Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez (BFA, EdM) is a latinoamericana dancemaker, improviser and performance activist. Her multifaceted career involves performance, dance education, activism and community organizing and it has taken her throughout the US, Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico. She has ample experience as a performer and educator, and her work is characterized by the exploration of complex issues such as relationship, gender, race, ethnicity, identity, awareness, kinesthetic listening and touch. Sandra Paola uses improvisation to foster human development and community building, and the most salient influences in her work are Action Theater, Ensemble Thinking (as developed by Nina Martin), social therapeutics, Vipassana meditation, and Latin American vernacular dances. She has studied with Kirstie Simson, Jennifer Monson, Ruth Zaporah, Cynthia Oliver and Guillermo Gomez-Peña, among others. Since 2009, Sandra Paola has developed a strong commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary improvisation and is currently a member of Koan - an music and dance improvisation ensemble with Grammy-nominated saxophonist Mack Goldsbury. Driven by her commitment to social transformation, she co-founded and directs the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action (ImprovISA) - an organization that empowers communities to develop through improvisation and performance based in the U.S.-Mexico border in the cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.
Originally form Bogota, Colombia, Sandra Paola moved to the U.S. in 2004 to pursue her dance career and since then has acquired a BFA in Dance Performance with Psychology and Religious Studies minors (the latter focused in Buddhism) from Missouri State University and a Ed.M in Curriculum and Instruction with an Aesthetic Education focus from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also completed a certificate program in social therapeutics – a radically humanistic approach to human development and community building that relates to people of all ages and life circumstances as social performers and creators of their lives – at the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy in New York City were she continuously trains and grows her practice as a performance activist. Sandra Paola has taught widely in both formal and informal education settings and has presented at national and international conferences, including TEDx El Paso. She is currently faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso and is completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Performance Creation concentration at Goddard College.