Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works has been making risk-taking, adventurous dance theater since 1985. Our dances and theatrical works are visually rich, provocative and grounded in deep-diving movement exploration. We are committed to collaborations with artists in all disciplines, and to fostering relationships with an international creative community. It is our intention is to, in the words of writer Maria Popova, "seek out and share what magnifies our spirit."


What I learned from watching Kazuo Ohno perform at the age of 78 is that age has its own potency and urgency. As I age, I find that my body becomes more articulate and subtle, my dancing more immediate and imperative.

My dancemaking is rooted in the embodied practices of Authentic Movement, somatic inquiry, Body-Mind Centering, Deep Listening and my experience as a dancer and actor. I am interested in intention, inspiration, obsession. I see improvisation as a political act and passionate gesture. I want to know more about what the body desires, what it demands, where it takes us and how often we do not go along for the ride; about rhythm, stillness and listening; about finding and losing oneself in the movement and the moment.

What I love to see in performance is something Stephen Nachmanovitch says about art, absorption, and flow: "The noun of self becomes a verb." What I am seeking is the complete, exquisite surrender of the dancer to the dance. Movement and mover inseparable, incandescent. That is my goal as a choreographer and as a performer.

We acknowledge the audience as participants in the performative moment. Our intention is to challenge any disembodied detachment from the body, objectification or dismissal of, or indifference to my body, your body, the collective body, including the bodies of other species, and the body of the earth itself.


  • Performances
    We create dance theater performances that are inspired by our relationship to the natural world (RIVER/BODY), our relationship with other species (Dancing with Horses), and a range of social and political concerns, including LGBT, women's rights, and social justice issues of privilege and exclusion. Our dances are trans-disciplinary and integrate projection and lighting, set and costume design to create sensual worlds that draw the audience deeply into the physical and emotional experience of the dance. Performance works include commissions for dance or theater companies, individual artists and those wishing to dance with horses.

  • Equine Assisted Learning and Therapies
    Embodied Equine Experiencing℠ is an equine-facilitated, experiential learning modality in which horses are co-teachers/facilitators for those who wish to develop a closer and more conscious connection with themselves, and for those who are recovering from trauma, addiction, eating disorders, or deep-seated, long-standing concerns around self-worth and the ability to realize goals. Paula integrates her experience as a Tellington TTEAM practitioner, Somatic Movement Therapist and a Somatic Experiencing® practitioner (the trauma recovery work of Dr. Peter Levine) into her work with horses and clients.

  • Classes, Residencies and Workshops
    Paula has taught dance, somatic movement studies, composition and improvisation for the past 40 years. She weaves her knowledge of concert dance with Laban Movement Analysis, somatic and embodiment practices, Authentic Movement and improvisational strategies drawn for her years of collaboration with artists in many disciplines. Paula and her company offer a wide range of educational opportunities for deepening performance skills and bodily experience. In addition to classes and creating new work with students, we offer discussions, post-performance conversation, and opportunities for community engagement. Please look at the listing of classes and workshops and contact us to develop a residency program that suit's your program's needs and your specific goals for your students.

  • Somatic Movement Education and Therapy
    This work helps others discover a deep, sensuous experience of the body by nourishing qualities of improvisation, play and curiosity in all aspects of work and life. Work with clients includes somatic movement therapy and equine experiential learning practices that help us feel and understand ourselves with greater clarity, are experiencing our bodies in a continuous, feeling, conscious way - what we call "body presence".

    Paula's background is as an improviser, dancer, choreographer, writer, rider, teacher, movement educator and therapist. In her experience, the most reliable and authentic teacher is the body. Learning to listen to what the body is expressing can help to unravel many of the patterns or beliefs that limit our pleasure and creativity.

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