Movers and Shakers

Meet Indy's Movers and Shakers

Dancers who have and continue to help make, shape, and move the Indianapolis dance scene forward. Each quarter a local dancer will be featured here to help us get to know some of the many incredible people who make up our community of dancers and dance makers.


Iris Rosa (she/her)

Iris Rosa is a legend in Indiana dance.

After teaching in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and founding the African American Dance Company, which she directed from 1974–2017 at Indiana University Bloomington, retirement brought new beginnings.

The Iris Rosa Dance Studio and Seda Negra/Black Silk Dance Company are two ventures joining our city's rich dance community, creating further opportunities to engage in the joy and love for dance.

Iris Rosa was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. She is Professor Emerita in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and the former and founding Director of the African American Dance Company (1974–2017) at Indiana University Bloomington.

Her specializations include teaching dance technique, history and choreography from the perspective of the African American and African Diaspora and bridging the contemporary modern dance genre with African diaspora dance forms. Rosa has studied, researched, presented and taught dance in Ghana, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Havana, Matanzas and Guantanamo, and Santiago, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and Beijing, China. She has worked as a choreographer, dancer and actor on many community projects in Indianapolis at the Phoenix Theatre, Civic Theatre, Madame Walker Theatre Center and the Jazz Kitchen.
Iris is the artistic director of Sancocho: Music and Dance Collage and Seda Negra/Black Silk Dance Company, ensembles dedicated to researching and performing African influenced dance and music from the Caribbean and Latin America.

She opened Iris Rosa Dance Studio in May 2022 in Indianapolis to further expose the community to the rich diversity of dance and music from the African and African American diaspora. The studio is a space inclusive of all dance genres and dancers in the community. Styles taught include: Modern, Afro Cuban, Jazz, Salsa, Ballet, African dance traditions, and much more! Here, dancers can come to expand their understanding of dance, history, and culture and become more holistic, informed artists.

The studio is located at 1145 East 22nd Street. For more info on classes and Seda Negra/Black Silk, visit their website here.

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