Image of choreographers at the inaugural session of Juntos, part of the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers.

Juntos: QTPOC Dancemakers Gathering

I feel so much joy, honor, and privilege to have co-lead the inaugural session Juntos with Liz Duran Boubion at LINES Dance Center. We attempted to create a space and time for Latino/a/x contemporary choreographers, uncovering what it means today to make art under/through/against the banner of “latinidad.” Thanks Miguel Gutiérrez, Adrian AriasIrvin GonzalezAlfonso CerveraKarla Quintero, Jocelyn Reyes, José Navarrete, Javier Stell-Fresquez, Debby KajiyamaRosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Gabriel Mata, and David Herrera for trusting us with your time, bodies, and work. What a treat to be in one room with so many fabulous, inspiring, funny, insightful, caring, nurturing, and relentless dance makers/poets/artists/singers/visionaries. 
Participants developed these images as part of an exercise where they map their body based on their relationship to their kidney.

Borderlines Methods

 

Borderlines Body Mapping Exercise, Feb 2018
Participants generated these images during a Borderlines Body Mapping Exercise that focused on the kidney.

 

Borderlines Methods

On Friday, three of us met in Oakland to resume the ideas that we started to develop during the FRESH Festival. I facilitated a movement and writing workshop focused on the kidney.

 

Participants developed these images as part of an exercise where they map their body based on their relationship to their kidney.
Participants developed these images as part of an exercise where they map their body based on their relationship to their kidney.

 

We explored movement initiation from the kidney. Then, we used this movement to investigate the images and mapping that arises when we focus on the kidney.

Participants developed these images as part of an exercise where they map their body based on their relationship to their kidney.
Participants developed these images as part of an exercise where they map their body based on their relationship to their kidney.

During the workshop, we drove to the East Side Arts Alliance in east Okaland to participate in a community screening of films that explain the rights that people can exercise when they interact with immigration and customs agents.

The participants took a community field trip to the East Side Arts Alliance for a film screening of "Know Your Rights."
The participants took an impromptu community field trip to the East Side Arts Alliance for a film screening of “Know Your Rights.”

We will resume these workshops in March during a day-long retreat at the Djerassi Artist Ranch.

 

 

 

 

FRESH Festival 2018 Workshop. Borderlines, Exodus, Corporealities: Feelings and Concepts of the Foreigner by Jose Navarrete and Juan Manuel Aldape Munoz

FRESH Festival Workshop

FRESH Festival Practices
FRESH Festival 2018 Practices

From January 22-26, 2018, I’m co-facilitating a workshop with Jose Navarrete at the Joe Goode Annex as part of a FRESH Festival workshop series.

“This workshop is an exploration of documented and undocumented bodies in motion across borders. We will center our time together on the complexities and residualities of the foreign body, considering exodus, memory, culture, and belonging. We will take a disembodied approach to foreground the felt conditions that force the body to immigrate and experience the multi dimensionalities of shapeshifting in new environments. We will consider the following concerns: How do the political, social, and economic conditions of immigrant bodies impact feelings of moving and dying across imaginary and real borders? What is the physical capacity of the body when it is blocked, obstructed, removed or impeded? How are these border-realities manifested through relationships, architecture, and public spaces? An inquiry of motion, memory, and borders facilitated by Juan Manuel Aldape and Jose Navarrete.”


January 21, 2018, we met at the cafe on Alcatraz and San Pablo to finalize our preparation for the workshop. My goal for this week to scaffold up the workshop from self to social justice, using performance to help us challenge the current anti-immigrant sentiments. The first day will be about preparing our bodies and our minds to treat other people’s stories and testimonies about immigration. The second day we will focus on other people’s stories. The subsequent days we will spend time preparing for direct action or to prepare a kit for dealing with anti-immigrant sentiments.


Here are a few images and reflections from the workshop:

 

I facilitated a warmup exercise that focused on the first chakra or energy center, the root chakra. This energy center is where we hold our connection to our roots and our ancestors, but it is also an energy center that can be unbalanced. When it is unbalanced it leads to fear of one’s safety. After I facilitated this part, Jose asked the participants to find a place of pain in their body and to explore the pain that can arise from that center. He wanted the examine how pain can be a source of movement and performance. He laid out images about the body that he collected from Mexico. We did this exercise for 25 minutes. The participants were able to use these for their inspiration. Then, we debriefed for 15 minutes.



On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, I wanted to focus on the second energy chakra and give attention to what can happen when this energy center is off-balance. l asked the participants to begin standing if they are able to. They held their right hand just below their belly button and their left hand on their back, asking them to explore this energy center for ten minutes, giving it different forms of attention, gentle, sped up, and pulsating. Our desire was to receive this energy center and to allow it to drive our movement as we moved through the studio and as we interact with the physical space.


