Bio

Vanessa is a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow for her use of dance for social change!

Vanessa Sanchez is a Chicana Native dancer, educator and choreographer who focuses on community arts education and multi-cultural dance forms. Sanchez is a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow and a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts 2019 National Dance Production Grant for her work “Pachuquísmo!” Her work often takes percussive art forms out of their traditional context to create dialogue in a new setting, using percussion as the language to tell a story. Sanchez is interested in fusing various dance styles to address the complexities of contemporary culture and tell the untold stories of communities of color. She holds a degree in Dance and Education from San Francisco State University. As a dedicated and experienced arts educator in the latinx community, she works to ensure accessibility to quality arts training and performances. Sanchez is a San Francisco Bay Area native and the founding Artistic Director of the multi-disciplinary performance ensemble, La Mezcla. Her work has been shown on stages throughout the United States, Mexico and Portugal. Vanessa is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Brava! for the Women in the Arts and co-directs Loco Bloco’s Performance Ensemble. She currently collaborates with Dance Mission Theater as a teaching artist for Baile Colectivo, a project that provides free dance and wellness classes for laborers in San Francisco, and as the co-director of the Mission Youth Arts Festival, an annual festival that highlights youth artists from San Francisco’s Mission District. 

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Afro-Cuban class, San Francisco, Ca

For over a decade, Vanessa has been dancing and performing in the Bay Area and beyond with groups including Bomberas de la Bahia (Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba), Afoutayi (Afro-Haitian), Arenas Dance Company (Afro-Cuban), Aguas da Bahia (Afro-Brazilian), and Duniya Dance and Drum Company (Bhangra/Bollywood/West African). She has performed throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe at events including San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Bomplenazo (Bronx, New York),  El Festival de las Brujas (Veracruz, Mexico) and at Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Photo taken by Jean Melesaine

As a choreographer, Vanessa utilizes a wide range of styles and rhythms. She has created choreography for shows including the Singing Bois’ “Queerstory of a Boy Band,” Dance Brigade’s “Gracias a la Vida,” and John Jota Leanos’ “Imperial Silence- Una Opera Muerta.” As Director and Choreographer of La Mezcla, she strives to explore the connection between polyrhythms and movement, while maintaining a Social Justice focus. Her work has appeared in CubaCaribe, D.I.R.T. Political Dance Festival, and Eastside Art’s Live Arts in Resistance, as well as full length self-produced productions. Vanessa has been in artist-in-residence at East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland and Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Ruth Asawa’s School of the Arts in the World Dance department.

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Performing at YBCA, choreography created for Dance Brigade

With a background in dance education and over 20 years of dance training, Vanessa is an accomplished teaching artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her teaching skills range from preschool and elementary aged classes, to adult classes of all levels, as well as mentoring new teaching artists. Vanessa currently teaches with various local non-profit arts organizations. She is available for private classes, workshops, and choreography sessions!

For inquiries about choreographic work or group/private classes, please see Contact page.