Maura Garcia

Maura García (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) is a Dancer and Choreographer who creates contemporary Indigenous performance. 

Her work is powered by a desire to perpetuate ancestral knowledge, actively respect the living earth, and bring happiness to people. Maura’s artistic creations reflect the power of stories to form and change our realities. Through narrative-driven choreography and beat-embracing movement, she seeks to form connections, empower Indigenous cultural values, and explore the rhythms of the natural world.

Both as a soloist and with ensembles, she has performed throughout North America, notably at: La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (NY, USA), The Dance Centre (BC, Canada), New York Theater Workshop (NY, USA), Woodland Cultural Centre (ON, Canada), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (AR, USA), the ArtsCenter (NC), Atlas Performing Arts Center (DC), Dance Place (DC), Disney World (FL), Embassy of Senegal (DC), Kansas City Repertory Theater (MO), Lawrence Arts Center (KS), Links Hall (IL), Rhythmically Speaking Festival (MN), Talking Stick Festival (BC, Canada), Unedited Series (SC), University of Arizona, University of South Carolina, Walker Arts Center (MN) and the Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival (ON, Canada).

In addition to dance for the stage, Maura choreographs for the outdoors and in response to specific places. She is particularly interested in creating stunning performance that is accessible, sustainable, and has a low carbon footprint. Her first commission was a performance for the Charleston Library Society (SC) incorporating interviews with library patrons, local Indigenous Natchez creation stories, and audience participation.
In 2015, the Ackland Art Museum (NC) commissioned her to make a performance in collaboration with sound artist Mark Gabriel Little in response to their featured exhibition.
The following year, the inaugural event for Kansas City’s “Art in the Loop” outdoor performance series was a dance Maura created in collaboration with park passersby and city employees.
In 2019, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presented a locally-specific remount of her work that took place in 3 different outdoor sites in northwest Arkansas.

As a fellow in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s 2016 Artist Leadership Program, she worked with members of the Kansas City Indian Center and local Indigenous artists to realize an 8-month long arts project exploring ancient and contemporary urban Indian identity.

Maura is dedicated to collaborating within Indigenous communities to celebrate group narratives through dance and other art forms. To date she has partnered with numerous organizations to carry out workshops and long-term projects, including Haskell Indian Nations University (KS, USA), Warm Springs Reservation (various agencies), and Onkwehón:we Original People’s Festival (ON, Canada), American Indian Mothers (NC), First Nations Graduate Association (NC), First Nations Student Association at the University of Kansas, Ikidowin Peer Educators and Acting Ensemble (MN), Kansas City Cherokee Community (KS/MO), Native Youth Inaugural Event (DC), and Two Rivers Gallery (MN).
Maura is sought out for her community engagement and cultural advocacy work. She has facilitated master classes and residencies in the public schools, for national professional conferences, trauma support groups and universities.

Through activist essays and panel speaking she has addressed issues from sustainability in the arts to the cultural rights of Native American students. Maura has completed both the Dismantling Racism Works and artEquity Facilitator Training programs.
She has been the recipient of numerous honors: Western Arts Alliance Native Launchpad Artist (national, USA), Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training program (national, USA), Full Circle First Nations Performance development grant (BC, Canada), guest artist studio award from the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dramatic Art (NC, USA), Charlotte Street Foundation’s Urban Culture Projects Studio Residency Award (MO), Heads in the Clouds development program (AB, Canada), Jewish Community Center's Community Arts Fellowship Grant (KS) and the Rocket Grant Project Award (KS/MO). 

Maura has served as an adjudicator for dance festivals and grants including the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, the NEA's Art Works grant and the MAP Fund.

Maura currently resides on A-ma-ye-(t)li, also known as turtle island. She believes that every interaction with a living being is an opportunity to positively affect the world. As she travels the world, she continues to seek out opportunities that will allow her to dance, connect and create with others.

First Nations Performing Arts Partnership Artist | September 25 - 30, 2021 Site-visit with Emily Johnson

Ꮟ ᎠᏂᏬᏂ They Are Still Talking

As the first of three artists to be supported through MANCC’s pilot residency in collaboration with First Nations Performing Arts, Maura García will come to MANCC for the first time to develop Ꮟ ᎠᏂᏬᏂ They Are Still Talking, a four-part homage to native peoples’ connections to their ancestors through air, gesture, inter-generational trauma, and laughter. The work explores ancestral messages through the lens of Cherokee language and traditional teachings about two-spirit people and women. The full work will include live Cherokee language narration, dancers, and live musicians, and García is exploring the possibility of developing an outdoor iteration designed to be performed in the mouth of a cave.

Recognizing in her travels that she is often a stranger, visitor, and guest (invited or not), García notes that while she cannot know the protocol of every place she visits, she always stands on Cherokee protocol as the way to interact with people because it is the home she understands. While at MANCC, she hopes to begin by connecting with the local indigenous community through introductions that allow her to offer an inroad to her work as an artist. She plans to work with local community members as part of her creative process and to share open rehearsals, showings, community workshops, and artist talks, basing these events around community dialogue and needs.
This FNPA partnership is intended to ensure regular support of indigenous dance and performance artists and indigenous writers by MANCC, including an introductory site-visit followed by a full residency. This model is similar to that which we have developed with Urban Bush Women, a partnership now in its third year. Maura García is the pilot First Nations Performing Arts partnership artist - Cherokee (non-enrolled)/Mattamuskeet - and was recommended by the First Nations Performing Arts’s Advisory Council.

On the partnership, Garcia writes, "I'm excited about uninterrupted space and time that is completely dedicated to the creation of work; the opportunity to unravel slowly so that things that are hidden can come up...and to do so with the community. What will come out of people moving and creating together is exciting to me. I think this partnership with First Nations Performing Arts has the potential to uplift the field of Indigenous people who are creating work in what is called the U.S. and also to create a community of people who have had this time and space and can recognize the importance of their work in the world and the effects it has."

This partnership is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


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Film Release

Joanna Kotze

Nothings changed
except for everything

Jan 11 - Feb 12


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