Digital: Word!: Ra Ruiz Leon

Sep 29, 2021, 7:00 pm8:30 pm EDT



Through the power of Indigenous oral traditions, Ra Ruiz Leon uses words and movement to honor and celebrate her identity as Borikua-Taino and to envision a world that is healing/healed.


Ra Ruiz Leon (JibaRa Ni’Aku) is a Borikua-Taino dancer and poet from Boriken, descendant of Taino, European, and African ancestors. Her work is focused on decolonizing and honoring/healing her lineage through art and Indigenous circles. She hosts AREITO, a gathering of Taino artists. Ra began spoken word as a struggling homeless youth competing in poetry slams across the nation and was even featured in the New York Times multimedia project 1 in 8 Million. Ra has led workshops for The Nuyorican Poets Café, Wesleyan University, The New School University, and The Bowery Poetry Club. With dance roots in the Afro-Indigenous Bomba y Plena, she teaches Flamenco, Salsa, and poetry as a Teaching Artist for various NYC dance organizations such as Ballet Hispanico, Dance Wave, and Flamenco Vivo. In 2018, she worked on a piece mentored by Noche Flamenca’s Soledad Barrio and Martin Santangelo. In 2019, Ra participated in the Flamenco & Spanish Dance Program at Jacobs Pillow. Currently, she is part of Flamenco Vivo’s Colmena Program. Inspired by her background in activism, she leads the initiative Flamenco Decolonized which will be presenting this summer as part of the Flamenco History and Research Symposium at the Alburquerque Flamenco Festival.

Word!, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, presents live performance of storytelling, monologues, spoken word, stand-up, or creative talks. Each performance – free and open to the public – runs 30-45 minutes, traditionally scheduled within the hour before a dance concert presented in Gibney’s Theater. Due to COVID-19, Word! for the fall season will happen on Zoom.

All Fall 2021 Season events will be held online via Zoom. Gibney’s Box Office can be reached via email. For ticketing inquiries or requests, please email Marketing & Audience Services Manager, Kimiko Tanabe, at

Gibney encourages people with disabilities to attend online offerings, and we welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. This event features live ASL interpreters and live captioning. If you have any questions or additional access needs, please email us at or call us at 212-677-8560 (voice only) at least 24 hours in advance of the event you plan to attend.

Image Description: Ra Ruiz Leon posing with arms and hands in a black and white photo at Jacobs Pillow in MA, summer 2019.

Photo of Ra Ruiz Leon by Kelli Brown.