Department of Dance


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María Regina Firmino-Castillo

María Regina Firmino-Castillo

Assistant Professor
Office: Arts 107

María Regina Firmino-Castillo is a performative artist, cultural worker, and transdisciplinary researcher working at the intersections of performance and critical dance studies, decolonial studies, critical anthropology, and environmental philosophy.

Born in Guatemala, Firmino's trajectory crisscrosses national borders while transgressing disciplinary fields of practice. Active in arts collectives in Guatemala City at the time of the Peace Accords, Firmino created documentary, performance and video-art pieces that interrogated the paradoxical social imaginaries of the post-war period. With her long-time collaborator, Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal, she has directed site-specific sculpture, installation, and multidisciplinary performance projects in Guatemala, México, and the United States. Firmino has also  worked closely with Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations and Grupo Sotz'il, a Kaqchikel Maya performance ensemble from Guatemala. Since 2018, Firmino has co-directed UCR's Indigenous Choreographers Gathering at Riverside.

Firmino's transdisciplinary doctoral dissertation examines the relationships between performance and the regeneration of worlds targeted for destruction by genocidal coloniality in Guatemala during the counter-insurgency era. Firmino’s master of arts degree in cultural anthropology is from the University of New Mexico, where as a National Science Foundation fellow she also pursued doctoral research on performance and politics in Guatemala. Before coming to UCR, Firmino was a visiting scholar at the National Museum of the American Indian researching colonial era chronicles and objects related to dance and ritual in Mesoamerica.

Firmino’s long-term research agenda includes participating in and writing about performance collaborations across national borders. She continues to explore ways to deepen the ontological critique in her praxis through decolonial and anti-positivist approaches to making theory and performance.

Some of the courses she teaches include: Cultural Approaches to Dance Studies; Introduction to Dance Studies; Decolonial Approaches; Dance, Time and Space; and Choreographies of/and Crisis.


Firmino-Castillo, María and Tohil Brito Bernal, Lalo Velasco Ceto, Xhas Matom, 2014. Uma’l Iq’: Tiempo y Espacio Maya’ Ixil. Guatemala (Iximulew): Cholsamaj.


Firmino Castillo, María Regina. 2016 “Dancing the Pluriverse: Contemporary Indigenous Performance as Ontological Praxis.” Dance Research Journal: Special Issue on Indigenous Dance Now, edited by Jacqueline Shea Murphy. 48(1): 55 - 73. DOI:

Guarcax, Daniel and María Regina Firmino-Castillo, with Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal. n.d. “Webs of Radical Relationality and Kaqchikel Maya Materialism in Grupo Sotz’il’s Xajoj Q’ojom” (tentative title). Imaginations: Revue d’études interculturelles de l’image. Issue on Critical Relationality: Indigenous And Queer Belonging Beyond Settler Sex & Nature, edited by Kimberly Tallbear and Angela Willey. (under review).

Firmino-Castillo, María Regina. n.d. “Beyond Bodies and Objects: Genocide and Performance as a Praxis of Survivance” (tentative title). Transmotion. Special Issue on Genocide. (in preparation).

Selected Conferences


Of Moving Bodies and Border Crossings. When Worldings Meet: Ethnographically Taking Stock of Ontological Turns, their (possible) Connections, and Movements. International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and Canadian Anthropology Society Conference. University of Ottawa.

Carnal and Telluric Relationalities. Approaching Dance: Transdisciplinary Methodologies and Modalities of the Moving Body in Performance. City University of New York.


Webs of Radical Relationality and Kaqchikel Maya Materiality in Grupo Sotz’il’s Xajoj Q’ojom. New Research in Indigenous Dance Panel. Joint Annual Conference of Congress on Research in Dance/Society of Dance History Scholars. Pomona College.

Indigenous Survivance Through Performance: An Embodied and Telluric Praxis. Landbody: Indigeneity’s Radical Commitments. Center for 21st Century Studies. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Dancing the Pluriverse: Indigenous Choreographers Symposium, Department of Dance Studies. University of California-Riverside and American Anthropological Association National Meeting, Boulder, CO.


Ontological Warfare and Resistance: Ixil Maya Intersubjectivity with the Environment. Contemporary Environmental Anthropology in Latin America Session, American Anthropological Association National Meeting, Washington, DC.


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Dance
121 Arts Building

Tel: (951) 827-3944
Fax: (951) 827-4651

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