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Salsa
Highways Performance Space
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contra-tiempo - I Dream America

by Briana Blasko, Jenn Tamera
February 10, 2007
Highways Performance Space
1651 18th St., Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-315-1459
www.contra-tiempo.org

This article showcases some performance photos from the show and includes a press release describing the show written by the company.
contra-tiempo, a nationally and internationally acclaimed urban/latin dance company based in Los Angeles presented a new collaborative community dance piece called "I Dream America". Conceived and choreographed by Ana Maria Alvarez and a company of eleven talented performers, with original music by Cesar Alvarez, "I Dream America" was performed in combination with several contra-tiempo favorites including the self-titled piece "contra-tiempo" that toured NYC and Mexico in 2006. The show was for two nights only, FRIDAY February 9th and SATURDAY February 10th, 2007 at 8:30pm at Highways Performance Space 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310-315-1459, www.highwaysperformance.org). TICKETS were $20 ($15 for students & seniors)

"I Dream America" is a movement opera, which primarily seeks to engage the tensions, commonalities, strains and histories between the Black and Latino communities. Traversing the political landscape of immigration and Hurricane Katrina, "I Dream America" investigated compassion and peace and painted a disarming and thought-provoking critique of contemporary life and injustice. Together, the company members of "contra-tiempo" l(the piece) negotiated pushing, pulling, letting go, dancing against time and dancing against the times, and created an intricate moving conversation of resistance. Through their words, movements and relationships to one another, they begin to express the complexity of resistance and struggle for Latinos in the U.S. The company fliped the script on who leads who. Together they moved resistance from being adversarial to being the fundamental key for communication and empowerment between partners and for a people.

Alvarez combines genres of dance, theater and protest in her choreography and teaching to address cultural and social justice issues. Alvarez has studied, performed and taught all over North America, South America and the Caribbean with various dance schools including the E. Gwynn Dancers (NC), Jamaica School of Dance, University of the West Indies (Jamaica), Cutumba Baile Folklorico de Cuba (Santiago de Cuba), Los Pintas de Cordoba (Argentina), Narciso Medina (Cuba) and the Julio Jean Haitian American Dance Theatre (NY, NY). In addition Alvarez worked with the The Urban Bush Women (NY, NY). In 2002, Alvarez and her brother were invited to perform at the IX Festival Internacional de Musica Electroacustica in Havana, Cuba. Also in 2002, Alvarez moved to Los Angeles and has been teaching, choreographing and performing around the city including at The REDCAT Disney Hall, The Forum Theatre, and Grand Performances to name a few. May 2005, Alvarez received her MFA in Choreography from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures, and since then has toured her company, contra-tiempo, to the east coast twice, and most recently to the US/Mexico border. The company looks forward to touring California and to Texas later this year.
Cesar Garfiaz & Ana Maria Alvarez Salsa with out touching in a contra-tiempo favorite: the duet

Cesar Garfiaz & Ana Maria Alvarez Salsa with out touching in a contra-tiempo favorite: the duet

Photo © & courtesy of Jenn Tamera


contra-tiempo: the intensity rises in the Men's Piece

contra-tiempo: the intensity rises in the Men's Piece

Photo © & courtesy of Briana Blasko


contra-tiempo uses salsa as a metaphor for resistance and struggle

contra-tiempo uses salsa as a metaphor for resistance and struggle

Photo © & courtesy of Jenn Tamera

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