FRESH Festival 2018
FRESH Festival 2018 Workshop. Borderlines, Exodus, Corporealities: Feelings and Concepts of the Foreigner

On Wednesday and Thursday, I thought a lot about the aesthetics of cultural memory in performance and embodied dance practices related to social justice. I was thinking about these elements because I was captured by a couple of striking images that occurred during the structured score. At one point in time, I was looking around the room and I looked over and saw three bodies standing in front of the projection that featured the three armadillos. José was one of the people and he was trying to feed the armadillo. I knew that he could not feed the armadillo because it was just the screen projection. Also, I knew that the moment would pass when he would step away from the video. Likewise, in another moment as the score ended, a couple of the participants were on the floor and they had created different shrines or different installations that curated their experience that they had just developed. Several people had put lemons on one of the participant’s head with the lemon peel. These two moments stood out to me because they challenged me to think about how healing happens and what is the role of the aesthetics in helping us frame that trauma that we feel needs healing. Also, I was thinking about how those specific instances made me question what was part of cultural memory. Those specific instances were developed using contemporary modern dance and performance practices and they were drawing upon knowledge about energy flow and ancestral knowledge about the armadillo, as well as drawing upon information about the voice.


FRESH Festival 2018 Workshop. Borderlines, Exodus, Corporealities: Feelings and Concepts of the Foreigner. Juan Manuel Aldape Munoz and Jose Navarrete
FRESH Festival 2018 Workshop. Borderlines, Exodus, Corporealities: Feelings and Concepts of the Foreigner
Live Arts in Resistance Showcase #5 Featuring Juan M Aldape

Live Arts in Resistance

Live Arts in Resistance
Live Arts in Resistance Showcase #5 Eastside Arts Alliance

I was invited to participate in the Live Arts in Resistance showcase and had the honor of sharing the space with an amazing group of artists from the East Bay.

LAIR Showcase #5: Building a United Front

March 17, 2017

Friday & Saturday, March 17th & 18th    8pm

Panel Discussion March 18th @5pm

EastSide Cultural Center

2277 International Blvd, Oakland

$20 (no one turned away)

LINEUP:

Afia Thompson/Bahiya Movement

Keisha Turner

Stephanie Bastos

Juan Aldape

NAKA Dance Theater

Shavon Moore/Singer

M’Kala Payton/Poet

Jaime Cortez/Poet

The theme for this LAIR production is “Building a United Front”. LAIR fosters risk-taking, rigor, and a radical critique on the role of political activism, cultural work and art in society. “

Cinco Palmas: Work-in-Progress

Cinco Palmas Description:

Cinco Palmas is a bilingual dance-theater performance that addresses child migration from Honduras to Los Angeles, written from the perspective of a circumstantial trafficker.  The movement and text move across a range of emotions, from laughter to child-like curiosity to anger with corrupt governments. The script for this performance is based on actual accounts and is written in Spanish (the language of the original testimony), accompanied by an experiment of mistranslation in the form of English supertitles. The project is a collaboration between TDPS Ph.D. students Juan Manuel Aldape and Martha Herrera-Lasso. Read the review by Kumars Salehi> 

FLACC 2015 Yvonne Portra Photos

FLACC 2015 Yvonne Portra Photos

Natalie Sanchez and performers from the Students of Color Solidarity Coalition (2014). Performing on the UC Berkeley campus, the students talk about the problematic of UC Regents' appointment of UC President's Janet Napolitano.

Performance Colectiva: Latinas and Critical Community Practice

Feature Image: Students of Color Solidarity Coalition and Performance Colectiva at the University of California Berkeley. Image courtesy of Natalie Sanchez.

Bubbles are meant to burst. Enter Natalie Sanchez and her collaborators of Performance Colectiva, a group composed of current students as well as recently-graduated students from the University of California at Berkeley (CAL). Natalie and the troupe’s collaborators successfully graduated from the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) with the mission to connect and bridge communities in the San Francisco Bay Area through performance. Performance Colectiva’s story is one of an exciting theatrical beginning in a class that catapulted outside the campus. Natalie recently sat down with me at CAL’s Free Speech Movement Cafe to talk about her experience and the development of Performance Colectiva.

Natalie Sanchez on the stage of Durham Studio Theatre at the University of California Berkeley. Image courtesy of Natalie Sanchez.
Natalie Sanchez on the stage of Durham Studio Theatre at the University of California Berkeley. Image courtesy of Natalie Sanchez.

