Elisa De La Rosa

Assistant Professor of Dance

Elisa De La Rosa performing in costume onstage. Photo by Matthew Rood.
Elisa De La Rosa. Photo by Matthew Rood.

Elisa De La Rosa, daughter of migrant farmworkers, granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, and a first-generation college graduate, is originally from a small border town in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. De La Rosa is a choreographer, performer, dance educator and the founding artistic director of the De La Rosa Dance Company. De La Rosa is a member of the Latinx Dance Educators Alliance, National Dance Educators Organization, National Dance Society, World Dance Alliance Americas, and the Texas Dance Educators Association.

De La Rosa’s research is focused on Dance of the Latinx Diaspora: Pre-Hispanic Indigenous, Mexican, and Tex-Mex dance forms. De La Rosa is the artistic director of the TWU International Dance Company and teaches contemporary and cultural dance techniques, choreography, theories of teaching dance, dance improvisation, dance composition, dance performance and gendered images in dance performance, and supervises clinical student dance teachers. De La Rosa is often a summer guest artist for the TWU Dance MA in dance education and PhD dance programs. De La Rosa collaborates with the TWU Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach in offering diverse student cultural programming. De La Rosa produced a two-day guest residency featuring Danza Chikawa. In 2022, De La Rosa was awarded the TWU Campus Leader with a Heart Award, and she and TWU dance professor Adesola Akinleye were awarded the TWU Creative Arts and Humanities Grant for the 2022-2023 academic year for Water Sources in Mexico City and Denton as embodied archives: collecting movement and dances as geographic narratives of Place, and will begin their research in Teotihuacan, Mexico, in Fall 2022.

Prior to teaching at TWU, she was a dance educator for 14 years in middle and high school in Aldine, North Forest, and Dallas. She was nominated and selected as an Aldine INSPIRE speaker and teacher of the year for her campus, and was selected as an Aldine ISD’s top-three secondary teacher of the year district finalist in 2018. In 2017, her students in Aldine ISD were adjudicated and selected to perform at The National Dance Education Organization National Conference in San Antonio. De La Rosa Dance Company has recently performed at the Texas Latino/a/x Contemporary Dance Festival and National Dance Society National Conference. De La Rosa has choreographed works for Muscle Memory Dance Theatre, MamLuft&Co. Dance, Eastfield College Dance Company, Mosaic Dance Project Tarrant County College Northwest Campus, Perpetual Motion Dance, Arlington Heights High School, and Creekview High School. De La Rosa’s screen dance works have been presented in the Dance is Activism Film Festival, World Dance Alliance Americas Conference, DANCE CAMERA PANDEMANIA / DANCE CAMERA ISTANBUL, and La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival. She served as a curator for the Denton Black Film Festival. Among choreographing original works, De La Rosa’s new passion is to lead professional development for dance educators. She has designed professional development for Ballet Hispanico, Bailando International Dance Festival, Texas Dance Educators Association (TDEA), Texas Dance Improvisation Festival (TDIF), Aldine ISD, Denton ISD, Edinburg ISD, and La Joya ISD. Additionally, De La Rosa was the closing speaker for the National Dance Society 2021 Virtual Conference Dance in Broad Perspectives where she shared a message on Bridging Cultures…Finding Identidad (Identity) in the Dance Class. De La Rosa integrates the dance and digital media communications curriculum into her instruction, and was awarded a $3,500 grant for technology by The Texas Cultural Trust. 

De La Rosa holds a BA in dance with secondary teacher certification from TWU and a MFA in dance from Montclair State University. During her time as an undergraduate student in the TWU Dance program, De La Rosa was assistant director of TWU DanceWorks, a repertory company actively involved with community outreach through lecture demonstrations. As a member of the company, she performed works by Sarah Gamblin, Amii LeGendre, Lesley Snelson-Figueroa, Michelle Moeller, Jose Zamora, Karrine Keithly, Gesel Mason, and Nicole Wesley. During her undergraduate years, she performed and choreographed original dance works that were highly recognized and produced by the TWU Department of Dance. De La Rosa choreographed works for DanceWorks Dance Company, including Signature (2004), Voice of the Sea (2005), equilibria (2005), and Tiera de Oro/ Earth of Gold (2006). In March 2005, De La Rosa’s choreography Signature was adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival and was selected to perform in the Gala concert. Elisa received The Outstanding Student Award in 2004 and The Excellence in Choreography Award from TWU for the 2005-2006 academic year. De La Rosa additionally studied improvisation performance works at TWU in Dance Lab under the direction of professor Sarah Gamblin. Upon graduating from TWU, De La Rosa performed and choreographed professionally with Muscle Memory Dance Theatre. 

In 2018, De La Rosa premiered her MFA thesis evening-length concert Tortillas y Lagrimas (Tortillas and Tears) where she shared her experience as a Mexican American Latina woman in the United States, tracking back through her family heritage. As elements of her research, she studied Mexican immigration experiences (particularly her grandmother’s), Aztec Dance, digital media for dance, and improvisational practice in the post-modern and contemporary dance field.

Page last updated 4:38 PM, August 30, 2022