Awilda Rodríguez Lora aka La Performera is a performance choreographer and cultural entrepreneur. She challenges in her work the concepts of woman, sexuality, and self-determination. These concepts are explored through the use of movement, sound, and video as well as through literal instantiations of an “economy of living” that either potentiates or subtracts from her body’s “value” in the contemporary art market. Born in Mexico, raised in Puerto Rico, and working in-between North and South America and the Caribbean, Rodríguez Lora's performances traverse multiple geographic histories and realities. In this way, her work promotes progressive dialogues regarding hemispheric colonial legacies, and the unstable categories of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Rodríguez Lora has been an invited guest artist at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), New York University, the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Dance Center, and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), among others. Her solo work has been recently featured at DEFORMES Performance Biennale (Chile), Posta Sur Performance Encounter (Chile), Independence Dom (Dominican Republic) and the Miami International Performance Art Festival (USA).

Rodríguez Lora is currently a host at La Rosario in Santurce, where she is creating, researching, and producing her life project, La Mujer Maravilla, while developing new strategies for the sustainability of live arts in Puerto Rico. After more than ten years of work as a fully independent artist, she is committed to further studying how artistic economies can be harnessed to support alternative forms of life rooted in communality, creativity, and social justice.

Photo by yogi and artist Luis Bonet

"Over the last ten years of her career, Awilda Rodríguez Lora has created dynamic interdisciplinary performance works. She combines elements of dance, theater, and visual art to create thoughtful works, mostly pertaining to identity, sexuality, and gender. By exploring her own relationship to these concepts and continually pushing boundaries, Awilda’s work incites similar questions and ventures within her audience.
When I experience her work, I find myself asking, “How do I relate to my own gender and sexuality, and how do the people around me relate to theirs? How do we relate to these concepts on a larger social, cultural level? What does it mean to identify as a woman? How have I been taught to define beauty, and what does beauty actually mean?” Through a unique combination of vulnerability and inherent, potent strength, Awilda speaks to a very real and tangible human experience that has too often been silenced. The questions raised by her work are important for all of us as we navigate our own identities and encounter identities and struggles of our peers that may differ from ours. As you experience her work, I encourage you to challenge yourself to think deeply about identity. Actively consider the questions her work raises within you.
So, without further ado, Awilda Rodríguez Lora."
Written by Sam Benac student of Black Women & Performance Course/Antioch College