Spring/Summer 2020 In Dance

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HERE WE ARE. Have you figured out your superpowers yet? During hard times I’ve discovered that I’m able to call upon something unknown. I call this discovery my superpower. I now know that I can take on difficult and dark moments and find an inner strength, my superpower, to move forward. Do these moments hurt? Is it hard to fig- ure out what to do next? Will the experi- ence leave scars? Yes, yes, and yes.

These months in quarantine have been wackadoodle—thanks for sharing this super descriptive and fitting word with me, Sima Belmar. I think we can agree that this is a super-wackadoodle time. WTF I’ve been relying on humor quite a bit to navigate the devastation brought on by this pandemic. The funny-bone distraction helps for a brief moment, and then there’s the realization that we are in a place none of us have ever experienced before. We might say it’s the penultimate ultimate realer than real life performance-art experience. Our covergirl for In Dance ’s new look is Anna Halprin. I’ve had the honor to hug this superwoman (remember hugs!). Over the past 24 years I’ve worked on projects that presented Anna’s work in numerous settings. And I would jump at the opportunity to work on more projects with Anna because as Janice Ross writes in this issue, “Anna has never made art for posterity nor has she put much stock in cementing her legacy. She is a champion of change.” Now that’s a superpower! I visualize her superwoman outfit being her skin—a powerful aging body that reinforces beauty without artifice. Over the next months, In Dance will continue to engage with writers and artists and stories in different ways. We are on an unknown path. We will stumble and discover that hope and desire are our guiding lights. Join me in continuing to develop and share superpowers that allow us to find a way. I hope you’re safe, and well, and being kind to yourself. —Wayne Hazzard, Artist Administrator

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11 / News


Dancers’ Group gratefully acknowledges the support of Bernard Osher Foundation, California Arts Council, Fleishhacker Foundation, Grants for the Arts, JB Berland Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Koret Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation and

NAKA Dance Theater in the Time of Covid José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama

Highlights and resources for our community—find more as a member or on dancersgroup.org

discuss their art-centered social justice work with Mujeres Unidas Y Activas by Sima Belmar 8 / When Salsa Swipes Right on Somatics, There is a Match

13/ Anna Halprin

In Dance celebrates one of our dance- mothers with three tributes—100 years is a Happy Birthday Milestone! by Janice Ross, Shinichi Iova-Koga and Daria Halprin Calling themselves For You, Rowena Richie, Erika Chong Shuch and Ryan Tacata create intimate encounters by Rowena Richie

Program Assistant Andréa Spearman Administrative Assistant Shellie Jew Bookkeeper Michele Simon Design Sharon Anderson

Finding communion via a marginal- ised practice during social distancing. by Juan Urbina and Amelia Uzetegui Bonilla

20/ First Things First

Photo (cover and above) by Rick Chapman




• Free events • Featured artists and news • Discounts • Jobs • Grants

(left -right ) Vaishali Ramachandran, Pooja Sohoni, Anjana Dasu, Chaitanya Gotur / photo by Santhosh Selvara



O n our way out of Margaret Jen- kins’ CHIME event on December 8, 2019, José Navarrete invited me to have a conversation about NAKA’s social justice work, including LAIR (Live Arts in Resistance), a series of performance showcases, artist residen- cies, and community town halls in partnership with EastSide Arts Alliance in East Oakland. By the time we found a date that worked for the three of us, COVID-19 had hit. I’ve been watching José and his artistic part- ner Debby Kajiyama dance together since before they officially founded NAKA Dance Theater in 2001. Their 20-year collaboration has been rooted in formal exploration, cultural

sent me the transcript of interviews they con- ducted with two of the women of MUA who are performers in Y Basta Ya! (Enough!) , a proj- ect slated to premiere in 2021. I have woven excerpts of the interviews with Adriana Embriz and Monica Gonzalez to include their perspec- tives on our discussion. Sima: What do you think is the most import- ant thing In Dance readers should know about what NAKA is doing these days? Right now is a weird time to answer that question but maybe— Debby: It’s such a weird time to answer that question. The project we’re working on now is with Mujeres Unidas Y Activas, a Latina organi-

engagement, and social justice, and has spawned works that put the political and the aesthetic into critical conversation. Debby, José, and I had our Zoom con- versation on March 20 when the Bay Area had been under official lockdown for less than a week. Much of our discussion cen- tered around their work with Mujeres Uni- das Y Activas (MUA), an organization dedi- cated to supporting and empowering Latina immigrants. Toward the end of our talk, both Debby and José expressed concern about speaking too much for the women. José asked, “How can we talk about the work and decentralize ourselves?” So two months after our initial conversation, Debby and José

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José: Hi, how are you? Sima: Good! José are you in Mexico or are you here?

zation that promotes economic and personal transformation and power for Latina immi- grants. Things feel so overwhelming that I don’t know what’s relevant right now. It’s relevant because I think that vulnerable populations are the hardest hit in these situations. So now we’re doing our best to try to work remotely. Monica Gonzalez: When we began working on the project and started to write things down, I thought wow! It was a total transformation. And it made me think, I really lived through a lot — and the scene really summed it up. The message of the work is that I am still alive. Maybe God didn’t want me to go to heaven yet. He was saying, “It’s not your time yet; you better speak out, tell your story.” Sima: What did the work look like before having to go remote and what does it look like now? Debby: Before it meant a lot of hanging out. Oh good, José’s here. José are you here?

