Performance Artist

Actor, dancer, choreographer, performance artist and educator, Juan Ybarra Ysunza was born in 1957 in Mexico City. His diverse training and experience has enabled him to cross several cultural borders. As an actor he has worked with some of the most important theater directors in Mexico and participated in several experimental films. In the art world he has performed internationally as a performance artist. His experience in pedagogy and his passionate belief in the power of education have led him to teach not only on the university level but also in grassroots community centers.

Since the beginning of his career, he has explored the possibilities of expression within the body. From Laban to Alexander’s Technique; from Lecoq and Decroux to Butoh Dance; from Martial Arts to Circus, Contact Improvisation and Chi Cultivation, Ybarra-Ysunza’s diverse work is the result of a constant search to reawaken in the body its extraordinary capacity to physicalize concepts and ideas. He has fused these diverse disciplines and techniques to create a unique style of movement to confront and question issues concerning the power structures inherent in race relations, institutional religion, violence, gender and class. Ybarra-Ysunza uses physicality to redefine and expand the possibilities of expression; to articulate and reflect on the complexity of our times from a more human perspective.

Ybarra-Ysunza studied acting in the Centro Universitario de Teatro, (CUT) at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) (1979-82). Since 1990, he has been involved in pedagogy teaching in Mexico City at the University Center of Theatre, the National Institute of Fine Arts, and La Casa del Teatro. He has been working in several programs in community centers with youth on probation or involved in gangs in the most conflictive areas of the outskirts surrounding Mexico City. In 1997 he received a grant from the National Fund for Arts and Culture (FONCA-Mexico) for his trajectory as an actor. In 1998 the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA-Mexico) and the National Fund for Arts and Culture gave him a grant to participate in a three-year residency (1998-2001) at L’ Ecole de Mime de Montreal, Canada.

In 1998 Ybarra Ysunza’s career took a new direction becoming more focused as a multidisciplinary artist throughout his constant collaborations with Guillermo Gómez-Peña, artistic director of La Pocha Nostra. His work is now embracing a combination of performance art, installation, video, spoken word and guerilla digital art.

Ybarra-Ysunza has performed in festivals throughout Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Australia and the United States.




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Alexis McKee

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