Department of Dance


Faculty Bio

Back to Faculty List
María Regina Firmino-Castillo

María Regina Firmino-Castillo

Acting 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 professional 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 performed with Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations and serves as an artistic consultant. As coordinator of a National Dance Project grant for Grupo Sotz'il, a Kaqchikel Maya performance ensemble touring the US in 2017-2018, she is responsible for a bicoastal program featuring dance workshops geared towards Native and diasporic Indigenous communities as well as the US premier of Sotz'il's Uk'u'x Ulew.

Firmino’s master of arts degree in cultural anthropology is from the University of New Mexico, where she also pursued doctoral studies as a National Science Foundation fellow. As a visiting scholar at the National Museum of the American Indian, she researched colonial era chronicles related to dance and ritual in Mesoamerica. Firmino is currently completing a transdisciplinary PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dissertation explores Mayan performance as a praxis of survivance in the face of genocide and its ontological violence.

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 writing and practice, centering Indigenous theories while developing non-modern and anti-positivist research approaches and forms of representation.

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


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

Graduate Program Inquiries:

Undergraduate Program Inquiries: