Workshop: Rebel Acts Performance Art, UofT Centre for Drama

Facilitated by: La Pocha Nostra troupe members Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Michèle Ceballos

Michot, Saul Garcia Lopez, Erica Mott, and Roberto Sifuentes,

Hosted by: The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto

Date and time: 25-29 October 2014, 1pm to 8pm


Rebel Acts, an artistic residency hosting La Pocha Nostra performance troupe at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, is calling for participants to take part in a fiveday intensive workshop on performance art with a focus on the body as a site for creation, reinvention, memory and activism.

This intensive workshop led by troupe members Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Michèle Ceballos Michot, Saul Garcia Lopez, Erica Mott, and Roberto Sifuentes is a radical artistic and anthropological experiment in which selected artists from every imaginable artistic, ethnic and cultural background begin to negotiate common ground. Performance becomes the connective tissue and lingua franca for our temporary community of rebel artists.


In this cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary and cross-generational intensive, participants are exposed to the ‘Pocha Method,’ an eclectic combination of exercises derived from multiple traditions including performance art, experimental theatre and dance, the Suzuki method, ritual shamanism, performance games and live jam sessions. Parallel to this hands-on process, the group will analyze the creative process, the issues addressed by the work, its aesthetic currency, cultural impact and political pertinence.

Who should apply? Theatre and performance artists, experimental actors, dancers, visual artists, musicians, video artists, activists, scholars, and students of all ages interested in the topics addressed by La Pocha Nostra. Applicants must have some performance experience, and must be familiar with La Pocha Nostra’s work. Participants must be comfortable with group work and collaboration. The workshop is extremely fun but also physically and intellectually rigorous. The workshop is free of charge but participants must be available for the entire duration of the workshop.


Applicants must complete the submission form below and send it to:


APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications are due by email no later than 21 September 2014. Notification of acceptances will be given by 1 October 2014.



La Pocha Nostra Artist Bios:


Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and director of La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978. His performance work and 10 books have contributed to the debates on cultural diversity, border culture and US-Mexico relations. His art work has been presented at over eight hundred venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, Bessie and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). Gómez-Peña is a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of performance and Politics, a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency and in 2012 he was named Samuel Hoi Fellow by USA Artists.


Michèle Ceballos Michot is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, artistic director, educator, visual and performance artist and founding director of Opendance AZ. Born in NYC, mother from Mamou, Louisiana and father from Cali, Colombia, she began studying Ballet at the age of six in Bogotá, Colombia under the exiled dancer Vladimir Volski of the Bolshoi Ballet. Michèle continued her studies, under scholarship, in NYC at the National Academy of Ballet & Theatre Arts, the American Ballet Theatre School and the Joffrey Ballet School. In 1994 she joined La Pocha Nostra troupe where she continues teaching and performing throughout the world. In Phoenix, Arizona, she runs Opendance, a non-profit, arts, education and performance company offering free or by donation dance and the arts based programs, classes and performances for all ages.


Saul Garcia Lopez is a performance artist, radical director and a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. As a scholar and artist he explores the pedagogical intersections of acting, performance theory and practice, indigenous strategies of performance, ethnicity, gender, post-coloniality and indigeneity. His artistic work is body, text and multidisciplinary based and aims to dislocate/challenge assumptions of cultural representations by embodying simultaneous and contradictory identities and actions. As part of his professional development, Garcia-Lopez trained as a contemporary dancer and actor, and as a psychologist at the National University in Mexico. He also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Directing at VCA, Melbourne University, Australia, and a Drama and Film Honours Degree at WITS University, South Africa.


Erica Mott is a choreographer, puppeteer, performance maker, and cultural organizer who, through a variety of body based sculptural forms (mask, costume, object), transforms discarded materials and disregarded spaces. Using the tools of humour and surprise, she captures and heightens the magic and mystery of the mundane and invites communities to re-view and re-envision shared spaces and practices. Erica’s most recent site specific performances were featured at SOMArts (San Francisco), Ingenuity Fest (Cleveland), NES (Iceland), Museo del Ferrocarril (Mexico), Chicago Arts District Special Exhibitions Space/Artopolis, Minneapolis Fringe Festival, Chicago’s Millennium Park, and Chicago’s PAC/edge Festival. She currently serves as the Director of Education and Community at Links Hall, Chicago.


Roberto Sifuentes is an interdisciplinary performance artist and founding member of La Pocha Nostra. His work fuses highly charged cultural issues with a wild pop culture aesthetic, combining live performance with interactive technologies and video as a presentation medium. Sifuentes has exhibited work at several hundred venues throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Latin America. As a performance pedagogue Sifuentes has been Artistic Director of The Trinity College/La MaMa Performing Arts Program NYC at LaMaMa ETC, and recently the 2008 Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies at Columbus State University, Georgia. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor and Chair of Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.





  1. Participant Information: Please include your name, address, email, and telephone number where you can be reached.


  1. Are you a past La Pocha Nostra (LPN) workshop participant? For past LPN workshop participants: please indicate where and when you have worked with LPN and give us an update of your practice, including what your goals are in taking this workshop after your experience in the past. (300 words max.)
  2. Are you affiliated with an educational institution, organization, collective, etc?
  3. What is your primary artistic/activist discipline(s)?


  1. Have you explored the complex ideas of race, gender, nationality, and identity in your work? If so, please give one brief example. (500 words max.)
  2. Please provide a professional BIO (500 words max.). If you have a sample of your work online, please provide the link(s) and include a brief description of the medium, title and any other important contextual information.


  1. Please give us a brief statement of your artistic/activist goals (and desires). How might the Pocha workshop and methodology support your artistic research toward achieving them? (300 words max.)


  1. Please submit a letter of recommendation from someone that knows your work and that of La Pocha Nostra (If they are unfamiliar with La Pocha you can provide them with information, literature, links, etc.).