Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Podcast Notes: Upcoming on "Body and Soul"

Dancer-choreographer Ana Maria Alvarez founded and directs the well-regarded Contra-Tiempo, a Latin activist dance troupe based in Los Angeles that first came to my attention at the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival. They're back in New York City this summer, touring a new dance suite--I Dream of America--inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and of young students as well as the entwined histories of Black and Latino Americans. Alvarez and I spoke of the company's origins, mission and upcoming plans as well as a bit of unexpected drama that happened at its first performance last evening at St. Mark's Church.

Ana Maria Alvarez (director/dancer/arts educator) has been sharing her joy, love and obsession for moving in rhythm with others for over fifteen years. As a teacher, choreographer, and community arts activist, originally from the east coast, she moved to Los Angeles from NYC in 2002. Since then she has taught, choreographed and performed around the city including at UCLA, Highways Performing Arts Space, The KING KING, Summer Sounds at the Hollywood Bowl, Fowler Museum, REDCAT Disney Hall, Grand Performances, Carnival at The Key Club, and The Forum to name a few. While living in NY, Alvarez performed and taught all over the city, including Dixon Place, The Tribeca Performing Arts Center, The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Red Hook Waterfront Festival, and Middle School 136, PS 1, PS 314 and the HEREArts Center. Before moving to Los Angeles, Alvarez worked for three years with the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn as their Dance Specialist.

In March 2005, Alvarez received her MFA in Choreography at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Currently Alvarez is the Artistic and Executive Director of CONTRA-TIEMPO. She also works with students and faculty of Seeds University Elementary School where she created an Interdisciplinary Dance Program for ages 4-12. This is the program that members of the company are currently implementing in schools all over Los Angeles County. She also teaches weekly classes every Tuesday at the KING KING in Hollywood and on Wednesdays in Venice. Her life long commitment is that all people have access to their bodies as instruments - expressive tools - voices - to communicate and create their hopes, desires and demands for this world! Visit http://www.contra-tiempo.org/anamaria/ for more information about her work.

Tickets for Contra-Tiempo's final performance tonight at St. Mark's Church (131 East 10th Street and Second Avenue, East Village) might still be available at the box office. Come early!

Find out more in my upcoming episode of Body and Soul podcast and on Contra-Tiempo's site.

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