Where did the ideas for your Q-STAGE show come from?
Noche Bomba is my latest accumulated research looking at my gender and sexuality evolution in relationship to my latinx Venezuelan upbringing. The work began as an exploration of my relationship with my mother; then developed into a solo that I presented at Exposition: Queer Performance and Conversation curated by Marcel Michelle-Mobama and 20% Theatre. As I dug deeper and got rid of the unnecessary, I developed a solo, a trio, and a duet, which I performed at the Walker, Fresh Oysters, and Lush.
I am working with social dances, drag, text, and expression through movement. The complexities of my experiences develop and dissolve through these forms in Noche Bomba. I am interested in driving the audience in an emotional ride as the work unfolds in the performance.
Why do you feel it is important to share the stories of your performance with the community?
My experiences are pretty specific to me, though I have encountered plenty of folks who connect on a personal level to moments in my work: whether it’s a still image, a movement phrase, a sound, the collection of images. The cathartic nature of the work in Noche Bomba, and my work in general, stirs up the performers’ bodies and energizes the space in particular ways. I want to share the emotional, physical, and mental boundaries I continuously shattered growing up.
What is this performance about for you on a personal level?
This is about wrestling with the demons, getting down in the mud, digging, excavating. It is about eruption of the infected, disposing the gangrene parts that I stored in my body and consciousness. Noche Bomba is exposing my body and my identities, revealing, sharing, digesting on stage. This is my experience. This is my life.
Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?
I am a performance artist, a teacher, maker. I focus on movement, how the body can generate precious materials and information. I am also a drag queen–the genderfuckery and ecstasy of drag, framed within the history of femme-identified folks in Venezuela. I work with text as well; sounds and words are also parts of the human experience and hold lots of context.
What social issues are important to you and how do they inform the art you create?
I teach different arts curriculum for kids, toddlers, folks with disabilities of all ages, and elders, of all ethnicities, backgrounds, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Equity through my teaching, representation, visibility, exposure [is important to the me]. My communities keep me grounded as I venture into art-making. The practice of being a teacher truly makes me a better person every single day. I make work about the inequities I have faced as a queer, brown, immigrant, latinx artist. I am driven by the challenges the folks I encounter every day face on a regular basis.
What artists or performances have inspired you over the years?
I am inspired by the incredible people around me and by the wonderful makers I have had the chance to work with in the last seven years, when I moved to the US and began my performance journey. I am inspired by character, tenacity, endlessly curious artists, artmakers who surprise me, honest, honest performance work. Among the people I have worked with I look up to many folks. Currently, I am very much moved by the team of artists across departments at Pillsbury House–Emily Zimmer, Pramila Vasudevan, Masanari Kawahara, Siddeeqah Shabazz, Jen Scott, Mike Hoyt, Molly VanAvery, among many others; also, by the talented and ferocious queer/trans drag and burlesque performers in the Twin Cities.
Are you working on any other projects presently or coming up in the future?
Drag Story Hour every month!! I create performances for kids, with other artists; we read stories, dance, lip-sync, etc. Next one is May 26th from 10:30-11:30am at the Pillsbury House Theatre.
I am working with Judith Howard and a stellar team of performers for ICON SAM: Temple Dances, June 14-17th and 21-24th.
I will also join Pramila Vasudevan in the fall for a parking ramp performance project to be performed September 28 & 29th.
Much more to come <3
Describe your pre-performance ritual if you have one.
Getting my head underneath my pelvis for a long time, oxygenating the hamstrings, the joints, finding mobility in my joints, putting weight in my hands, rolling on the floor a bunch, making sounds, putting makeup on. (It varies immensely whether I am doing a 50-minute exhausting work, or a 7-minute piece, or a drag story hour, or a performance installation.)
When you’re not deep in Q-STAGE rehearsal and development, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies or passions in life?
I am passionate about making empanadas and arepas, passionate about eating them too. I love going out dancing, biking to most of my destinations, spending time outside, teaching all sorts of people. My schedule is pretty different from week to week, which I love! I love dancing too. I get a kick out of having several different activities in one day that require different things of me. I am passionate about making dance, about performing. I love hanging with people that love me and care about me.
Have you been collaborating with any other artists to create this show? Who are they and how are they contributing?
The performers: Genevieve D. Johnson, Lelis Brito, Sharon Picasso, Tim Rehborg, Kim Schneider, Belize Torres Narváez–they are exquisitely generous every time they show up in rehearsals.
Joyce Liza Rada Lindsay, music composer whom I’ve worked with since 2014. Joyce truly connects with the work I make, and she interprets my emotions in a vibrant way through sound textures and compilations. Joyce lives in Chicago and is an accompanist for dance programs, as well as an independent artist and maker.
Zoe Cinel developed the visual materials for the piece last year when Noche Bomba was in its crafting stages. I will show that work in the piece. Zoe is just finishing her master’s degree from MCAD. We began working together June 2017 after performing with Aniccha Arts and Labor Camp.
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