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Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard
Founding Executive & Artistic Director

With indigenous roots in the mountains of Puerto Rico, Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard is a proud blood descendant of the Tainos of Boriken (Puerto Rico). Tekina-eirú continues the mission of her family by serving her community. She has dedicated her life to preserving and transmitting Puerto Rico's cultural traditions to the new generation. She is a historical and cultural researcher, playwright, choreographer, photographer, inspirational speaker, singer/songwriter, teacher and multi-disciplinary performer of Puerto Rico's traditional music and dance. As an innovator (11 patents) holding a doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, her combined skill-set is unique in the Southwest.

Dr. Maynard is the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance & Cultural Center, founded in 1997 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). It is the only cultural center in Texas and the Southwest affiliated with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture for the offering of authentic, high-quality cultural programming. As the visionary since the cultural center's inception, her Executive duties span every responsibility required by a nonprofit Senior Executive. She is the Founding Artistic Director of PRFDance's cultural arts programs and performing company of dancers and musicians. Since 2001, achievement and quality has been validated by repeat support by the National Endowment for the Arts, including an NEA Chairman's Award (2007), the Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division, and Humanities Texas (since 2011).

Beyond her cultural center mission, Dr. Maynard is a Certified Professional Spiritual Life Coach (CPC, CLC, CSC). She enjoys sharing Nature's timeless wisdom through her bilingual book of photography, inspirational anecdotes, and interative workshops -- When Nature Sings: A Taino Journey -- developed with support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, Mid-America Arts Alliance, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, and Humanities Texas with umbrella support from La Pena. Dr. Maynard was named the Austin YWCA Woman of the Year for Arts (2005), and was recognized for her contributions to the Taino community with Areito Award for Dance and Theatre (2009).

Cultural Arts Expertise

Born into a musical family, Tekina-eirú was raised in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the suburbs of La Isla (The Bronx). Surrounded by elders nostalgic for home, Puerto Rican music and dance were always a vibrant and active part of Tekina-eirú's life. From weddings to impromptu gatherings, she looked forward to family and friends bringing guitars, congas, guiros, and maracas, and dancing to the rhythms of Puerto Rico all night long. As a young child, Tekina-eirú enjoyed playing percussion on "latas de galletas" (tins of Export Soda crackers) to the sounds of latin albums she would buy with her own allowance. As an adult, Tekina-eirú was inspired to bring her rich culture to life in Austin Texas so her baby son could know the joy of her childhood.

Dr. Maynard is an expert resource on the Mainland for Puerto Rico's cultural history and heritage. Since 1998 she has been trained by the patriarchs of Puerto Rico's ancestral traditions based in native Taino, Spanish, and West African roots. Each year she returns to La Isla for research and the learning of oral traditions from generous Puerto Rican masters with whom she has co-directed and shared the stage including (+ means ongoing): Modesto Cepeda (1998+), Joaquin Nieves Caldero, Director of Guateque Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico (1999+), Tata Cepeda (1999+), Eric Gonzalez & Raul de la Paz of Gibaro de Puerto Rico (2001+), Los Pleneros de la 21 (2002), J. Emanuel Dufrasne-Gonzalez and Nelie Lebron-Robles of Paracumbe (2002-2007), William Cepeda with AfroBoricua (2005), El Concilio Taino (2007+), Los Tambores de Felix Alduen (2009), Tito Matos, Director of Viento de Agua (2011+), Raul Ayala y Los Hermanos Ayala (2012+), Orlando Laureano with Jovino Gonzalez (2013+), Jorge Emmanuelli Nater (2014), and Ricky Villanueva (2015). She has taken workshops in folkloric drum making with Papo DelValle and Juan Fuentes (2004/2007).

In addition to her ongoing training by Puerto Rican masters, Tekina-eirú studied a variety of classical dance forms in New York and Austin, including ballet and jazz, specializing in character dance. Her move to Texas in 1992 opened a new world of Mexican folkloric dance, where she trained with Roy Lozano, Chuy Chacon, Raymundo Guzman, and Jaime Guerrero (Monterrey, MX). Her past credits include mainstage performances on the Paramount and Zilker Hillside theatres with the Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklórico de Texas professional company (1993-1997) and character dance roles with Austin Dance Ensemble (Arletta Howard-Logan). She co-choreographed and performed in the Cenzontle music video "La Bruja," dedicated to the folklore of Veracruz, Mexico (1998).

