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MANCC Welcomes Returning Choreographic Fellow Rosie Herrera

Published January 29, 2018

rosie herrera headshot

January 25 – February 8

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is pleased to host Returning Choreographic Fellow Rosie Herrera in residence to develop her latest work Make Believe. Herrera is a Cuban-American dancer and choreographer, and the artistic director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theater based in Miami. A classically trained soprano, Herrera performs, choreographs, and stages operas in addition to her work in contemporary dance. With over a decade of experience in cabaret, Herrera is known for her dramatic flair and ability to infuse her choreography with sadness, beauty, and comedy. The New York Times has called her “…the Pina Bausch of South Beach.”

Herrera was one of MANCC’s 2010 Choreographic Fellows, at which time she came to develop two works. Dining Alone, which examined our assumptions about the fragility and isolation associated with aging. It was developed at MANCC and premiered at American Dance Festival in Durham, NC in 2011. Pity Party, also developed at MANCC in 2010, uses party culture to explore the grieving process, and premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami that same year.

Herrera now returns to MANCC to develop her latest evening-length dance theater work, Make Believe, which explores magic, celebrity worship, and romantic love through the lens of ritual and religious spectacle. Looking at how the influence of religion during childhood impacts notions of romantic love later in life, Herrera will draw on her experience of growing up in the pageantry-filled Catholic church to develop the work in collaboration with her diverse team of performers, designers, and dramaturg.

Educated in Catholic school and raised by Cuban-American parents, Herrera grew up equally familiar with the tenets of Christianity and the Afro-Cuban “voodoo” practice of Santeria. Not only are her parents devoutly Catholic, they were also briefly connected to The Way Ministry, a religious cult. She was also tightly bonded to her Tio Juanito, a mystic whose unexpected trance-like premonitions were revered by her family. This, combined with her family’s obsession with celebrity astrologer Walter Mercado, comes together to define her unique spiritual identity rooted in a dramatic and intimate relationship with the divine.

At a time when fear of otherness is at a fever pitch, and our most intimate selves are shielded behind online profiles, Herrera finds her family’s rapturous search for deliverance in God and love to be in sharp contrast, even threatening, to a regressive and judgmental piety that looms over the American cultural landscape.

While at MANCC, Herrera will convene her entire cast and design team, as well as dramaturg David Brick, Co-Director of Headlong Dance Institute. This process will represent a shift in her practice toward a longer term collaboration, where set, costume, and music designers shape the work in the studio from the very outset.

During the residency Herrera will meet with a variety of local scholars and experts to deepen her research at the intersections of love, religion, and the power of sound. She will also host an informal work-in-progress showing on Monday, February 5th, 6pm, in the Montgomery Hall Black Box Studio. The showing is open to the public, however seating is limited. Please email to reserve a seat.


Entrypoints are unique opportunities for visiting artists to conduct research and collaborate with the FSU and Tallahassee communities as well as the national dance field.

Work-in-Progress Showing
Monday, February 5, 6:00pm
Montgomery Hall, Black Box Studio
RSVP by emailing

Entrypoint Scholars/Experts
Dr. Francois Dupuigrenet, Professor of Religion
Alice Bejnar, Vocalist Specializing in Sacred Harp Singing
Claudia Dew, Director of Capitol Bells Hand Bell Choir

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), at the FSU School of Dance, is a choreographic research and development center whose mission is to raise the value of the creative process in dance.