Special Election Night Performance at UC Santa Barbara

November 5, 2018

Denise performs at UCSB Tuesday, Nov. 6th, 7:30pm

“Paper Kimono” on the cover of The Routledge Dance Studies Reader

September 27, 2018

Routledge Dance Reader coverI’m honored that my performance “Paper Kimono” is featured on the cover of The Routledge Dance Studies Reader!

This 3rd Edition, edited by Jens Giersdorf and Yutian Wong, is available in December.  Special thanks to Andrea Zittlau, University of Rostock, who arranged the performance — and also participated in it — on the sand dunes near the sea, northern Germany.  Photos by fabulous Emiliano Leonardi.


Queer Performance Salon at Kore Press May 23

May 9, 2018

T Loving, photo by Eddie Diaz

T Loving, photo by Eddie Diaz

May 23: Queer Performance Salon

As part of the Kore Institute Salon Series at the Dunbar, join us for this pop-up evening of love, new performance, food, and conversation. The evening may ask, How do we enter into performance? How do we “queer” it? Are the terms “Queer” and “Performance” synonymous? Micro performances by T Loving, Greg Colburn, Natalie Nguyen, Eugenia Woods, Leticia Gonzalez, TC Tolbert.  Curated by Denise Uyehara.

Wed, May 23, 5:30-7:30pm (performances 5:45-6:30pm)
At the new home of Kore Press in the Dunbar Cultural Center

325 W 2nd St
Tucson, AZ 85705 – second floor
It’s a potluck! Bring food or drink to share, or $5 for the artists.

James Luna – In Memoriam

March 29, 2018

James and Denise at Stanford

James and me, Stanford University

As many of you already know, my collaborator, James Luna, passed away in March of this year.  The American Indian Art Institute, where his papers are archived, made this beautiful tribute to him.  All of us in the art community are  so saddened by his sudden departure – he has left us all too soon.  I am honored to have collaborated with him, first when Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) invited me to research James’ and his work for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time.  This ultimately lead to our first collaboration, Transitions (2012) about us both growing up as people of color the suburbs of Orange County.  James approached me a year later to begin a new collaboration, Ancestral Cartographic Rituals, in which we tested our DNA and explored what makes an “authentic” Indigenous person, and also.   We showed an in-progress version of it at Stanford in November of 2017. In planning for the Stanford showing, I kept envisioning us in a room full of sand, which we would move, like shifting continents, across venue floor.  For various reasons, we decided to pre-shoot a video in Tucson instead, and James asked me to take the lead on our collaborative action. Special thanks to our fantastic Tucson crew: Cait NiSiomon (videographer/editor), Wesley Creigh, Genevieve Heron, Heather Gray, and my family and Ivan Vasquez for their generosity and support of this project.

Ancestral Cartographic Rituals, Stanford Nov. 2017

November 21, 2017

Ancestral Cartographic Rituals
A work-in-progress by James Luna and Denise Uyehara
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

7:30pm to 8:30pm
Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building
Stanford University
Free and open to the public – come early, it may fill up quickly!  Details here

What happens when Indigenous artists test their DNA? How do their findings confirm, authenticate, or contradict traditional creation stories? In this new interdisciplinary work-in-progress, award-winning performance artists James Luna and Denise Uyehara investigate “cultural authenticity,” as it relates to Pacific Rim, evolution and migration, and the here and now.

With animation by Wesley Creigh, video design by Cait NiSiomon

Shooting Columbus (2017)

May 15, 2017

Shooting ColumbusPBS – Arizona Public Media feature

Show highlights


Shooting Columbus featured on PBS

April 6, 2017

Show must end Saturday, April 8.  Get tickets here.

Shooting Columbus – ends April 8!

April 3, 2017

Review in the AZ Daily Star.  Tickets at www.borderlandstheater.org

Ryan Pinto and Jules Grantham in Shooting Columbus. Photo by Julius Schlosburg.Save


Shooting Columbus March 29 – April 8, Borderlands Theater

March 20, 2017

Get your tickets early!  www.borderlandstheater.org.  Follow us on FaceBook.

Free admission to Indigenous people of the Americas – call (520) 882-7406 to reserve free tickets – space limited.
Details below.

Read the article in the Arizona Daily Star!

Shooting Columbus ensemble

L to R: Loving, Adam Cooper-Terán, Julianna Grantham, Matthew Saraficio, Ryan Pinto, Denise Uyehara. Direction by Rachel Bowditch.


“If settlers never arrived in this land, how would your life be different?”

