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 Alicia  Díaz
Alicia Díaz
Associate Professor of Dance
Africana Studies Advisory Board Member

Alicia Díaz joined The University of Richmond in 2011 where she now serves as associate professor of dance. She teaches contemporary dance, improvisation, choreography, and community-engaged courses centered on dance for social change.

As a Puerto Rican contemporary dance artist in the diaspora Alicia’s work speaks to issues of memory, colonialism, and the legacy of slavery. Recent collaborations with percussionist Héctor “Coco” Barez engage Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba as a point of reference to investigate embodied forms of resistance, healing, and liberation. Alicia received the 2020 Community-Engaged Scholarship Award from the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, recognizing her work with the Tucker Boatwright Festival: Dancing Histories, This Ground’s commission of Brother General Gabriel, co-directed by Free Bangura and MK Abadoo; the collaborative video project "Knowledge of This Cannot be Hidden" Westham Burying Ground Commemorative Act, on the history of the unmarked burial ground for enslaved people at UR; and the award-winning dance film Entre Puerto Rico y Richmond: Women in Resistance Shall Not Be Moved, weaving stories of anti-colonial and feminist activism through the history of tobacco in Puerto Rico and Virginia.

Alicia has performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Andanza: Puerto Rican Contemporary Dance Company, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Maida Withers Dance Construction Company, Marion Ramírez and Sally Silvers amongst others. She has co-directed Rubí Theatre, a Latinx, intergenerational theater ensemble in New York City; en la brega dance company, with Puerto Rican dance artist Ñequi González; and Agua Dulce Dance Theater, with movement artist Matthew Thornton, creating works for concert dance, museums, and site-specific locations. Her work has been presented in the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina, and Mexico.

Alicia serves on the Board of Pepatián: Bronx Arts ColLABorative, an organization that supports Latinx, Black, Afro-Latinx, Caribbean, Latin American, and indigenous artists. Alicia's work is featured in the recent publication Inhabiting the Impossible: Dance and Experimentation in Puerto Rico, the first book of its kind to survey the field of Puerto Rican experimental dance across four decades.


We Must Say Her Name: Activating Dance as a Tool for Social Change. 6PIC Blackademic Panel and Excellence Mixer. Hosted by Initiatives of Change, USA, I AM MY LIFE, and 6PIC Innovation Center. 2019.

Opening remarks: Pepatián Documentary, "Out of La Negrura/Out of Blackness." Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University. 2018.

Improvisation and Diasporic Memory: A Performance Lecture. Cabral Center, John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.  March 29, 2018.

Diasporic Body Grammar: An Encounter of Movement and Words. Wilson College’s Black Box Theater, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. December 2, 2016.

Improvising Identity: Bomba as a Point of Reference Between a Contemporary Dance Artist and a Percussionist. Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY. May 14, 2016.

How...Do You Dance in Response to Works of Art? The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). May 15, 2015.

Landscapes of Dance Making: An Embodied Practice. The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, The University of Richmond. February 25, 2015.

Capoeira: Afro-Brazilian Martial Art Hidden in Dance. Boatwright Library, The University of Richmond. November 9, 2011.

Selected Publications

Latino Dance Forms in The United States. The Encyclopedia of Latinos in the United States.  Oxford University Press (2005) 

Featured in: Authentic Movement: Find Yourself in the Steps, by Shayna Samuels, Dance Magazine (July 2004).

Bomba, Capoeira, B-boying: Embodies forms of resistance in the African Diaspora,  Washington Square News, (March 2, 2004).

M.F.A., George Washington University
M.A., New York University
B.A., New School for Social Research
Contact Information
223 Booker Hall
(804) 287-6350
(804) 287-1841 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Contemporary Dance
Dance and Activism
Co-director of Agua Dulce Dance Theater