she wanted me to leave — that would be ok. But I’m Mexican, so we share Latin American culture in common. And I connect with them through comedy, jokes with shared cultural references. We laugh a lot. And also, I am a man teaching dance. They were like, “Oh my god; you are so weird. You are not like the men we’re used to. You’re a dancer!” Sima: Was your sexuality explicit in this? Or was the fact that you’re a male dancer oper- ating as code? José: [Laughs.] I think they were like, “Hey, are you gay or something?” But the facilita- tors said, “We can’t give you that informa- tion.” So they were trying to be a little pro- tective. I never said I was gay but, well, you figure it out. I never came out but they were always thinking about it. Sima : It’s interesting to ponder the ways dif- ferent parts of our identities afford us access to different communities. José: I think our connection was cultural. We invited Juan Manuel Aldape and Marcelo Garzo Montalvo to teach and they were really accepted. The culture and the movement brought us together. Debby: We choose the facilitators really care- fully. And both Juan Manuel and Marcelo have that sensitivity toward the situation. That made it very safe. But in regards to José’s own sexuality, there is still homophobia in the com-

munity, so I don’t know if it would be a nega- tive thing or a positive thing, safe or less safe. Negotiating that is a little bit complicated. Sima: I was imagining that that’s what made it unspoken. Like you keep it unspoken and you let people feel comfort where they feel com- fort. Debby: Is that how you feel José? José: Sometimes. However, there are other women who are aware of the homophobia in the community and come out and say, “This is my girlfriend. I was with an abusive man for thirty years and now this is my partner.” Even for us it was like, Wow, this is so deep. I feel like there’s this polarity, some women who are homophobic and others who really confront that in a deeply fearless way. Debby: There were two queer/non-binary pro- fessional dancers in the process, and I noticed when the coming out would happen in the rehearsal process. [NAKA collaborator] Emelia [Martínez Brumbaugh] was talking to a MUA member who was telling a story about her son or nephew who might be gay, and Emelia said, “Oh I’m gay.” Just little things like that can help change the perception. Adriana Embriz: I remember it was a little difficult at first because many of the women have experienced domestic violence and sex- ual assault. José came to lead us in healing workshops and many of the women walked out when they saw him come in. They couldn’t

is the opposite, how to undrown. For them it’s basically a time to express their feelings about really intense things and cry and have the group listen. It was a process of getting to know people and then broach the idea of mov- ing and stretching, embodied practices. They love to dance. They love to do Zumba and Step. They love to move. Monica: When you experience sexual abuse you try to forget it, or rather, to freeze the memory and pretend that nothing happened. When I started to remember more, I took a workshop on sexual assault. In the third or fourth session when we talked about sexual abuse of kids, it triggered me completely and I broke down and started to cry. From that moment, I started to remember more and more and recognized that I was a survivor of sexual abuse. It was like putting the pieces of a puzzle together from all the memories. It’s very dif- ficult to live with all of this, but speaking the truth helps to heal—not to forget—but to heal. Sima: Did they have a performance element in their work at that time? Debby: They have done artistic things before. We did a show at the end of May last year that was a site-specific dance theater work in the Women’s Building in San Francisco with three NAKA dancers and women from MUA. Three women told their stories but there was a huge number of women involved. It was all in Span- ish and it was really intense. All the women

imagine that he, as a man, could lead women through a therapeutic healing process. Then we started to get to know him and what kind of work he did. He had to build trust with us so we wouldn’t make his life miserable [laughs]. Little by little, he started to win all of us over and we felt safe talking with him about many things. Thank goodness he is very charismatic, and gradually won over everyone. Now we all love him. Debby: One of the founders, Maria Jimenez said they have to start thinking more about the idea that there is this group of really strong women organizing, who all go home to their families where they have sons and husbands or partners. And sometimes it’s like this different reality for them. José: When I started to work with MUA. Maria said, “Don’t worry. It will be difficult, but we have to start to heal all members of the family.” Adriana: It’s really hard because not all are open to having men in their healing process. Many women are still very shut down because of the violence they are living with. But as the saying goes, if you don’t do something, you can’t move forward. Sima How did the collaboration start? Debby: A few years ago we started going to their domestic violence and sexual abuse sur- vivor support group. We went regularly to the meetings. They call it a desahogo . I love this word— ahogar is the word for to drown and de

José: I’m in Mexico. Debby: Are you ok? José: Yeah.

Debby: Ok. We’ve known Mujeres Unidas y Activas—MUA for short—for a long time. They’ve been involved in other [NAKA] activ- ities, like The Anastasio Project. They’ve been on panels for some of our shows. Then they invited José to come and teach some movement classes for them. That’s how the relationship got started. MUA serves Latina immigrants; they do everything from one-on-one counseling to support groups. They have groups for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse as well as a more general support group for immigrant women who have come to this country from a variety of Latin American countries. They have English classes. They provide childcare. And they’re also really active civically. They lobby, they take trips to Sacramento. They’ve incorpo- rated arts in their curriculum previously, but our partnership with them has really grown since José started teaching them classes. And it was kind of a big deal for them to hire a man. Sima: I was wondering about that. José: At first, they were looking at me strangely. One member said she was really afraid because all her relationships with men had been horrible. I told her to let me know if

Sima: He’s connecting. Debby: Hola, hola.

Sima: Hello? Let’s make sure he’s not muted. No. It still says he’s connecting to the audio. Is he—oh! Now it says he’s connected. Hello? José: Hello?

Sima: Hey! Debby: Hi!


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(Left) Gema Ascencio tells her migration story, with dancers Rogelio Lopez, Gizeh Muñiz, José Navarrete. (Above). Gema Ascencio and Julita Gomez performing the story of a border crossing.

