Raoul Max Trujillo, aka Raoul Maximiano Trujillo de Chauvelon, was born in Northern New Mexico. He is a mixed blood descendant of Ute, Apache, Comanche, Pueblo, Tlascalan, French, Sephardic Jew and Andalusian Moor. After high school, he spent three years serving in the military in Germany. After his discharge, he worked as an alpine ski instructor in Taos, New Mexico. Ski Flash Magazine out of France wrote about him and his unique style of teaching skiing. He left the world of professional skiing after traveling extensively through Mexico, Central and South America on his way to teach in San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina. It was a wake up call to exploring native America and beginning his journey in creating art based on his cultural roots.. He started work in the theatre as a scenic painter and landed his first job in 1977 as an actor/dancer in a production of Equus, in Santa Fe, N.M. It was his first paid professional work as well as his debut in the theatre with no training at all albeit high school drama. He now had the bug to study formally. He began dancing in Los Angeles in 1978 at USC and saw his first modern dance and ballet productions; Pilobolus, Martha Graham and Rudolph Nureyev. He was hooked.
The next two years, he trained extensively with the Toronto Dance Theatre and Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York City on scholarships. He was asked to join Nikolais Dance Theatre under the direction of the master Alwin Nikolais, who became his mentor and he began touring the world performing in the grandest of opera houses and old Roman theaters in northern Africa to bamboo fields in China. He also learned scenic, costume and lighting design during this time from 1980 to 1987. After leaving the company, he began his solo work as dancer and choreographer and commenced his journey into shamanic ceremonials and incorporating native myths and legends in his work. After the first decade of performing as a dancer, he became the choreographer and co-director for the American Indian dance Theatre, the first professional native dance company incorporating traditional dance with contemporary retelling of myths and legends. He choreographed, “The Shaman’s Journey”, for the Asia Society in New York City and later was adapted into a short film for PBS on Alive From Off Center. He went on to join creative partners Alejandro Roncerria and Rene Highway in Toronto. This work resulted in creating successful theatre pieces for Native Earth Theatre Company. He directed, “The Son Of Ayash” and “The Jaguar Project”. For Buffalo State College and the Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, he directed,”The Maid of the Mist and the Thunder Beings”, and for the Ordway Music Theatre, “Tribe”.
His work with Alejandro continued and he helped establish the Aboriginal Dance Project at the Banff Center for the Arts to further train Indigenous dancers from all over the world. For New Line Cinema, he choreographed the dances, ceremonies and rituals for Terrence Malick’s film, “The New World”. Raoul began work as an actor in film and television in 1988 and continues to work up to the present. See resume for those projects. Finally, he created his present company Tzacol productions, Inc. in 1992. It is the umbrella company for Tzacol Tantric Theatre and Tzacol Tribal Theatre made up of dancer, actor and aerial artists, producing original work in the realm of tartaric and tribal spectacle. “Forbidden Goddesses”, is the first realized work. Work on “Journey”, a multi-media piece for Roots and Rhythms Festival in Santa Fe resulted in the full evening work, “Homo Erectus”. These last works are multi-media and inter-disciplinary theatre and film projects. “The Dreamer” is his first completed screenplay. In 2002, he received the CANCOM Ross Charles award in Canada to attend the Banff Center’s screenwriters workshop for aboriginal storytellers. The last branch of the company, Tzacol Tantric Arts produces painting and sculptural art. His work now spans more than three decades as an artist in varied disciplines and media. He has gone from dancer to choreographer, actor to director and screenwriter during this time.
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