Fall 2021 In Dance

THE SEARCH FOR ONE’S AUTHENTIC SELF is not achieved by simply discovering an authentic indigenous past— that past in fact contains multitudes, and to reduce it to one discoverable entity replicates the very structures that decolonization aims to deconstruct. Kularts’ projects fold the temporal and spatial dimensions of history and iden- tity through dance, performance, visual media, and cura- tion, complicating the relationship between the Filipinx diaspora and Philippine indigeneity. In these works, decol- onization might be better understood not only as practice and enactment, but a willingness to sit with the complex- ities of diasporic vs. indigenous embodiment, which also means understanding the past to understand our present and future, and locating those histories across geographic borders such that indigenous practice can inform the dias-

venues around SoMa; Panis estimates a total of $1.5 mil- lion in funding will be needed). Panis views this transition as an opportunity for the Filipinx community to claim its own cultural district, elevated to the same level as such ven- ues as the San Francisco Ballet and Opera House. Further, a permanent venue also strengthens Kularts’ ability to main- tain the SoMa district as a foothold for Filipinx community activism and cultural production, while continuing to bring in indigenous practitioners from the Philippines to educate US-born artists. Kularts’ upcoming performance and dance projects include a refilming of Man@ng Is Deity , to be screened in December 2021 with excerpts of the original 2019 version, and another screening of She Who Can See at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from August to October 2021 as part of the SF Urban Film Fest.

The restaging of these projects alludes to a temporal and geographic cyclic- ity in all of Kularts’ endeavors—there is a haunting quality to the stories they have already told and will tell again. That audiences might [re]discover these works suggests not exactly a timelessness, but a continual process of beginning again , a process of

As Strobel writes, decolonization, as an expressive or reflective process, should ultimately have action as its goal—the enactment of a material deconstruction of neo-colonial structures for marginalized communities.

poric. By providing opportunities for Filipinos across spa- tial and temporal locations to find ourselves and each other in dialogue and collaboration without simplifying indigeneity as a means toward self- and com- munal-discovery, Kularts’ programs also demonstrate how dance and performance in particular provide a unique cre- ative and intellectual venue to explore the spatial and tem- poral dimensions of decolonization, while also enacting structural change through community-oriented projects. As Strobel writes, decolonization, as an expressive or reflective process, should ultimately have action as its goal—the enactment of a material deconstruction of neo- colonial structures for marginalized communities. Kularts as a creatively, politically, and community-oriented orga- nization has not only produced and curated visual/per- formance projects and intellectual/community events that examine such issues, but it is also actively engaged in the material redistribution of the SoMa neighborhood, which has seen the demolition and reselling of many historic sites central to Filipinx migrant and community activism, including the famous I-Hotel. In collaboration with other community activism organizations, Kularts will partici- pate in the planning of the 5M Project, a 10-year phased proposal that will transition the current four-acre site at 5th, Mission, and Howard Streets into a mix of office, residential, retail, and cultural spaces. 7 Panis has already begun planning fundraising efforts to establish Kularts’ first permanent performance venue at the site (previous programs were staged in other cultural and community

locating an authentic diasporic or indigenous self, starting at the personal level, expanding into the communal, and find- ing not one, but multiple selves. The split-level conscious- ness that Strobel describes as schizophrenic might not be a pathology that decolonization destroys or heals; rather, it might be the very method for recognizing and honoring differences between diasporic and indigenous experience. Kularts’ and Panis’ methodologies for dance, performance, visual media, and curation not only embrace the spatial and temporal dimensions of diaspora, indigeneity, and decolo- niality, but repeat them—here and there, again and again. ALYSSA MANANSALA is an essayist, poet, educator, and PhD student in the department of American Studies at Brown University. Her interests include Asian American poetry and hybrid literary forms, Filipinx studies, postcolonial theory, performance theory, and visual/media culture. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the California Institute of the Arts, where she was award- ed the 2018/2019 Teaching Fellowship and the 2019 REEF Artist Residency. Her writing can be found in Nat. Brut, Hyphen Magazine, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Agape: A Journal of Literary Good Will , among others.

1 https://www.kularts-sf.org/postcolonial 2 https://carolinegarcia.com.au/Queen-of-the-Carabao 3 https://www.asianjournal.com/magazines/something-filipino -magazine/post-colonial-survival-kit-addressing-the- challenges-brought-by-centuries-of-colonization/ 4 Strobel, 144–148 5 Ibid, 150 6 https://www.kularts-sf.org/she-who-can-see1 7 https://sfplanning.org/5m-project


58 in dance FALL 2021

FALL 2021 in dance 59




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In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

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