Debby: I keep getting distracted by my phone because it keeps buzzing because they’re having a conversation right now. I think there’s proba- bly thirty or so women in the group and sponta- neously someone will start a video call and peo- ple will join. Not being in person is really hard. We’re still building trust. Luciana Rodriguez, one of the group’s facilitators, asked folks to send her a photo with a positive statement that will help support all of the community so she could pull those together and make a collage. One woman said to destress she does Zumba in her living room by herself. I said, maybe you should do that while we’re on this video chat and everyone can follow you so we can all do it together. That’s the level that it’s at after two days. Adriana: I’m taking a lot of classes online with MUA and other classes too. It helps me deal with the situation and I try to apply what I’m learning to support other women. If someone needs support, I make myself available to talk with them. I’m also practicing self-care — exercising and trying not to gain too much weight because it makes it more difficult for me to walk in my physical condition. I’ve put a lot of attention in trying to avoid feeling anxious or desperate. I keep myself busy. I want to share my healing process. It’s a long process, but I have seen my own transformation, and I would like to let women know that they can heal themselves. SIMA BELMAR, PH.D., is a Lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at the Univer- sity of California, Berkeley, and the ODC Writer in Resi- dence. To keep up with Sima’s writing please subscribe to tinyletter.com/simabelmar .

a courageous conversation.” These talks are so difficult! You [Monica] often said that you were going to have an unbeliev- ably difficult conversation that will make many people uncom- fortable. Many people aren’t prepared to have those kinds of discussions. I have to thank you for that. I learned a lot from you about these incredibly brave conversations and how they are a path toward healing.

Sima: Other than having to move to an online process, what else has changed? José: The needs of the group are changing, and we are trying to support that. They are extremely vulnerable at this time, not only because of the virus, not only because of losing their jobs, but also the fear of deporta- tion that is still happening. It’s real. Debby: The women who are dealing with domestic violence are being forced to be at home. It’s not a safe place at all. José: So right now we are creating virtual group support. Most of them are connected on Facebook and WhatsApp. But we wanted to create some regular meetings of small groups where they can talk and create activi- ties. We started two days ago. We’re in the process of figuring out what would be the best place for us to have a virtual group support. Everything is about technology and what kind of access the women may have. So far they are being connected.

José: So we went through the process of meeting their friends, talking with the Zumba teacher, and trying to figure out how we’re going to put this together in their story. We spend tons of time to figure out the story together. When we work with professional art- ists, we set a rehearsal schedule. But the time outside of rehearsal — this hanging out has allowed us to have trust and continue working on this physical storytelling. Monica: NAKA helped me uncover my story. I started talking about small things with you both and that made me remember things. The pain was like a thread that began to unravel the past. The truth is that I wasn’t interested in remembering all that. But then you started to say to me, “You’ve experienced so many things. What would you think if we put this story into the performance?” José: One of the most important things I’ve learned from MUA is this phrase, “ Voy a hacer una plática valiente ,”“I’m going to have

were really committed but the stories they told made me question whether we should tell those stories on stage. Sima: Because of the level of trauma or because of the risk to the speaker? Debby: I think both. We talked a lot about the risk to the performer in the rehearsals. The whole organization has been really supportive in terms of personal, one-on-one support when the performance is happening. They had their people there ready to support the women if they needed it. Like with any community col- laboration where you’re dealing with stories like this, it’s always in the hands of the women and the organization as to whether the per- formance will happen or not. At any moment, they can say forget it, and that’s their prerog- ative. In the end, none of the women chose to do that. Their answers were always like, if I do that it’s like silencing myself once again. We

I slept that night! [laughs] My shouting wasn’t just for myself; I was shouting for all those women who weren’t able to shout. Sima: So what is NAKA’s directorial role in this work? José: When a member is describing her story, we take notes and say things like, “This is what you said. Is that ok?”We witness what they have to say and then try to organize it into a text. Then we give it to them for them to decide if this is the story they want to tell. In terms of movement, Monica does Zumba regularly, maybe four times a week. So in her piece she wanted to do Zumba or Banco [Step Aerobics]. So we went with her friends and took classes. We gathered a group of eight women who do Zumba. Debby: If you know the Laundromat on 25th and Mission, you go in the Laundromat and upstairs to this tiny room and there are Zumba classes and spin classes all the time.

all really feel held by the organization. They strongly believe in art as a form of healing. Adriana: [discussing her experience creat- ing and performing her section of Y Basta Ya ] When we started, it felt like opening Pando- ra’s Box. When we were working on the piece, I realized that I still had many things locked away in that box that I didn’t want to open. Through the process, I realized that it wasn’t my mother’s fault, nor my grandmother’s fault. And it wasn’t my fault that this person beat me, abused me. And it’s not even his fault because he didn’t have love, didn’t have a father who paid any attention to him, or a mother to guide him. And he experienced the same kind of violence with his parents. When you start to understand this, you begin to forgive and let go of things that weigh you down. It’s very liber- ating. That’s what this performance did for me. In the performance, I shouted my poem at the top of my lungs. You have no idea how well



