meet our founders
Sandra Paola López Ramírez (MFA, EdM)
Sandra Paola is an interdisciplinary dancemaker, cultural organizer, improviser and mother. She was born and raised in the luscious Andes mountains in what is currently known as Bogotá, Colombia and her relationship to the Andean landscape, the music and dances from Afro and indigenous peoples in this territory and her mixed heritage deeply influences her artistic work and activism. Sandra Paola now lives in the Chihuahuan desert straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, another beautiful and complex region that has shaped her understanding of the connection between body, ancestral memory and land. In her decades of work, she has developed her practice to radically integrate her creative process and her community organizing efforts creating small and large scale works that activate public spaces, non-traditional and formal performance venues, and natural landscapes. Her commitment to transformation and healing is mostly manifested in the work of the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action (ImprovISA), an organization that she co-founded and directs. Sandra Paola holds a M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts with a concentration on Performance Creation from Goddard College and a Master in Education with a focus on Aesthetics from the University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign.
For more information visit sandrapaolalopez.com
Chris Reyman (DMA)
Chris Reyman comes from a musical family and began performing professionally with his father when he was fifteen. He completed his BM in Commercial Music at Millikin University (2003) and his MM (2006) and DMA in Jazz Performance (2011) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He performs in jazz and improvisation ensembles, most notably the Koan Ensemble. In addition to performing, he has composed scores for award winning short films that have been screened at over one hundred film festivals in twenty-five countries. His research focusing on improvisation has been presented in New York City, Paris, at the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium 2014 and 2016, New Mexico and throughout Texas. Chris Reyman is a dedicated professor of music at the University of Texas at El Paso where he works with students on creative music practices through performance, composition, and collaborative music making. For more information visit chrisreyman.com