Borderlands Theater proudly presents Shooting Columbus, written and performed by the Fifth World Collective, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from the state of Arizona. The work examines the consequences of time travel and the current resistance of Indigenous people in the face of continual oppression by the United States government.

Shooting Columbus is an immersive site-specific performance in which the audience walks through La Pliita Cultural Center, encountering theater, movement, soundscapes and video projection that re-imagine history and memory. The show presents poetic imaginings of a radically different past to foster dialogue about a radically different future.

Fifth World Collective:
Adam Cooper-Teran (Yaqui, Chicano)
T Loving (Black, Cherokee)
Ryan Pinto (Hopi, Omaha, Dine, Northern Ute)
Rachel Bowditch (European American)
and Denise Uyehara (Okinawan, Japanese American)

Over the past three years, the Collective has researched issues affecting Indigenous communities in the Southwest, including how the U.S.-Mexico has created an arbitrary line through Tohono O’Odham and the Yaqui (Yoeme) nations, making it difficult to travel for tribal ceremony. They also visited the Black Mesa and the Kayenta coal mine, interviewing Diné (Navajo) community members who reside there. Lead artists held multiple devising retreats in at the Global Justice Center in Tucson, Arizona State University, Tempe, and Outta Your Backpack Media, Flagstaff.

Rachel Bowditch directs, with dramaturgy and playwriting by Denise Uyehara, in collaboration with the Collective. Script informed by interviews with Marie Gladue, Fern Benally, Ross Canyon, Rosemary Tona-Aguirre, Alex Soto, and Tygel Pinto. Community insights and collaboration with Klee Benally.

Performance ensemble: Matthew Saraficio, Julianna Grantham, Gertie Lopez, Brett Boyce, Tessai Velasquez-Thurman, Sarah Haro. Borderlands Theatre (Marc David Pinate). Greg Houston (lighting), Adam Cooper Terán (sound/media), and Genevieve Heron (set), and Andy Gonzalez (stage manager).

La Pilita Cultural Center 420 S Main Ave. Tucson AZ 85701.Tickets: $7-$26 with various discounts.
Limited free admission for Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.
Please call the box office (520) 882-7406 to make free reservations.

3/29 – 7:30 pm Preview (HALF OFF All tickets $7/$12!)
3/30- 7:30 pm Opening Night Gala: With light refreshments plus meet and greet the collective. ($26/$14)
3/31 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/1 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/5 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/6 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/7 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/8- 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)

ORDER TICKETS ONLINE: www.borderlandstheater.org

This project is made possible, in part, through support from: MAP Fund; the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Art Works/National Endowment for the Arts.   

Reboot the past, change the future: rehearsals for Shooting Columbus

January 18, 2017

Happy 2017!  Our Fifth World Collective is in intensive rehearsal mode for “Shooting Columbus”, which premieres March 29-April 8, Borderlands Theater, Tucson.  Info here.

T Loving (left) plays Bruna the time traveler, and Sarah Haro (right) as Native American Boarding school student.

T Loving (left) plays Bruna the time traveler, and Sarah Haro (right) as Native American Boarding school student.

Matthew Saraficio and Jules Gantham in movement exploration.

Matthew Saraficio and Jules Gantham in movement exploration.



Director Rachel Bowditch leads us in a "rock through" mapping out our site-specific show w/dancer Ryan Pinto, and set designer Greg Houston.

Director Rachel Bowditch leads us in a “rock through” mapping out our site-specific show w/dancer Ryan Pinto, and set designer Greg Houston.

Matthew Saraficio plays the Tohono O'Odham leader in the year 3401.

Matthew Saraficio plays the Tohono O’Odham leader in the year 3401.












Jam Sessions Begin

July 16, 2015

Ryan Pinto in recent Jam Session, photo by Adam Cooper-Terán.

Ryan Pinto in recent Jam Session, photo by Adam Cooper-Terán.

Our Shooting Columbus collective begins regular jam sessions (research, mixology, movement, observation, discussion).  Thank you to our friends at Pan Left Productions and the Global Justice Center providing a space for these laboratory-like ideas to percolate.  More photos.

Shooting Columbus/Indigenous Cycles receives MAP Fund and NET Exchange Grant

April 29, 2015

Shooting ColumbusWe are pleased to announce that Shooting Columbus has received major support from the MAP Fund.  An Exchange Grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters will also help fund the research and community phase of this project, The Indigenous Cycles, which convenes at the Herberger Institute at Arizona State University.

This is a multi-year project involving Indigenous artists from the Southwest region.  Rolling premiere begins at Borderlands Theater in Tucson in the fall of 2017.  More.