James Moreno

  • Dance
  • Chicago, IL

James Moreno is a third-generation Mexican-American choreographer, theatre-maker, and Performance Studies scholar. He uses performance to investigate how people use their bodies to create meaning, develop communities,
and respond to social systems.

Moreno’s choreography and “screendances” (dances for the camera) have been presented nationally and internationally. He received a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University in 2012 and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2011, teaching at the University of Panamá
in Panamá City, Panamá and working as a Visiting Guest Artist at the National Dance of Panamá. His book, Dances of José Limón and Erick Hawkins, was published by Routledge in 2020.

Moreno’s work responds to Latinx issues through his experience of being raised in a fully-assimilated, English-only home where his Mexican heritage was often downplayed. He identifies with and uses the term “pocho” to explore the contradictions of not being “enough,” (i.e. “culturally authentic”) while still being “excessive” (i.e., brown). He seeks to use his pochismo to provoke dialogue around national identity and belonging. (“Pocho” is a Spanish term that has traditionally been used pejoratively to refer to Mexican Americans who abandoned their culture.)

Moreno has danced the choreography of many iconic mid-twentieth-century choreographers, including José Limón, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. He has also danced work by leading contemporary choreographers, including Lucinda Childs, Zvi Gotheiner, Hwai-min Lin (Cloudgate Dance Theatre), and Elise Monte. Drawing on his performance experience, Moreno’s work maintains a dialogue with a broad range of choreographic and multi-disciplinary