Rodrigo Esteva Ramirez looking away from the camera and wearing a blue shirt and dark gray fedora and pointing to a mural on a building up and behind him

Dance (MFA)

Rodrigo Esteva Ramirez (Mexico City/San Francisco Bay Area) is co-founding director of DANCE MONKS (established in 1999) and Ook’ot International Dance Festival (established in 2020), held in Mexico. He is mestizo of Indigenous Oaxacan and European ancestry and was born and raised in Mexico City, overlooking the volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl. He has dedicated his life to interdisciplinary, experimental work that delves into the intimate and ancient relationship between body and place.

Esteva views dance as a potent medium with which to rekindle our relationship with the mythic and mend the stories that are held in our bodies and the land. As a teacher, he is dedicated to unblocking energy pathways through movement toward transformational and heightened states of being. Esteva is a certified shiatsu therapist and a graduate of the Advanced Studies program at the Acupressure Institute of Berkeley, California, and has 20 years of experience in this form of traditional Eastern medicine.

He has taught and performed internationally over the past 20-plus years as a duet, which has taught and performed extensively with world-renowned companies including as members of Pearson Widrig Dance Theater (1994–2001, New York City), the physically integrated AXIS Dance Company (2007–2008, Oakland, California), Apostalia Papadamaki (1993–1996, Greece) and Gerado Delgado (1992, Mexico City). Rodrigo has also performed in major festivals, universities and venues throughout the U.S. and Mexico, as well as in Canada and Peru, including at The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, P.S.122, Dance Theater Workshop, Central Park SummerStage and Symphony Space, all in New York City; The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, Maine; Middlebury College, Vermont; CounterPULSE, San Francisco; Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, Vermont; San Francisco International Arts Festival; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; University of Veracruz, Xalapa, Mexico; ODC, San Francisco; Iberoamericana University, Mexico City; and FAE (Festival de Artes Escenicas), Lima, Peru, among many others. 

His original works have received awards from Berkeley Civic Arts (2021 and 2018–2019), San Francisco Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers (2020), Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2016), Kenneth Rainin Foundation (2016), Zellerbach Family Foundation (2007 and 2016), FAE (2012), East Bay Foundation for the Arts (2008–2009), NOH Space (2008) and The Open Circle Foundation (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013), among other organizations.