Yvonne Montoya is a mother, dancemaker, binational artist, consultant, independent dance scholar and founding director of Safos Dance Theatre based in Tucson, AZ. Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Montoya is a process-based dancemaker who creates low tech site specific and site adaptive pieces for
non-traditional dance spaces. Her work is grounded in and inspired by the landscapes, languages, cultures, and the aesthetics of the U.S. Southwest. Montoya is the lead choreographer for Safos and under her direction, the company won the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Lumie Award for Emerging
Organization in 2015. Her choreography has been staged throughout the Southwest and her dance films screened in Tucson, North Carolina, the University of Exeter (UK). She is currently working on “Stories from Home” a series of movement vignettes based on her family’s oral histories. 2017-2018 Montoya
was a Post-Graduate Fellow in Dance at Arizona State University where she founded and organized the inaugural Dance in the Desert: A Gathering of Latinx Dancemakers. Montoya is a 2019-2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, a 2019-2020 Dance/USA Artist Fellow, and a recipient of the 2019 NALAC
POD grant. She continues to work as a thought leader and collaborator on Dance in the Desert.

September 2018, Yvonne was a guest choreographer at Grand Canyon University setting a piece on senior dance students for their fall concert.

Fall 2018, Yvonne was a guest choreographer at Tucson Magnet High School in Tucson, AZ where she worked with students teaching master classes and working with student choreographers to co-create a piece for the fall concert.

​Summer 2017, Yvonne and her then 8 year old son Buddy were artists in residence during the family residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm in Brewster, NY. At SPACE, Yvonne completed the piece "Braceros" that is a part of her larger work "Stories from Home."

Awards & Recognitions

Nominee: Arizona Governor's Arts Awards

Individual Artist Category 



Who's Next: Art list

Recognized as one of 24 up an coming artists in Arizona by The Arizona Republic & azcentral


Best Art Film


3 Minute Film Fest

Tucson Fringe Festival


Lumie: Emerging Arts Organization

Safos Dance Theatre

Tucson Pima Arts Council


Recent Choreography
Residencies &
Guest Artist 
In the Community

​In 2018, Yvonne Montoya worked with the Binational Arts Residency as the local choreographer collaborating with Ana Maria Alvarez, award-winning dancer, choreographer, and founder of CONTRA-TIEMPO Urban Dance Latin Theater, Xanthia Walker of Rising Youth Theater, Adriana "Bibi" Harris of Bibi Dansuer Academy, Juan Luis Angeles González of Ballet Angeles de Agua Prieta, and M. Jenea Sánchez of Border Arts Corridor. The project culminated with a dance performance that took place on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, MEX.


Under the umbrella of Safos Dance Theatre, Montoya directed the following arts education residencies for youth and seniors in under served communities such as the City of South Tucson, west Tucson, and on the Pascua Yaqui reservation.

“Dance in the Barrio: Storytelling and Art,” a performing arts program for senior citizens in the City of South Tucson. 2014-2015. 

"Color the Mural: Arts Education Residency," a week-long mural art residency program in the City of South Tucson. Summer 2014.

"Youth in the Barrio: Dance in the Community," two dance theatre and alcohol prevention residencies in the City of South Tucson and Ochoa Elementary School.  Summer and Fall 2013.

"Performance Poetry en Vivo: From Page to Stage and Beyond," a poetry dance theater residency at Pistor Middle School and Hiaki High School on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation.


​Yvonne has collaborated with the following artists and organizations: Thom Lewis, Bobby LeFebre, Armando Castellano, Quinteto Latino, the Latina Dance Theatre Project, Borderlands Theater, Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery, the Esperanza Dance Project, Dia V Tucson, the John Valenzuela Youth Center, Mission View Elementary School, the House Neighborly Service, and Musical Mayhem Theater.


Yvonne worked as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona’s Department of Mexican American Studies (MAS) from 2006-2012 where she taught classes and oversaw student research on Latinx representations. ​

She works as an independent scholar and most recently presented the performative academic paper “Who Takes Center Stage?: Xicana Epistemologies in Contemporary Dance” at El Mundo Zurdo conference.  The paper will be published in the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa El Mundo Zurdo Journal in 2019.

Additionally, Yvonne facilitated both qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (pre and post surveys) research conducted at the inaugural Dance in the Desert at 2018. She was also invited to speak as a Movement Research Studies Project Participant on the panel "An Ethics of (Talking About) Watching" in NYC.

Yvonne Montoya is an original member of the Decolonial Epistemologies Dance Lab organized by Fabiola Torralba.

Duality: Ometeotl A mobile site adaptive performance ritual created for the Desert Botanical Garden's Día de los Muertos Celebration, 2018.

Uprooted A large group piece created for and with Grand Canyon University's Graduating Seniors, 2018.

Braceros: An Excerpt of Stories from Home. Choreography created in loving memory of created in loving memory of my father Juan "Johnny" Montoya. Produced by Safos Dance Theatre and Urban Bush Women, 2018.

20: An Excerpt of Stories from Home. Site adaptive choreography designed for performance in spaces without fourth walls. Produced by Safos Dance Theatre, 2018.


Deslenguadas: An Excerpt of Stories from Home. Rework in progress.

Decolonial Epistemologies Dance Lab Showing #1: Time, Space, Roots. A collaboration across space and time with Fabiola Torralba and Mireya Guerra, 2017.

Digna. Movement for a play produced by Digna Theater,  2017.

Reflections. Choreography for the MPA Project, 2016.

The Ghosts of Lote Bravo. Choreography for a play produced by Borderlands Theater, 2016.

Barrio Stories. Choreography for a play produced by Borderlands Theater, 2016.

Aguas. Restaged by Safos Dance Theatre, 2016.

Mas. Choreography for a play produced by Borderlands Theater, 2015.

Las Comadres. Choreography for Dancing the Mural produced by Safos Dance Theatre, 2015. 

La Troquita. Choreography for Dancing the Mural produced by Safos Dance Theatre, 2015.

izasanA. Choreography for Dancing the Mural produced by Safos Dance Theatre, 2015

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© 2018 by Yvonne Montoya.

Photography by Dominic Bonuccelli.
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