Jessica L. Peña Torres

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Jessica L. Peña Torres is a dancer/choreographer focused on Mexican identity and performance. In 2014, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Texas—Pan American (UTPA, now The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) with a B.A. in Dance, B.A. in Theatre and a minor in Spanish. At UTPA, Peña Torres performed with the Latino Theatre Initiatives, the UTPA Dance Ensemble and the UTPA Ballet Folklórico. In 2020, Peña Torres obtained an M.A. in Theatre with a specialization in performance as public practice from The University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, Peña Torres founded The Latinx Theatre Initiative, a student organization that centers Latinx arts and culture. She is now a Ph.D. student in the Performance as Public Practice program, where she is studying ballet folklórico and Mexican modern dance through a social, political and cultural lens. In both Mexico and the U.S, Peña Torres has had a chance to work and perform for big and small arts organizations, such as Shakespeare Theatre Company, Maru Montero Dance Company, Academia de Danza Condesa, Compañía de Danza Kaana and the Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México de Silvia Lozano. With her company, Coctel Explosivo, she created the dance-theatre piece México (expropiado), a performance of her masters’ thesis work which satirizes the origins of the ballet folklórico form in 1950's Mexico City.


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