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can Diaspora, e.g. Trisha Brown 4 with the Lindy Hop and William Forsythe 5 with Hip Hop. What can a social sphere that centers black and brown dancing bodies teach about movement that is miss- ing from the academic dance curriculums? Like the recent Dance Magazine article said, “Are college dance curriculums too white?” Amelia: Or did the white dancers and choreographers have more opportunities to access recognition and power? In contrast to more recent techniques labeled under “Somatics,” Salsa has no sin- gular founder. In that resistant, unable to be pinned down kind of way, it has no trade- mark, no Guru nor disciples. Grandmothers, aunties, uncles, and children are all practi- tioners. It is a product of social learning and practice, infor- mal learning environments, generational dissemination, migration patterns and artistic excellence toured and recorded internationally. The music was one avenue for achieving rec- ognition. For example, check out Celia Cruz and The Fania All Stars - in Zaire, Africa

ing folx from across the American continents, we unite in the bigger cities, in the nightlife, at concerts and performances. We share without restraint our passion for Salsa, Cumbia, and Reg- gaeton. At this point in my political awareness, I have no interest in nationalist identification. A nationality is not a culture. When Juan and I met at the Frankfurt University of Music and Perform- ing Arts, we saw the potential for transmitting knowledge together. Practically speaking, from where do we start? ¿Quizás la Salsa nos úne? Juan: What I remember as kinaesthetic commu- nal learning had no space in my formal dance training. As I hear in Frankfurt, “Salsa is not a concert dance.” If it is indeed just a social dance, why doesn’t the social have space in contem- porary art academia? What makes a movement practice worthy of Eurocentric eyes? And who defines that hierarchy? If it doesn’t have access to dance academia, how can this practice be taken into consideration? I don’t mean that the practice of Salsa should become standardized, because then it would turn into something else and lose its essence, la calle, el barrio, la fiesta. Yet it needs to be a subject of relevant research, otherwise Latinx and minority communities will continue to be denied cultural recognition and access to cultural participation. We can start by calling it by its name, Salsa, and not another vague label like “Latin dance.” Amelia: In the white-dominant society where we both live, Salsa is not a valid art form. It is a hobby or cultural tourism, at best ethno- musicology phenomena. Meanwhile in 1976 1 , Thomas Hanna coined “Somatics” from the Global North perspective and with it claimed heightened physical awareness, trance-like improvisation, imagery-fueled body states and embodied understandings of anatomical body systems. What if instead of practicing Somatics by lying, sitting, walking and otherwise rolling around, we danced Salsa? Juan: A movement practice that emerged in the 60’s and 70’s in brown and black com- munities in New York City with strong roots in Afro-Caribbean culture, “in particular the son-guaguancó 2 ,” Salsa has evolved outside the “concert stages.” Yes, it is a social dance, with few mentions aside from recent publications 3 in Dance Studies and Latin Studies, perhaps because of the marginalization of immigrant, Latino communities in white supremacy cul- ture and the misconception of African Diaspora dances as “too sexual” or inappropriate. Amelia: That makes me wonder, why does the academic institution refuse Salsa, yet defend the European social dances adopted by classical ballet techniques in their cannon? Could it be like you say, the profanity of the tail wagging, pleasureful perreo misclassified as a “court- ship dance?” Then why do grandparents dance Salsa? Why do children? Aren’t we past this? Juan: History tells that choreographers have been influenced by social dances from the Afri-




Juan: “Trucupey,” my dad used to call to get my attention. The nickname referred to a Salsa song, Juancito Trucupey . At family gath- erings, as I began to walk I also observed how my parents stepped to the Salsa rhythms: sudden, con- tained, and joyful. When I was 10, I went to Cuba and learned to improvise Salsa movements socially in Old Havana’s Malecón . It was the Cuban Carnival. Celia Cruz was still alive and releasing hits like La Vida es un Carnaval . When I want to express my embod- ied childhood memories and iden- tity, I return to these moments. Amelia: La salsa se bailaba en mi casa desde que tengo edad para con- tarlo . I learned by following. The dance was already happening, at birthday parties, after baptisms, y en las Quinceñeras . As a young adult, I was introduced to NYC’s Span- ish Harlem underground concerts. During the summers, Abuelitos danced on the sidewalk outside El Museo del Barrio. Heading further south and dancing at the weekend descargas in downtown Lima, my

“ “For me, it is all about the instrumental descarga section where one can dance like mad, crying while laughing, making fun with ecstatic rhythmic possession." — AMELIA UZATEGUI BONILLA their athletic capacities in this dance, I wonder if another movement ghetto was created? In the same way that practices such as clas- sical ballet have developed in elite and ableist environments, I would say that the Salsa field marginalises disabled and queer cultures and limits the forms of expression. Today, I recog- nise that Salsa both enacts ableism and receives cultural racism. It is not considered an art like ballet. And it still pre-establishes itself as exclu- sive to certain bodies. How can a queer or dis- abled person move within the circles of this

Amelia Uzategui Bonilla

1974 6 on Youtube. As a result of these artists, who in the world in 2020 hasn’t heard of Salsa? But to box something up, to limit it because of its seeming simplicity or commercialization without even trying to understand the polycen- tric and the polyrhythmic outside of the West- ern music framework is nothing less than a form of cultural racism 7 . No one questions the historical significance of Bach. From my per- spective, the roots of Salsa are my body’s Bach. Juan: Mind you, it is not simple to dance Salsa, nor any other movement practice with African roots, nor any other dance technique, period. Each develops different skills. We have to recog- nize that Salsa requires social learning, kinaes- thetic empathy, coordination, and an ability to let loose. Yet, has this dance also suffered from ableism? The complex patterns that require embodiment of polycentric coordination are difficult for most able-bodied people. Then what of disabled bod- ies? This complexity may have contributed to misinterpretation in the scientific movement realm, still unable or unwilling to study it in depth. Since this dance emerged in a place that searched to strengthen the Latino immigrant identity in marginalized communities, primar- ily a hetero dominated one, it left little space for different dancing expressions. As mostly Cis- gender Latinos, African Americans or able-bod- ied white people gained recognition by showing

