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Our History...

Founded in 1974, the AZTLAN Dance Company has enriched audiences through annual theatrical dance production seasons and creative cultural workshops.  The AZTLAN Dance Company is guided by our unyeilding mission to establish a stable and conducive environment for creating, preserving and presenting dance that reflects and inspires the communities within which we work.  Through our creative work AZTLAN promotes greater intercultural, cross-generational understanding and appreciation of Indo/Xicano/Latino dance arts.  AZTLAN creates dance that imagines a future informed by the past.


AZTLAN is the mythical homeland of our Native American forefathers. It is considered the extension of land that spans from Alaska along the pacific coast of U.S. through Colorado, Texas and into the valley of Mexico. The native American people of this land once shared language and numerous cultural beliefs.  The values that have existed through the ages are respected and shared as the heritage of our Native American forefathers.  AZTLAN remains the symbol and icon of cultural identity for the native people of the US Southwest and Mexico.

AZTLAN Dance Company

Dazzling audiences in Austin and throughout the world, the AZTLAN Dance Company is bold and fearless in creating innovative work in dance that challenges tradition(s), expanding theatrical space in order to narrate our cultural experiences and expressive realities.  AZTLAN’s signature blend of dance fuses indigenous, folk, and contemporary forms into rich moving storytelling that speak beyond our present.  Whether presenting traditional or the exciting AZTLAN New-Works dance repertorio, the AZTLAN Dance Company is committed to promoting cultural understanding and celebration of American cultural diversity.


If you haven’t seen us yet ...

                                    ..... you must see us soon!

Reviews & Statements

Here’s what Critics and Patrons say:

Review:  Rocking the Heat / The Enchiada Western: Texas Deep Fried

Salinas' shows – "choreodramas" – are rich with layered and intermingled experiences and identities, represented in contemporary and folklórico dance, theatre, and art. Despite their fluidity and shapeshifting, they have aplomb, not to mention persevering optimism and a sense of humor.

Jonelle Seitz, Austin Chronicle, Review, Loterialandia, 2018

Top 10 Thrills (No Frills) in Dance of 2017

#3. Body Rituals (AZTLAN Dance Company) On process and practice.  Hammering heels and, floating above them, depths of soul.

Jonelle Seitz, Critic, Ausitn Chronicle, Dec 2017

Insiders’ Guide to Austin

Both the critics and the public are raving about this dance company, which combines original contemporary choreography with traditional Latino folk steps, often set to the music of popular Latino recording artists. Roén Salinas has introduced a modern format that reflects the danza folklorico heritage but addresses the Hispanic culture of today’s Texas. This new choreography adds an exciting artistic dimension to the troupe.                   

- Hilary Hylton & Cam Rossie, 2009, fifth edition, austin

The Quest for AZTLAN

Combining contemporary choreography with traditional steps, retaining the roots, the essential elements of danza and using the vibrancy of dancers moving to contemporary Latino music, Salinas is taking a big leap forward with the dance company. It is work like this that is putting them on the cutting edge of the genre, using it not just to entertain, or educate, but to empower and create changes.                                                                      - mary jane garza, austin chronicle


MYTHIC DANCE, New Texas Magazine

“Salinas. . . open, tolerant, and equipped with a vision has given breed to a new type of dance form.” Creating dance works that share and relate the stories and tales of the Hispanic experience throughout the Southwest, including Mexico and Central America. Aztlan’s agenda clearly continues to succeed on progressively higher levels.

- Kyle Swanson, 5/01, New Texas Magazine


Even in New Terrain, AZTLAN Doesn’t Miss a Beat

Aztlan Dance Company. . .with its signature style of contemporary latino dance is long noted for a fresh and energetic blend of traditional folkloric dance and popular latin social dance. With modern and jazz idioms, dance maker Roén Salinas, broadens its scope by taking a departure into a new set of other latin dance traditions.

- Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin , 4/11/00, Austin American Statesman


Run by Families, Run for Families

The moment captures Aztlan's juncture between past and future: constructing a new facility in which to continue exploring Latinos' cultural heritage. But Aztlan's work is more than preservation, more than nostalgia; it is a reflection of an ongoing cultural blending in Texas and around the country.

- sarah hepola, austin chronicle 11/8/02


A Grand “Circo” in Aztlan’s Small Space

The company's strength remains its unrelenting energy, which constantly thrusts the work's story and athleticism forward.

-clare croft, austin american statesman  2/26/07


AZTLAN Undergound

It’s clear that this barrio is not a violent one but one of kinship and community, a comment Salinas often makes through Aztlan Dance. When the performers are excited, that they use their full expressions, enticing the audience with everything they have.

- patti dadad, austin chronicle  9/19/05


El Gran Circo: The Aztlan Circus

The troupe of dancers, dedicated to Aztlan for so many years, ripen with each prouction.  Because we’re so close in the intimate Santa Cruz Center, we can see the beads of sweat on the performers’ faces. the expression in the almond eyes, the acrobatic turns and dives between partners who know each other. 

-patti hadad, austin chronicle  3/1/07


The Place Where Worlds Join

I was taken on a balletic, primitive, humorous journey, by turns enchanting, graceful, and powerful, and after around a solid hour of pure entertainment, the Aztlan dancers really let loose.

- barry pineo, austin chronicle   2/20/04


Collectivos: Seeds of Our Ancestors

.... the females were overpowered by the smooth, cool Latin muchachos.

- barbejoy ponzio, austin chronicle  10/29/99


AZTLAN Fills the Stage with Spirited Love

... the dancers truly seemed to be having a good time. And by the looks on folks’ faces, it was contagious.

-erin keever, austin american statesman  11/16/04


AZTLAN Fills Stage with Spirited Love

Aztlan Dance Company kicks off its fall season with two original ballets compressed into “Passion Echoes: Noches de Amores.” Both focus on love and romance. Between the expressive mix of dancing and the Moroccan-style music, set within the comfortably intimate Santa Cruz Center, love was no doubt in the air.

erin keever, 11/04, austin american statesman