An adjunct professor of theater and dance at UNM, Garcia said she started the J.Garcia Dance Company in order to fulfill a goal she has had for many years and to offer professional work to local dancers.

The company is unique because it is physical but also philosophical. That philosophy came through in “Tuning,” the company’s first public performance which included themes like harmonizing with the universe and each other, she said.

“It is very difficult to be a small start-up company and it’s not something that happens everyday. There’s a lot of dancers that choose to work independently and work project to project because it is very risky to be entrepreneurial,” Garcia said.

Becoming the founder of a company can be risky because the market is competitive, funding is low and there is no guarantee it will be profitable, she said. With the help of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit organization based in New York, Garcia was able to employ nine dancers and put on the company’s first show, “Tuning,” she said.

“While we have been working in the contemporary dance field for quite a long time, it still feels that it is underground. We wanted to create this company kind of as a way to promote contemporary dance and modern dance as being really vital and essential to the Albuquerque arts community,” she said.

All of the dancers have ties to New Mexico and most to UNM. Also, Garcia said she has known many of the dancers for more than two years.

“We already had these relationships established and now we can move forward in this really rich way where we can continue to investigate our work together and just keep diving deeper in the process,” she said.

Lisa Nevada, who performed in “Tuning” and has known Garcia for more than 20 years, said all of the dancers are open to suggestions during rehearsals. Most people tend to think of theater and music as strong points in Albuquerque culture, but dance is also vibrant, which helps drive the passion of the dancers, she said.

“We are willing to do (the hard work) because we love it, and we want to share it,” Nevada said. “It’s important and part of our culture.”

Micha Williamson, a Garcia family friend who attended “Tuning,” said she enjoyed the show because it was well rehearsed. The dancers utilized the stage area and coordinated their moves even without counted measures, she said.

“I think it’s going to add to the arts community, not just dance community but to the arts because we are so faceted here in New Mexico,” she said. “We love our art and this gives us another thing to love.”

Lauren Marvin is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @LaurenMarvin.