Sunday, October 7, 2012

This road is officially opened: Paseo

This road is officially opened...
There is no road to nowhere, only to what is still here. 
-- La Bruja
Bobby Sanabria
"As this has never been done before, we have no idea what we're doing today," Joanna Haigood half-joked at the launch of Paseo, less a walking tour than a movable, danceable feast, a peripatetic block party that, for one delightful hour, would twist through the South Bronx neighborhoods of Hunts Point and Longwood. Haigood, a site-specific choreographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, had teamed up with musical director Bobby Sanabria (multiple Grammy winner) and Dancing in the Streets executive and artistic director Aviva Davidson to create this public celebration.
La Bruja (photo by Rosalia Rivera)

With hip hop poet La Bruja's blessings, the procession stepped off from Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education on Simpson Street. Threatening clouds hung low, but spirits flew as we followed the lead of the ebullient Sanabria and his musicians, passing dancers on fire escapes and brownstone stoops. Cries of "Que vivo, Puerto Rico" went up as we passed balconies flying the island's flag.

Haigood had warned of the temptation to stop along the way: "Paseo is best enjoyed as a stroll, a promenade," she said. Indeed, it was hard not to linger with the guitarists and dancing couple in front of Nico Laundromat, or the curbside conga players, or the four doo wop singers, or the chorus in their smart white suits and skirts or even to stop to comfort a couple of unnerved cats who scampered away from our surging procession.

Yes, my lower back and feet talked to me long after I returned home, but still....

Rumbas in the park till past midnight in the canyons of da’ projects in the summer. 
Couldn’t sleep? Who cares, you didn’t want to.
--Bobby Sanabria

To read an excerpt from Bobby Sanabria's Nuyorican Memories, about his youth in the historic, still vibrant South Bronx, click here.

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