Juan Urbina

WHAT IF THE DIGITAL SPACE COULD BE A REPRIEVE , an alternate reality for post- colonial dance research? Perhaps now, without institutional demands, brown per- spectives can be rearticulated. What follows is a conversation between two Latinx dancers and educators. They are recent graduates from the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts’s MA in contemporary dance education. They both moved to Frankfurt, Germany for the program two years ago. During the COVID-19 shut- down, they choose to co-teach, turning their prior conversations as researchers into a shared online practice. Their first class was on March 18th. Since then, they teach six days a week. Their continued inquiry has led them towards the recognition of a shared practice they have both experienced since childhood, Salsa. In spite of their memories with Salsa, this is not a technique they have studied or researched for- mally. Born into vernacular traditions, they both went on to receive Western dance training. During the pandemic, they have the opportunity to work in a third interval.

Nuyorican and Limeñan influences converged, un poquito de aquí, un poquito desde allá.

Juan: Hearing this music, I developed an ear that moves me off the down-beat, responding to the music and making my own rhythmic compo- sition at the same time. I can distance from it yet I can become it. It’s a contradiction that sets me free from rhythms and patterns while simulta- neously dancing to them. Contrapunteando the down-beat with the up-beat. Feeling the empty spaces, the punches, and the unaccented notes. Amelia: For me, it is all about the instrumental descarga section where one can dance like mad, crying while laughing, making fun with ecstatic rhythmic possession. Living in diaspora, meet-



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Amelia: As you say, making something acces- sible means offering more options. As we have brought our cultural practice forward, I recog- nize that I have found a sense of validation and belonging in the digital, entrepreneurial space.

practice? How can the movement practice of Salsa become accessible?

A participant from Australia shared, “I am a contemporary dancer with a South American background. To have that somatic approach and yet hearing that music connected to a personal place of me as well as my trained body, it blended really beautifully.” A PhD student in Germany reflected, “Polyrhythm is really increasing the space in the mind. Each rhythm brings a new dimension to the coding space of the mind, the space where percepts are represented, thoughts unfold, and memories and concepts find new associ- ations. Adding new dimensions to this space opens up more possibilities for our conscious experience (which becomes richer, dynamic and diversified.)” Juan: The “electric” field has shown me that this dance can be more accessible and cultur- Mind you, it is not simple to dance salsa, nor any other movement practice with African roots, nor any other dance technique, period." — JUAN URBINA ally diverse — inclusive to queer and disabled cultures. It has been helpful to deconstruct the components of Salsa, and abstract them in a way that an individual can experience them without feeling foreign and uncoordinated in the practice. This enables the joyful aspects of this dance and its music to move to the fore- front, its emotional “affect.” However, this leaves us with the danger of developing a prac- tice that is so individual that it lacks its pri- mary social potential and aesthetic cadences. Amelia: As we identify these dangers, are we picking and choosing what we like from our cultural background and dance practices? Avoiding the parts that we find problematic? Is that not a weird form of appropriation? But perhaps, when we return to the studio, to real time and place teaching, we can explore the Salsa couple dancing (Juan: which is central to this form) from the perspective of having researched the sensing and feeling body in Salsa. We have recognized the somatic aspects of the dance and put them forward. The cou- ple-dance is also important as well as the potential for playing with gender performativ- ity. These are inquiries yet to be fully explored in our research of this form and tradition. Juan: This one cannot predict. How to stay true to the characteristics of a dance while opening up to more diverse movement possibilities that draw from the ecstatic? That is my question.


Amelia: Accessible facilitation practices allow us to teach Salsa in a more inclusive digital space where an international (albeit English-speaking) audience can be reached. Given the restraints of social distancing, we can take another route and decenter the focus from teaching gendered steps and formalized patterns. Juan: In order to detox from ableism in the digital space, it needs to be accessible. Thus we deconstruct the components of Salsa and use our knowledge in somatic improvisation-based exploration to center the feeling and sensation of dancing to Salsa music. Amelia: This comes from our collective experi- ences of dancing in intimate, familial, and social spaces. Dancing to Salsa connects me to my root and sacral chakras. Singing and drumming limbs throb my body up and down, vibrating my cells made up of earth, air, water and fire. Juan: This dance is rooted in diversity and com- munity, because it emerged in the midst of dif- ferent cultures and nationalities coming together celebrating what one may call “Latinidad.”Yet the heteronormative behavior has haunted the practice. So far, few have tackled the non-binary. One story told by this music genre, El Gran Varón by Willie Colón, tells of a person who struggles with normative society, dresses femme, and suffers an unfortunate ending. It reflects back on a “machista” society. It leaves me with the question: does Salsa’s evolution in the con- temporary realm need a different movement practice to become more queer/non-binary? Amelia: I didn’t know that about that song. I need to listen to it more carefully. Some friends in the Bay Area queer couple dance like Zouk, but I don’t know if anyone else is working spe- cifically on queering Salsa. What is needed for this practice to recognize its somatic potential? How can we aid in the recognition of their expe- rience of fun as consequent to this exploration? Juan: Fun can also be described as a trance-like ecstatic expression. Not dancing like an idiot like that Youtube video said. Amelia: The internet is a playground for niche proposals, and we found our audience for this unlikely combination that emerged as, “Salsa Somática.” Folx visited us from the safety of their homes, and attended our virtual class from the United States, Australia, Ireland, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Mexico, Korea, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Russia, etc. Online classes are an opportunity for physi- cal fitness while sheltering at home, and partici- pants’ comments add to the physical by describ- ing “Salsa Somática” like a sudoku puzzle or a healing, cultural recognition space. It moves school-teachers, retirees, people with physical injuries or limitations, and working-at-home pro- fessionals. Their feedback nourishes our inquiry.

