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My choreography engages with American and Latin American social dance traditions to challenge gendered and racially charged clichés that characterize commercial theatrical expressions of salsa, tango, and ballroom dance. My dances are often created in collaboration with composers and performed with live music in an effort to readdress the rift between social dance and music that emerged due to dance commercialization.

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Alter Ego (2022)
Directed by Juliet McMains
Choreographed in collaboration with performer Rachael Zureck

A solo tap dancer, encountering her own image on screen, engages in a battle with her virtual self. Music by local jazz musician Alex Dugdale becomes the sonic playground for this duet.

Upper Photo: Warren Woo
Lower Photo: Juliet McMains
Photo: Tim Summers
Ritmos de posibilidad (2009)

Cabeceo (2016)


A 15-minute piece interrogating the politics of intimacy in the social practice of tango.

Choreography: Juliet McMains in collaboration with the dancers


Dancers: Stella Hao, Gracia Imboden, Lisa Kwak, Anissa Martinez, Ky Ngo, Minhtu Nyguen, Ariel Vardy, Warren Woo


Musicians: Ben Thomas, Eric Likkel, Ben Verdier

Photos: Tim Summers

Fragments of a Salsa History (2007)

Choreographed & performed by

Juliet McMains & Sean Wilson

This 10-minute piece explores salsa dance history as revealed through interviews with old-time mambo dancers. This excerpt addresses tensions around incorporation of turns leading to loss of personal expression in the dance, especially for women.

Magnetospheres (2018)

Choreographed & performed by

Juliet McMains & Erica Valkren

This comedic duet blends Argentine tango, contemporary dance, and physical theatre to explore what happens when tango’s poles of attraction are reversed, and the tango embrace becomes a point of repulsion. 

Imperfect Map (2018)

Choreography by Juliet McMains

Music by Ben Thomas

An 18-minute piece about finding human connection in the midst of despair and destruction, based on poetry of John Butler Yeats and Joy Harjo.


This excerpt of the dance and music were both inspired by the line "flowers of rage spring up in the depression" from Harjo's poem "A Map to the Next World"  

Photo: Tim Summers

Solo un fantasma (2010)

An 11-minute piece exploring themes of nostalgia and loss in tango through unexpected pairings of the four dancers and one musician.

Dancers: Kimberly Han, Jeffrey Chen, Serghei Alexandrov, & Juliet McMains

Musician: Ben Thomas

Submergence (2019)

In this 13-minute piece, five dancers represent different facets of one couple’s relationship. This Cubist version of love in all its messy angles is set against a film of underwater tango. Through the distortions and refractions of light on the submerged couple, the film evokes the multiple and shifting lenses through which we experience self in dialogue with another. The movement weaves together tango and contemporary partnering to explore fluid expressions of gender, sexuality, love, and loss. An original score by composer Ben Thomas similarly juxtaposes tango’s iconic bandoneón with modern jazz to inject a fresh, resonant musical dimension.

underwater dancers
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Photo: Steve Korn

Four to Tango (2014)

Tango re-envisioned as a quartet.

Choreographed & performed by:

Juliet McMains, Conrad McGreal

Nicole Adams, Greg Rolnick

Music: "Oblivion" by Astor Piazzolla

Arranged by Ben Thomas

performed by: Ben Thoms, Alex Chadsey,

    and Brady Millard-Kish

Salsa Addiction Dance Team

Choreography by Juliet McMains

Salsa Dreams (2005)

Escape of the Dolls (2004)

Ritmos de posibilidad (2009)

Choreography by Juliet McMains

A celebration of mambo and salsa music and history.

Photo: Tim Summers
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