artistic director and founder


Carlos holds an MFA in Physical Theatre (2007) from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre where he studied a range of movement techniques including Commedia dell’Arte, Laban, Lecoq-based theatre dynamics, Alexander Technique, as well as an extensive voice training in the Linklater voice method. As part of his thesis project, he went on to train Circus Arts and Chinese Acrobatics under the tutelage of Master Coach Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center. He specialized in the disciplines of Aerial Straps (Sangles Aériennes) and Acrobatic Rope (Corde Lise). Cruz is the Assistant Professor of Physical Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, offering theatre students rigorous training in physical theatre, stage acrobatics, circus arts and vocal techniques. 

In the professional realm, Carlos was a fulltime company member of the Do Jump! Dance Theatre, and Imago Theatre, touring nationally and internationally. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Pelú Theatre project; a physical theatre company mainly interested in researching the convergence between Contemporary Circus Arts and Theatre as performance vocabulary, particularly in the exploration of themes related to the Latino immigrant experience in the United States. 

The company is currently invested in the Pícaro project, a physical theatre take on the journey of a central American immigrant set to tour in the Summer of 2018 and for which Cruz was awarded the Princess Grace Foundation 2017 Works in Progress Award for the development of Pícaro with the support of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC.

Other awards include the 2011 Princess Grace Foundation Theatre Fellowship Award, and the 2014 Arts and Science Council’s McColl award for the development of new, socially-engaged work. With the latter he developed a community powered contemporary circus company, the Nouveau Sud project, from and about the city of Charlotte and the evolving concept of what is often referred to as the New South. The Nouveau Sud project had its debut production in April 2016, awarded a best of Charlotte Acrobatics and Dance distinction, and an ongoing initiative with a new show coming up in the summer.

Cruz has been an active member of both ATME and ATHE since 2014, taking a leading role in paving the path for the research in Contemporary Circus/Circus Theatre within our association. Notable events organized by Cruz are the pre-conference tour to the Cité des Arts du Cirque during our ATHE 2015 in Montreal with a special guided visit to Cirque du Soleil HQ, and the Circus Theatre research events at our last ATHE conference in Las Vegas in collaboration with Cirque Mechanics and Cirque du Soleil.