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Cynthia Paniagua: Bio

“My journeys to Peru are part of my quest to respect my ancestors through dance, and share that energy and to my students.”

Cynthia Panaigua is a NY-based dancer/choreographer and Fulbright scholar. She specializes in creating works that combine modern and Peruvian folk traditions that explore themes of social and cultural identity.

Born in Queens, NY to a Peruvian nurse and Puerto Rican musician, Cynthia identifies herself as “Peruvian, Puerto Rican, a New Yorker – and after reconnecting with my roots, Andean.” After obtaining a B.A in dance at Hunter College in 2003, Cynthia won a Fulbright grant in 2004-05 to study in Peru and “unearth the mystery of the dances.”

She studied at two leading institutions in Lima (University of San Marcos and José María Arguedas) before journeying into the heartland—up the coast, into the Andes, through the Amazon—to study with living masters of dance.

The release of “Soy Andina” quickly elevated Cynthia’s profile both in the USA and Peru. She performed and taught throughout Peru on a U.S.
Embassy-sponsored film tour. Returning to New York City, she began teaching Peruvian dance classes and performed with various groups in the region. Then, back to Peru, where was then hired to choreograph and perform in two of Peru’s biggest music-theater shows: “El Vuelo Del Condor” in Lima (2008) and “Kusikay in Cuzco” (2009).

Today Cynthia has returned again to New York City to earn a Masters in Performance Studies at NYU. She is also planning a new dance company/school incorporating modern dance with Peruvian culture, identity and politics. But she’s always returning to Peru to study, perform and deepen the connection to her mother’s culture.


Latino Public Broadcasting Interview with Mitch Teplitsky

This interview originally appeared on the the website for Voces, the television series that broadcast Soy Andina.

This is your first film. How did the idea begin to document both characters’ journeys to Peru?

The project has its roots in my 20-year friendship with Nélida. We met soon after she emigrated to New York City in 1989. I was volunteering at the International Center as an English conversation partner for immigrants. Neli was also a member/volunteer. I was seeking someone to practice Spanish with, and was introduced to her. We became friends.

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Cynthia Paniagua (New York)

Ballet Folklorico Peru (Paterson

Peru Profundo (Chicago)


Turn Right at Machu Picchu

The White Rock

American Chica

Faces of Celebration: Photographs of Peru

Shaping Society through Dance

The Guinea Pig: Healing, Food, and Ritual in the Andes


John Cohen

Danzak (Gabriela Yepes)

Cooking up Dreams (Guarango)


Fertur Travel Peru

Lima Tours

South American Explorers - Peru


NEWS (in English)

Peruvian Times


Mayu Hand-knit Alpaca

BarSol Pisco