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Safos Dance Theatre is a small non-profit dance company founded in Tucson in 2009.


Our name, Safos, is based on José Antonio Burciaga’s description of the term ‘Con Safos’ in the book Drink Cultura: Chicanismo

Why was Safos created?


Our company was created to serve and support Mexican American, Chicana and Latine/x artists in contemporary dance in Tucson and Arizona. We provide a space for artistic expression and artistic growth.


Safos was founded in 2009 by Yvonne Montoya (Nuevomexicana/Xicana) and Michele Orduña (Tohono O’Odham). This dynamic duo founded the company to provide a space for dance artists with the aim of moving towards racial, ethnic and geographic equality in dance.


As the only Xicana/Latina in the Tucson modern dance scene in the early aughts, Yvonne Montoya knew that there was a big problem with representation. The community of Tucson was not reflected in contemporary and concert dance stages. Being a first-generation college student, she was encouraged by her professors to raise her voice and use the platforms she was given to speak up and fight for what she believed. With the support of Michele Orduña, Safos was created.


Dance in the Community


Between 2009-2015, Safos self-produced multiple dance performances in the Tucson community, provided artist in residencies in the City of South Tucson, served the City of South Tucson community for three years as artists in residencies at the House of Neighborly Service, and toured the Southwest and Texas.

Since 2015, Safos shifted focus to work on collaborative projects Dance in the Desert and Las Fronterizas. These projects allow Safos to have a larger reach and serve a more dancers. Both projects serve the communities of Tucson, Phoenix, Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. In 2018, Safos became the umbrella organization for Stories from Home, new choreography by Yvonne Montoya.


Safos’ mission is to create contemporary artistic forms that reflect the common experiences of our diverse community. Focusing on Latina and Arizona  dance artists, Safos focuses on providing:  

  • A safe space for dance artists

  • Encourages innovative movements

  • Embraces the use of aesthetics and art forms unique to the Southwest to represent the cultural diversity of the US/Mexico borderlands.

Safos Dance Theatre fulfills our mission by offering programs that support the work of Latina dance artists in Arizona and beyond. These projects are:

  • Dance in the Desert 

  • Las Fronterizas 

  • Stories from Home


Safos Dance Theatre seeks to exist outside of mainstream post-modern and contemporary dance  world and strives to embrace emerging aesthetics and provide a space for expression for the voices in our multi-ethnic community.


Dancers, choreographers, guest artists, volunteers, staff, interns, donors and board members are a part of the Safos family that is guided  by the following values.​

  • Respect 

  • Integrity

  • Dedication


On Friday September 18, 2015 at a lovely outdoor reception at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, it was announced that Safos Dance Theatre won a Lumie for Emerging Arts Organization.Thank YOU to all the artists, staff, board members, donors, volunteers, organizations, mentors who worked with us and supported us the past six years. Thank you Tucson Pima Arts Council! And thank you to the Tucson and South Tucson communities for supporting our work!! It was an honor and we appreciate your support in making Safos an award winning organization.

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