25 Years of Andanza: The Company

Discover the essence of Andanza, Contemporary Dance Company, its history, its original creations, and the profound impact it has had on Puerto Rico´s cultural sensitivity.


Andanza & UPR Caribe Digital

Andanza is a renowned contemporary dance company in Puerto Rico with a dance school and a unique social component for underserved communities. It was founded in 1998 by María D. "Lolita" Villanúa, Artistic and Executive Director, and María Teresa Robles, Director of the Educational Program. Its mission is to contribute to the development of dance, culture and society, and to the democratization of art through artistic creation, practice and education accessible to all.

Viñetas, Carlos Iván Santos, 2014, From the collection of: Andanza
Our students in Historia de arroz con habichuelas, Carlos Iván Santos, 2007, From the collection of: Andanza
The communities and Andanza, Andanza, 2012, From the collection of: Andanza
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First article on Andanza (1999-06-08) by Stella SotoAndanza

The birth of Andanza

Andanza was founded as a result of a collective need. Rooted in a shared vision and a lifelong friendship, the founders aimed to enable a space for permanent work and for artistic creation, and to foster a dance education across every corner of Puerto Rico.

Original cast of the company (1999) by Robert VillanúaAndanza

The original cast of 1999 included 9 outstanding dancers: Lolita Villanúa and María Teresa Robles, founders of Andanza; Carlos Iván Santos; Alicia Díaz; Denisse Eliza; Vesna Lantigua; Roberto López; Jesús Miranda and Rodney Rivera.

Passagebreak (2019) by Joel Valentín-MartínezAndanza

The dancers

Numerous dancers recognized for their artistic versatility have worked with Andanza. Currently, its cast is formed by: Adriana Morales, Alberta Rivera, Cristina Lugo, Jaime Maldonado, Miriam López, Natalia Fajardo, Luisi Domínguez and Nathanael Santiago.

¡Fuímonos! (2020) by AndanzaAndanza

Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 former dancers of Andanza collaborated in the virtual version of "¡Fuímonos!", choreographed by Lolita Villanúa in year 2000. Their collective endeavor serves as a powerful testament to how dance unites and transcends barriers.

Andanza's collaboration with fashion designers (2005) by Juan Soto MeléndezAndanza

Dance costumes

In Andanza’s productions, the vibrant array of colors and textures serves as unforgettable elements in their wardrobe. The conceptualization and creation have been enriched by the involvement of special collaborators including renowned fashion designers and artists.

Cizañeras, Cristina Lugo, 2015, From the collection of: Andanza
Mi madre, la oca, Ana Sánchez -Colberg, 2022, From the collection of: Andanza
Tras bastidores, María D. "Lolita" Villanúa, 2005, From the collection of: Andanza
Recovecos, Carlos Iván Santos, 2008, From the collection of: Andanza
Tú o yo, Rodney Rivera, 2005, From the collection of: Andanza
Todos los caminos, María D. "Lolita" Villanúa, 2008, From the collection of: Andanza
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Acclaimed Puerto Rican painter, graphic artist and writer, Antonio Martorell, worked with the audience to craft costumes and scenery entirely from paper for the dance version of "Foto-estáticas" (2002), piece by theater director Rosa Luis Márquez. Every element served as an homage to engraving and imagery.

Antonio Martorell and Andanza preparing for the debut of Foto-estáticas (2002) by Robert VillanúaAndanza

Muerte (2013) by Antonio GomesAndanza

The choreographers

Several international choreographers have created pieces for Andanza, such as Antonio Gomes, Brazilian artist based in Switzerland. Among Puerto Rican choreographers, Carlos Iván Santos has contributed significantly to the company's repertoire.

Eleuther (2001) by AndanzaAndanza

Partnering with dancers from all over the globe

"Eleuther" is a solo choreographed by the Brazilian artist Matias Santiago. The choreography, accompanied by music commissioned to the Brazilian Sergio R Nogueira, is inspired by the "coquí", a native frog of Puerto Rico. After its premiere, it became an iconic piece of Andanza.

Poster for Son de Andanza (2000) by Antonio MartorellAndanza

Commissioned art

Puerto Rican artists, such as Antonio Martorell and Rafael Trelles, have shared their talents for the creation of scenery and posters for Andanza's productions. 

Andanza (2000) by Rafael TrellesAndanza

Rafael Trelles is a postmodern artist recognized for his paintings, prints and installations. For the choreography "Son de Andanza" in 2000, he created this oil on canvas as part of the scenery.