Tekina-eirú is a choreographer and teacher of traditional dance, music, games, culture and history to preschool through professional adults. She is a multi-disciplinary performer and plays a variety of instruments including folkloric percussion, strings, and indigenous flutes. She began taking piano lessons at age 5, and in graduate-school studied classical piano with Russian concert pianist Natasha Snitkovsky. She learned folkloric percussion on barriles, panderos, and maraca with Bomba Patriarch Modesto Cepeda. At age 11 she taught herself to play guitar, and in 2013, decided to be true to herself and relearned to play -- as a lefty. She is learning Spanish guitar with Isai Chacon (Director of Flamencura).

Thanks to her great teacher, Rupert Reyes, Director of Teatro Vivo, Tekina-eirú s has learned to move the stories from her heart to the stage. Since 2004, Tekina-eirú enjoys creating original, bilingual (English/Spanish) plays featuring live music and dance that bring to light untold stories and unsung heroes in Puerto Rican history. Her works featuring traditional to popular Puerto Rican music and dance have included: "Pirates of Puerto Rico (2004)", "Puerto Rico Ever After (2004)", "Puerto Rico Mi Patria (2005)", "Piragua Man (2006)", "Angelito Borincano (2007)", "The Journey Back (2008), "Pa Mi Gente (2009)", "500 Years (2010)", "Boricua Beisbol (2011)", Mami Boricua (2012), Boricua Spirit (2013), Expreso Pony de Boriken (2014), and Mi Tierra Boricua (2015).

Her Taino Spirit

Tekina-eirú is a consecrated Elder of El Concilio Taino Guatu Ma-cu A Boriken , a Taino pueblo in restoration based in the mountains of Cayey, Puerto Rico. She is a Tekina in the Suania -- a Teacher of Taino traditions in the Americas, and a leader of ceremonial dance. Tekina-eirú enjoys composing indigenous music on Taino earth clay and bone flutes to the traditional rhythms of her Taino pueblo, and songs accompanied by guitar in Jibaro-style fused with Taino language. She rarely leaves home without a ceremonial maraca.

Tekina-eirú is mentored in indigenous traditions by the (Chief) Cacike Caciba Opil Veguilla. Tekina-eirú 's Amerindian Mitochondrial DNA identifying her as Taino from Boriken (Puerto Rico) (Haplogroup A-1) was "confirmed" by Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado, Professor of Genetics at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in 2008, and further identified that her family's Boriken origins were of the ancient peoples that predated the Tainos, the Arcaicos (The Ancient Ones). The mtDNA results were of no great surprise to her Mom, who wondered what the question was.

Dr. Maynard complements her indigenous training and life experiences with professional development in holistic and integrated health, healing, stress management, and ecotherapy. She is a Certified Professional Spiritual Life Coach who enjoys helping women in transition transform their lives.

Tekina-eirú enjoys instilling insight and appreciation for the timeless wisdom God transmits through the natural world around us, through her published work and interactive workshops based in Taino spirituality -- When Nature Sings: A Taino Journey. Her keynote talks and workshops combine inspirational anecdotes based in Taino spirituality, original photography, and live Taino flute music to share nature's wisdom. Uplifting songs with guitar, participation in music-making and role playing share insights, encourage meaningful discussion, and provide "tools" to take home that can be used in everyday life. Workshops serve all ages and interests, and include Texas Continuing Education (CEU) workshops "for the Healer" that teach a powerful way for counselors, social workers, caregivers and other healers to renew themselves through a connection to Nature.

Bridging Engineering to Arts

Beyond her cultural credentials, Dr. Maynard is an innovator (11 patents) and holds a doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Through her company, Flametree, she combines her 20 years of experience in the high-tech industry with near 20 years of executive leadership in the non-profit sector to deliver custom programs spanning her diverse range of expertise, including consulting that help nonprofits make breakthrough achievements. Her unique multidisciplinary expertise is inspiring development of creative STEAM workshops that use lively Puerto Rican traditional dance to teach engineering.

Puerto Rican music and dance has always been a very special part of Tekina-eirú's life. She is very proud to share the joy of rich traditions with her community, and hand down cultural heritage to the next generation!

For more information, see Founding Director's:

  • Executive CV / Non Profit Sector
  • Cultural Arts Addendum (Grants Awarded)
  • Technical Leadership / Engineering CV
  • Biographies (Technical, Cultural Arts, and Native Heritage)
  • Coach & Consulting information - Flametree Corporation

                                                                                                                Photo Credit

    Puerto Rican Cultural Center
    Cultural Center: 701 Tillery Street #13, Austin TX 78702-3738
    Send Mail: 15228 Quiet Pond Court, Austin TX 78728
    Phone: +1.512.251.8122
    Email: dance@prfdance.org          Web: www.prfdance.org