In the new podcast series Heartistry , host Farah Yasmeen Shaikh converses with international guests whose distinct life pur- suits center on each indi- vidual’s passion, commit- ment, and innate artistry. Informed by Shaikh’s own background as a Kathak artist and Founder/Director

Juan: Teaching Salsa during pandemic social distancing. Developing a practice.

Grantmakers in the Arts Appoints Ted Russell Board Chair Grantmakers in the Arts welcomes new board chair, Ted Russell, Associate Director of Arts Strategy and Ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation in Oakland. As board chair, Ted partners with President and CEO Eddie Torres on issues designed to support the vital- ity and growth of arts and culture through philanthropic and govern- ment funding. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, GIA is shar- ing resources and guidance and news related to the crisis. They are also encouraging grantmakers to treat their funding flexibly to sup- port grantees in these difficult and rapidly shifting circumstances. Liz Lerman: Free Atlas of Creative Tools Liz Lerman has teamed up with Arizona State University to offer a free self-paced course sharing the tools and feedback structures she accesses to foster creativity. Online Resources for Dance Educators Teaching artists, dance educators, and dance leaders offer tools to stay connected and creative right now. Luna Dance Institute’s Online Resource Page shares some pro- duced by Luna, their alumni, and community partners and teachers. Hewlett Foundation Staff Sharing Resources The Performing Arts Program at the Hewlett Foundation will be launching a new information hub focused on individual arts work- ers and small arts and culture nonprofits and enterprises. They will share news and resources for those hit hardest by this pan- demic. Sign up for their emails The Value of Art In an essay by Deborah Fisher, the founding executive director of A Blade of Grass, they state that this is the time to change how the art ecosystem functions

Zellerbach Family Foundation announce new Relief Grants Zellerbach has announced that Community Arts COVID Response grants (Response Grant) will pro- vide general operating support to arts and culture organizations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties suffering rev- enue loss due to the closure of venues and cancellation of events. Response grants will be for organi- zational stability/general operating support, and will be awarded for $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000. Response grants will replace all other Community Arts grants including Project, Stability, Col- laboration and Training grants. We anticipate that Response Grants will be available through the remainder of the 2020 calendar year and will continue to monitor and evaluate the changing circum- stances to determine the duration of this change. Learn More. New Artistic Director at BANDALOOP BANDALOOP announced a major transition in leadership. Artis- tic Director Amelia Rudolph has passed the torch to Melecio Estrella as its new Artistic Direc- tor, and Rudolph will shift focus to become Director of Special Proj- ects and will serve on the board of directors. “Bringing the grace and rit- ual of dance together with the adventure and mystery of moun- tain spaces was a journey I began almost thirty years ago. This vision has grown and evolved BANDALOOP into a Bay Area dance anchor, globally recognized company, and a school hosting hundreds of students each year. I am so grateful to every one of you who have supported and challenged us to be our best” — Amelia Rudolph.

1 Isabelle Ginot, From S husterman’s Somaesthetics to a Rad- ical Epistemology of Somatics , DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ S0149767700000802 Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 April 2012 2 Handbook of Hispanic Culture-Literature. Page 302-308 3 Ana Paula Höffling, Dancing Latinidad: Spinning a World of Salsa Scholarship https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327947368_ Dancing_Latinidad_Spinning_a_World_of_Salsa_Scholarship in Latin American research review 53(3):666 · September 2018 4 Wendy Perron, DANCE; Paying Heed To the Mysteries Of Trisha Brown https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/08/arts/dance-paying- heed-to-the-mysteries-of-trisha-brown.html 5 Ariel Osterweis Scott. “Body Impossible: Race, Sexuality, and Virtu- osity in the Dance of Desmond Richardson.” (UC Berkeley: Fall 2011) 6 Celia Cruz & The Fania All Stars - Quimbara - Zaire, Africa 1974. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXN-_asIaYs 7 Mukhopadhyay, Carol C.; Chua, Peter (2008). “Cultural Racism”. In John Hartwell Moore (ed.). Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Gale . pp. 377–383. “a form of racism (that is, a structurally unequal practice) that relies on cultural differences rather than on biological markers of racial superiority or inferiority.” Amelia: Holding space for fun in times of crisis and trauma. For me, this is a form of resistance. Finding joy and pleasure in the body. As brown people, working class bodies, we are constantly reminded of our “migration background” sta- tus. “They” don’t want us to enjoy our bodies and experience pleasure. Juan: This is how we heal our brown bodies. Go for the Drama! As Celia sings, “Para aquellos que nos maltratan (bua) Para aquellos que nos contagian (bua) Para aquellos que nos contaminan, para aquel- los que no nos quiereeeeeen!” Amelia: Se sufre pero se goza! Because no one is ever really alone. And COVID-19 is one hel- luva drama. AMELIA UZATEGUI BONILLA creates multi-disciplinary curriculum and performances influenced by postcolo- nial dance history narratives. Born in Peru, and raised in California, they have collaborated with Anna Halprin and the Tamalpa Institute, NAKA Dance Theater, Mu- jeres Unidas y Activas, Luna Dance Institute, and Cuna- macué, Afro-Peruvian dance theater. Amelia is current- ly developing an artistic production with Juan Urbina and a multi-generational Latinx team based in Germany while nourishing collaborations between artists living in different contexts. JUAN URBINA is a Venezuelan dance artist. In addition to Western dance training, he embodies traditional and popular dances from social spaces, la rumba Latinx. He moved to Ireland in 2013 and collaborated with artists from diverse disciplines including Dorota Konchevska, William Frode (Cork Community Art Link), and John Scott (Irish Modern Dance Theatre). Juan developed a community dance project with homeless people living in Dublin city, and choreo- graphed an evening-length piece called Baile Bua: Sounds Like Celebration in 2017. His work advocates for social justice and accessibility. Currently, he collab- orates with Amelia Uzategui in Perfectionism Detox: A Dance with Voices from the South

