Rafael V. Cañals Pérez

Rafael V. Cañals Pérez, photo by Angel Blanco

Rafael V. Cañals Pérez (he/they) puertorriqueñe is a dance artist currently exploring narrative and surrealism within interdisciplinary dance/improvisation. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, they made dances and began training at a performing arts after school program, exploring a wide array of genres. Rafael has learned from Puerto Rican professionals like Petra Bravo and Hincapié, Jesus Miranda, Denisse Eliza, among others. They later worked with renowned Puerto Rican contemporary dance company Coda21, collaborating with international professionals Gina Patterson, Maša Kolar, Milan Tomášik and Fernando Troya. In 2018 they moved to NYC to pursue an MFA in choreography from NYU Tisch School of the Arts studying through the lense of Phyllis Lamhut, Pam Pietro, Jeremy Nelson, Patricia Beaman and Wendy Perron. Presently, Rafael works for the NYC based company Boca Tuya as a dancer, assistant teacher and creative. He maintains collaboration with various Puerto Rican artists, and works independently with Jennifer Monson, Luis Lara Malvacías, Ori Flomin, Christopher Unpezverde Núñez, Sally Silvers, Arthur Avilés amongst others. They have recently choreographed for Boundless Theater, Repertorio Español, Compañía Contempora and SADC at Tisch Dance. They were a LiftOff resident artist at New Dance Alliance and continue to cultivate their creative practice in making, teaching and researching interdisciplinary dance.

Autonomía de lo soñado/Autonomy of the dreamt (working title)
Rafael V. Cañals Pérez’s latest work is an organized series of improvisatory states of being in a movement journey of self-realization. A figure in space taking control of its own weight, surrendering to gravity in a balancing dance that always goes and never arrives. Cañals Pérez was a 2021–22 LiftOff Resident Artist.