Thursday, February 12, 2009

Latino dance group tells history

"A Modern World: Latino Perspectives"
Hispanic dancers make their voices heard
BY RITA FELCIANO February 10, 2009

PREVIEW Walk the streets of San Francisco and look at the map of California, and you'll notice so many roads and towns with Spanish names that you'll be struck by the fact that we often take their presence for granted. Little wonder, since the Spanish, Mexicans, and other Latinos have played a major part in the Bay Area longer than many other demographic groups. Likewise Hispanic writers, painters, musicians, and dramatists have slowly but surely become part of our cultural ecology.

Dancers — partly for economic, partly for cultural reasons — have had a harder time finding a place for themselves in the patchwork tapestry that is Bay Area dance. But they are beginning to make their voices heard, not only as interpreters and performers, but as creators of their own works.

Still, when David Herrera looked around, he found a Black Choreographers Festival, a Women on the Way Festival, and a Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Festival — but no Latino festival. So "A Modern World: Latino Perspectives" is his attempt to gain visibility for choreographers of his heritage. Inspired by his mother, Herrera examines the societal role of Hispanic women in his own works, Seguimos/We Continue and Sin Vencer: Amigas y Comunidad.

In Love Beyond Body, the Brazilian-born Paco Gomes looks at how a profound desire to love can open people beyond the limits set by sex, gender, class, and religion. Jacinto Vlach, who two years ago founded her own Liberation Dance Theater, created SSL (Spanish Second Language) based on her experience as a non-Spanish-speaking Latina traveling through Central America while searching for her identity.

A MODERN WORLD: LATINO PERSPECTIVES Fri/13–Sat/14, 8 p.m., $17. The Garage, 975 Howard, SF. (415) 885-4006

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