of Noorani Dance, Heartistry emphasizes the idea that everyone is an artist. Episodes feature a wide range of leaders and lumi- naries such as entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and Dancers’ Group’s Wayne Hazzard. New episodes of Heartistry air every Tuesday at 10am PST on Rukus Avenue Radio from DASH Radio. Visit Noorani Dance’s Podcast page to listen to previously aired episodes.

Listen to Farah and Wayne’s conversation

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In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

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an na HALPRIN Celebrating 100 YEARS of rebellion, resilience and change. Enjoy these loving reflections.


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Anna has always had a phenomenal way of creating ritual out of life passages. She has deep comfort with the sad, the difficult, her pleasure in “working through” something. She spoke of how she prayed with her cancer group that morning and of “all the dances” she had been doing that day. Her child-like innocence at crawling in bed with her dying mother because that’s what she wanted to do and humbug to conventions or prohibitions. She paused a moment before relating this to me as if wary I might think it silly. FEBRUARY 6, 1994, SAN FRANCISCO, CA Saw Anna in Nina Wise’s Traveling Jewish The- atre show. Anna was her first guest for a 16 eve- ning series. That same week at the Magic Theatre Anna comes on stage and explains that this is the first time since 1972 that she’s danced before a public audience. She said at that time she asked herself why are you a performer? Whom do you perform for? What do you perform about? From this she segways into memories of her grandfa- ther. My daughters had some chance to connect to the Yiddish culture and my grandchildren they missed it all. She explains that she is wearing as her costume her father’s black silk pajamas and what looks like a thin white prayer shawl. Jewish klezmer music plays and she enacts for the next 20 minutes or so an almost drunken, joyous step- ping dance, like Fiddler On The Roof . JULY 12, 1995 The day before Anna’s 75th birthday. She’s in her anxious-before-a-project mode. She wanted to read me her text for the Berlin brochure. It said in part, “Our ritual will call upon a higher power every step on earth will be a prayer for peace... the intensity of this setting.. ritual is too often forgotten. We will explore through direct experience. She wants to refer to the bunker where Hitler killed himself as being within sight of her performance. She is excited the Dali Lama will open the ceremonies. She said “this isn’t some New Age-y thing. I want to make that clear.” FEBRUARY 16, 1996 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Watching Anna rehearse a group of eight con- temporary dancers, Keith Hennessey, Jess Cur- tis, etc. in the dressing and undressing section of Parades and Changes , at Footwork, it was rivet- ing! One of the most beautiful dance spectacles I have seen in recent years! There is such a stud- ied innocence and immense theatricality. The stark black and white of their costumes, white shirts and black pants, and the very intense way they focus on a member in the audience and then slowly strip away their clothes. It is not at all sexual and at the same time intensely so. As John Berger says, there is then a relaxation that they have a body just like any other when they finally undress. Yet the tempi are so staggered that one is undressing while the other is putting on clothes. They do it three times. The other work, especially Circle The Earth’s , Restore Me section, pales by comparison. Parades and Changes has no self-consciousness about what it is doing. Fantastic!

I was invited to come for lunch at 12:30 on Wednesday Dec. 18. Driving there in the downpour I realized I have been making the trek to Anna’s home on the side of Mt. Tam for nearly 30 years. I am shocked when I arrive and see her – she seems to have sud- denly aged from a beautiful and vibrant 80 year old into a 100 year old woman, with limited sight, hearing, mobility… But she greets me happily and Sherri is there by her side – we chat and eventually move to the table where she eats a bowl of salty chicken broth and some romaine salad and dark chocolate pieces. I ask if she will go to Sea Ranch for the holidays and new year and she says oh yes, and next to her Sherri silently shakes her head back and forth “no.” She is speaking very softly about her memories of her work and particularly Miss H’Doubler as I prompt her with questions and potential answers. I eventually show her several keynote slide decks from talks about her I have given. She watches attentatively, as if for the first time. She laughs most heartily at the 1970s photo of her, Larry, Paul Baum and Charles Amerkanian nude around the dining room table having a business meeting. It is a per- formance of just how comfortable they are with nudity, seemingly. Daria arrives at the end and greets me warmly. I feel as if this may be the last time I will see Anna, she seems so frail and wispy as a presence – but Sherri says she continues to teach the Thursday night class – and she shows me cell phone photos she took the pre- vious week of Anna commenting on a score with the skeleton they have created an impro- vised dance to – inspired by her recounting of

