intentional community in Sebastopol, CA. Matthew has created with the Piñata Dance Collective since 2012.

Sophie Stanley relocated to California from England in the fall of 2012. After several years as a member of the British integrated dance company, Stopgap, Stanley connected with Axis here in the East Bay, dancing as a guest artist in Alex Ketley's new dance for camera. She is currently very happy to be dancing with Risa Jaroslow and embarking on this project with Piñata Dance Collective.

Afia Walking Tree is a world-class percussionist, and a pioneer in the women’s drumming movement. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Afia co-founded Sistah’s Steppin in Pride and the Underground Drum Sanctuary in Oakland in 2002. She currently utilizes the drum as a vehicle for social and environmental change as a permaculturist, leadership development advocate, and international diversity trainer. Her lyrics are evolutionary teachings, addressing present day issues of social justice and healing. Afia has been collaborating and co-producing Piñata Dances since 2011.

Regina Wells is a Rosen Method instructor as well as a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. She performs her own music and collaborates with Afia Walking Tree, Carolyn Brandy, and several other Bay Area musicians.

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  1. Shawl Anderson Dance Center 2704 Alcatraz Ave, Berkeley, CA