Performance Colectiva formed out of a desire to continue the work started in a class. Natalie registered in Performance Studies Professor Angela Marino’s Teatro Lab class, created by Marino in 2013 to give CAL students an opportunity to learn about theatre in Latin America. Teatro Project is a group of Latinas/os in the Theater and Performance Studies Department advocating diversity across the campus and the local community. Working rigorously throughout the Spring semester, the lessons culminated in a community performance Bodies, Buildings, Borders: An Experimental Showcase. The student performance addressed themes directly impacting students of color by weaving personal reflections on the experience of higher education with perceptions of community struggles and political challenges.  Moved by the rewarding experience of the class and the reception of the production by the community attendees, the students felt compelled to continue working after the semester ended. Thus, Performance Colectiva was born. Natalie, in the final semester of senior year, felt the determination to enroll in one more semester to minor in Theater and Performance Studies.

Teatro Project students and Performance Colectiva members with Luis Valdez at El Teatro Campesino
Teatro Project students and Performance Colectiva members with Luis Valdez at El Teatro Campesino. Photo Courtesy of Angela Marino.

Natalie’s decision to stay an additional semester proved invigorating, but also critical in crystallizing the reason for Performance Colectiva. Following the initial performance, the students organized other performances and community  interventions to confront and burst the “Berkeley Bubble”. According to Sanchez, the “Bubble” is the resulting effect of students from CAL closing off ties with the communities in non-campus Berkeley and the greater East Bay. In the process of bursting the bubble, she has cultivated new relationships with the graduating students and with Marino, as well as found enriching opportunities to work with distinguished Bay Area Latino playwrights.

In Spring 2014, they helped bring Octavio Solis to CAL. As special guests to the Association for Theater in Higher Education annual conference,  they, alongside the Teatro Project,  adapted, directed and performed Luiz Valdez’s Zoot Suit. What is more, both the Teatro Project and Performance Colectiva are assisting TDPS with bringing eminent playwright Luiz Valdez to the UC Berkeley Campus. On November 18, Valdez will give the Keynote Lecture “The Power of Zero.” The lecture is opened to both the campus and community at large.

Ultimately, Sanchez remarks, Performance Colectiva’s goal is to be a “performance pipeline so folks that don’t identify with the [TDPS] department can go in and learn about their identity and find strategies and inspiration through taking classes.” They seek to provide a dual process for community engagement: CAL students connecting to the community and the community engaging with the department.  Hence, while Performance Colectiva uses performance as their practice to speak in educational spheres about issues affecting students of color,  they are equally involved in the community advocating migrant justice, fair wages and political enfranchisement.

Natalie Sanchez (Center) with performers and other mechxistas at UC Berkeley. A performance about fair wages and rights for UC Workers
Natalie Sanchez (Center) with performers and other mechxistas at UC Berkeley (2013). A performance about fair wages and rights for UC Workers. Image Courtesy of Natalie Sanchez.

Support Performance Colectiva and learn more about where to watch their upcoming performances.

Performance Collaboration with Carol Borja in Morelia, Mexico

Psychosis 4.48 Poster
Psychosis 4.48 Poster

On Sunday, I am traveling to Morelia, Mexico for a performance collaboration at the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts (CMMAS). This performance project occurs October 10, 2014. My performance will be a collaboration  with Carol Borja, Morelia-based Performance Artist and resident fellow at CMMAS. Carol invited me to collaborate and perform her adaption of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. Kane’s brutal text deals with clinical depression and suicide. Borja adapted the original text and produced an accompanying sound score. I am developing original choreography to be performed in tandem with the sound score inside a unique set design, informed by Borja’s ethnographic field-work in mental institutions. According to Borja, the focus of the performance is to advocate the visibility of the mentally ill minority in Mexico. The performance intentionally coincides with International Mental Health Day.

Carol Borja in Irapuato, Mexico
Carol Borja in Irapuato, Mexico

Also, I will be co-facilitating a three-day movement and dance workshop at the Alfredo Zalce Museum of Contemporary Art (MACAZ). During the workshops, we will guide participants through the choreographic process used to develop my movement for Borja’s adaption. Also, I will concentrate on teaching performance methods that I have utilized for recent site-specific productions in Cloneen, Ireland and Belgrade, Serbia.

Juan Aldape in Irapuato, Mexico
Juan Aldape in Irapuato, Mexico

I have had the great pleasure of working with Carol Borja for over two years. She generously joined me in Guanajuato to document the performance Los Tres Peligros (2012). In addition to her literary and performance art skills, Carol possesses a poignant graphic and photographic eye. Though we met in Mexico, we were already linked based on our mutual education at the University of Warwick. While not part of the same cohort, we both received an MA in International Performance Research.

Collaboration
Collaboration at Museo De Arte Contemporáneo Alfredo Zalce

Learn more about Carol’s work by visiting her website.