Performing Arts

Performing Arts Performance

Performing Arts Performance

Performing Arts has been a part of IAIA for more than 50 years and has produced numerous alumni and faculty who have made grand contributions to the performance and entertainment field. In 2014, the IAIA President’s Cabinet passed a resolution to revive the Performing Arts since it’s pause in the mid 1990’s. Once IAIA became an institution of higher education in 1975, courses continued, but Performing Arts was never a degree program until December of 2018. With the newly launched BFA and AFA degrees the department recognizes the importance and interdisciplinary nature of performing arts in building an Indigenous vision. Through our degree programs students discover their role as architects in the creation of artistic voice through theater, movement, sound and visuals.


In 2018 IAIA completed the construction of a state-of-the-art Performing Arts and Fitness Center (PAFC). The new center has a Strand technology Black Box theater, dance studio, rehearsal hall, costume and design shop, a green room, access to pianos and percussion and an outdoor performance space with natural magnified acoustics.


The department believes in the power of the performing arts to positively impact society one individual at a time. The original vision by Lloyd Kiva New suggests that Indigenous theaters “can be evolved out of the framework” that honors traditions and will result only if an educational process respects and acknowledges such ways of knowing. Performing Arts builds upon that notion to envision boundless ways of creating story. The three pillars of the Performing Arts program—performance, applied arts, and arts education—prepare students for multiple ways to work in the field upon graduation and to live full and productive lives as artists.


The goals of the Performing Arts program remain current with the profession and are designed to prepare students for a career in live theater, the performance industries, and community building. The department offers students the opportunity to train in the area of theater while gaining essential experience in music, movement and puppetry with masters in the field. Our goals are to

  • educate and train students for professional work to the highest degree of their artistic and intellectual ability
  • build communities through applied arts
  • develop competent, professional art educators, practitioners, and leaders
  • unify the inseparable values of experience, insight and production to stage mastery and performance
  • celebrate artistry and experience through Indigenous ways of knowing

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply knowledge of Indigenous performance histories and practices
  • Collaborate with others to create performance
  • Appraise performance and process in respectful and responsible ways through discussion and writing
  • Exercise creative leadership
  • Apply principles of interdisciplinary expression
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of technical systems necessary for actualizing live performance production

Performing Arts offers internship and apprenticeship credit, extra-curricular workshops with leaders in the field, and access to both on-campus and off-campus events, all designed to expand student’s appreciation in the field of performing arts.

Sheila A. Rocha, PhD

Sheila A. Rocha, PhD


Assistant Professor & Chair
Performing Arts
P (505) 424-5952

Jonah Winn-Lenetsky

Jonah Winn-Lenetsky

Assistant Professor
Performing Arts
P (505) 424-2341

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