Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez (BFA, EdM) has a multifaceted career involving 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 in a wide variety of dance styles as a performer and educator, and her work is characterized by the exploration of complex issues such as relationship, gender, race, 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 the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action (ImprovISA) - an organization that empowers communities to develop through improvisation and performance, and as its Director, Sandra Paola manages its programs in El Paso, TX (United States) and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (Mexico).
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 in the dance program at the University of Texas at El Paso and a MFA candidate in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Performance Creation concentration at Goddard College.