Watching Anna-the-director as she shapes this retrospective, I see her try to tell the young dancers of the history of what they are stepping into. Remy Charlip was there and he tells me he saw it at its American premiere at Hunter College in 1965. He said afterward the director of Oh Calcutta asked him to choreograph this whole nude show, a direct steal from the beauty of Anna’s nudity. FEBRUARY 23, 1996 More Discussion with Anna as she pulls together her retrospective at Footwork. A Third show has been added and it is already sold out also. DECEMBER 3, 2001, KENTFIELD, CA Yesterday Anna hosted a performance by Min Tanaka on her dance deck. It was freezing and rained a little and yet a capacity crowd of peo- ple filled the seven rows of benches overlooking the dance deck to see Min and four of his danc- ers from Japan perform. Anna spoke at the start, looking very glamorous in a golden raincoat and cowboy hat. She said that she first met Min in 1978 when a friend of his was the translator for Larry for work he was doing in Japan. Min per- formed on the dance deck and he began by rolling down the whole hill from the house to the deck and ended with his focus over the railing to the bay and San Francisco beyond. JUNE 22, 2006, PORTLAND, OREGON Anna receives a DANCE USA leadership award and I introduce her. She gets a standing ovation and reads a beautiful prayer for the next genera- tion. She looks gorgeous in a white tailored Mao- ist suit she bought in Paris when she was there a few months earlier for her show at the big gal- lery in Lyon. The French want to buy her original scores for millions of dollars she tells me. I tell her

Conversations with Anna Halprin

JUNE 2, 1992, KENTFIELD, CA Anna’s mother dies. She had moved her from her Woodside home to a rest home 5 min from Anna’s house in Kentfield a few months earlier. Anna visited her daily and spoke with her attendants. She com- mented that she faded fast in the last several weeks. Anna spoke of how she seemed to be leaving her body, she lost control over it and its functions, (Saturday the 6th would have been her mother’s 99th birthday). Then on Tuesday the attendants called Anna and said her vital signs were very low. Anna quickly gathered the family around, Larry, her daughters, her niece, grandkids, they went to Anna’s mother and all gathered around her and one by one whispered in her ear how much they loved her. Larry recited the 22nd Psalm. Then they all left and Anna stayed alone with her mother. She said she was almost in a coma by then, in and out of consciousness. And in order to be as close with her as she could Anna crawled into bed with her mother. And she held her and felt her breath grow slower and more erratic. And felt her struggle for air, take lon- ger to get each breath and her pulse become erratic and then she very gently stopped breath- ing. “You do everything so perfectly for every- one,” Anna said to her then, as she had said often in life. Anna said it was so peaceful. And she spoke of the Saturday night ritual the fam- ily had planned they would dance around her rocking chair and other of her favorite objects Anna would gather from the house in Wood- side. It would be like a party to call her spirit into the circle and then release it. Anna’s broth- ers were coming too.

A s surely everyone must know by now, Anna Halprin turns 100 on July 13, 2020. Just as her work has celebrated the dancer in every body, and every age, for the past 75 years, she is an artist who isn’t inclined to stop generating ideas and movement just because she is nearing the century mark. As a cultural icon, Anna has been eulogized with each landmark birthday from her 75th onward, with little risk of overexposure. The broad contours of her reputation as a con- temporary dance rebel, inspirational educator and iconoclast have continued to evolve as the phrase “oldest living” increasingly frames each reference positioning her in the field of Amer- ican dance. There is an irony in all this – for Anna has never made art for posterity nor has she put much stock in cementing her legacy. She is a champion of change. For half of her life I have had the privilege of a front row seat to her flux and flow as she has negotiated and refracted shifting social orders through dance. I first encountered Anna live in 1970 when, as a UC Berkeley undergraduate, by JANICE ROSS

As a cultural icon, ANNA HAS BEEN EULOGIZED WITH EACH LANDMARK BIRTHDAY from her 75th onward, with little risk of overexposure.

I attended the opening of the University Art Museum and peered over the spiraling ramps down to watch Anna and her Dancers’ Work- shop perform her daring Parades and Changes on the ground floor. With its matter-of-fact full nudity and racially diverse cast it pushed aesthetic and social boundaries even for a campus in the midst of anti-Vietnam war and hippie upheavals. Six years later in 1976, now as a young freelance dance critic writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, I interviewed Anna for a feature about the upcoming pre- miere of her bicentennial tribute, City Dance . Thus began my 44 years of conversations with Anna. Some fractious, some intimate, but all revelatory of her high energy, unpretentious and visionary approach to life and art. Art as life. Life as art. Several years into dozens of telephone and in person conversations and attending her classes, rehearsals, performances, lunches and dinners, I began jotting down notes. What follows are a sliver of excerpts from my 28 years of conversations with Anna, exchanges that are still ongoing as I write this in early April 2020.

I wish she would reconstruct the full Parades and Changes . But she is more interested in doing new things she says. And describes to me a new dance on Rodin’s images of Love. Larry isn’t up to trav- elling to Jerusalem for opening of his big Haas/ Goldman project there. JUNE 29, 2006, KENTFIELD, CA We speak at 9:15 am she will teach at 9:30 then immediately pack and leave for Sea Ranch in the afternoon where she is overseeing a big family gathering for Larry’s 90th birthday on July 1. Extraordinary energy! On July 13 she will be 86. DECEMBER 19, 2019, KENTFIELD, CA I had been thinking about Anna all Autumn and when I e-mailed her (Stephanie and Sherri replied)

how she first walked into H’Doubler’s class- room and was ready to dash out after seeing the skeleton and being shocked. We say good- bye – she thanks me again for the bouquet of pale orange heritage roses I brought her. It has been two hours and she doesn’t seem to tire or want me to go – I feel it has been entertaining for everyone and so after 2 ½ hours I rise to leave and hug everyone good- bye. It feels like the end of an era. The end of a certain history. JANICE ROSS, Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies Dept., Stanford University, is the author of four books including Like A Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia, (Yale Univ. Press, 2015) and Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance, (UC Press 2007).


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In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

u n i f y s t r e n g t h e n amp l i f y u n i f y s t r e n g t h e n a p l i f y

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