Rafael Cañals Pérez (he/they)

Rafael Cañals Pérez, photo by Ale Carmona

Rafael is a Puerto Rican native dance artist currently exploring narrative and surrealism within interdisciplinary dance performance. Growing up on the Island, Rafael began making dances and training at an after school performing arts program, exploring a wide array of genres. Along the way, he learned from local professionals like Petra Bravo, Jesus Miranda, Denisse Eliza, among others. In 2016, he worked with renowned Puerto Rican contemporary dance company Coda21, collaborating with international professionals Gina Patterson, Maša Kolar, Milan Tomášik and Fernando Troya and continued developing his artistic voice as an independent choreographer in local festivals.

In 2018, he moved to NYC to pursue an MFA in choreography from NYU Tisch School of the Arts studying dance, pedagogy and composition through the lense of Phyllis Lamhut, Pam Pietro, Jeremy Nelson, Patricia Beaman and Wendy Perron. Presently, Rafael works dancing, assisting and teaching for the NYC based company Boca Tuya. He continues collaborations with Puerto Rican collective Claroscuro, and recently worked independently with other artists like Jennifer Monson, Alejandra Martorell and Luis Lara Malvacías amongst other NYC artists as he continues to cultivate his creative practice in making, teaching and researching dance.

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