The central figure of the composition is a mystical representation of Andanza, which is surrounded by other surrealist characters. 

José Luis Abreu in Absurdos (2007) by Robert VillanúaAndanza

Commissioned music

Andanza has commissioned over 50 musical compositions for its productions. Some notable composers include Luis Amed Irizarry, Javier Curet, José David Pérez and Cultura Profética. One recurring collaborator is Jose Luis "Fofé" Abreu, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter.

Video of Tres o cuatro jugadas (2019) by AndanzaAndanza

In the piece "Tres o cuatro jugadas", a collective creation directed by Alicia Díaz, the vocalist José Luis "Fofé" Abreu takes center stage and interacts with the movement of the dancers.

Andanza: imágenes y trayectorias (2007) by AndanzaAndanza

Documenting Andanza's work

In 2007 the book Andanza: imágenes y trayectoria was published, documenting the multifaceted work carried out by the group from its foundation until June 2007. It includes photographs by Robert Villanúa, posters, reviews, programs and explanatory texts by the artistic director. 

Después de septiembre (2019) by Carlos Iván SantosAndanza

Social themes

Andanza has been characterized by exploring social issues in Puerto Rico through dance. "Después de septiembre" (2019), for instace, recalls the devastation caused by Hurricane María on the Island. Meanwhile, the piece "___" explores human condition in cyberspace. 

Justica, Carlos Iván Santos, 2013, From the collection of: Andanza
"___.", Jaime Maldonado, 2022, From the collection of: Andanza
Justicia (the vote for all), Carlos Iván Santos, 2013, From the collection of: Andanza
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También llueve cuando hay sol (2023) by AndanzaAndanza

In "También llueve cuando hay sol," by Jaime Maldonado, the social and political challenges faced by Puerto Rico are brought to the forefront. At the end, one of the dancers reads what the audience has expressed they wish to change in the country.

For over 20 years, one of the most eagerly anticipated annual shows for audiences is Andanza at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC). 

Mi madre, la oca at the MAC (2022) by Ana Sánchez -ColbergAndanza

Andanza at the MAC

Andanza at the MAC is a free, annual event at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico. Both the Company and the Youth Workshop of the school of Andanza take part in the event, which aims to promote the accessibility of dance in the Island. 

Celita y el mangle zapatero (2009) by María D. "Lolita" Villanúa and María Teresa RoblesAndanza

Children's shows

Andanza has created productions inspired by children's stories. "Celita y el mangle zapatero," written by author Ana Lydia Vega, honors Afro-Puerto Rican roots and highlights the vital importance of mangroves and coastal natural resources.

Historia de arroz con habichuelas (2008) by María D. "Lolita" Villanúa, María Teresa Robles, and Carlos Iván SantosAndanza

The production "Historia de Arroz con Habichuelas" is an adaptation of the story by Ana Lydia Vega. It presents a humorous and imaginative version of the origins of Puerto Rico's national dish. Various characters are depicted as ingredients, integrating different styles of dance.

Rumbos (2020) by Natalia FajardoAndanza

Exploring the digital world

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Andanza produced a series of virtual presentations to foster unity, hope, and connection despite physical distance.  

Toque de queda (2020) by AndanzaAndanza

“Toque de queda” is a Puerto Rican home production created during the pandemic and it is the first virtual show of the Company. 10 dancers and 10 solos in times of isolation. 

25 years of Andanza (2023) by Jaime MaldonadoAndanza

Future of Andanza

The first 25 years of Andanza have been distinguished by hard work, exploration, and creativity as a Company and as a family. With their passion, effort, and commitment, its members will continue to be dedicated to the development of dance and Puerto Rico.

Credits: Story

This exhibition was created by students Elena S. Ramos Díaz, undergraduate student at the Interdisciplinary Studies Program of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (UPRRP), and Valeria I. Torres Trujillo, undergraduate student at the Department of History of the UPRRP, as part of the Digital Humanities Scholars in Residence 2023-2024 program. It was created in collaboration with Dinah M. Wilson Fraites, mentor of both students and librarian in the Library System of the UPRRP; Paula E. Roque Rivera, coordinator of the Digital Archive of Andanza; and María D. "Lolita" Villanúa, Executive and Artistic Director of Andanza. This project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  All the pictures were taken and donated by Robert Villanúa.

Please follow the link below for further information about our project, its copyright ownership and use policy: 


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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