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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

¡FLACC! Celebrates Latin Americans in Contemporary Dance

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge ¡FLACC!
  • ¡FLACC!

Every artist needs space. In a city where physical space for the arts is becoming scarce, having space might mean finding acceptance in a community or feeling your identity represented within the artists in your field.

¡FLACC!, the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, will present its second annual program this weekend at the Mission Cultural Center of Latino Arts in an effort to provide that space for a segment of the contemporary dance world that doesn’t always see itself clearly represented.

Liz Durán Boubion of the Piñata Dance Collective decided to create !FLACC! after a dance residency in Guadalajara, Mexico connected her with several artists who wanted to perform in the Bay Area. She decided to find a way to create an audience for them, and the idea evolved into two performances last year at the Temescal Arts Center in Oakland.

“It had been in my head to create an evening for Latino artists,” said Boubion. “There’s a kind of hole in the dance sector.”

The evenings were well-attended and received tremendous feedback from Latin American dance artists, so Boubion and her team decided to bring the festival back for a second year, this time at the Mission Cultural Center, this Friday through Sunday. While there are many festivals celebrating traditional Latin American dance forms such as baile folklórico, !FLACC! is the only West Coast festival for Latino choreographers of contemporary dance.

“Our constituency is generally represented by traditional and folkloric dance forms, and there’s a lot of the heteronormative imbedded into the dances,” said Boubion. “Two days ago we had an incredible panel discussion, and just got to hear each person’s perspective about how they’ve been feeling invisible and how this festival has supported them. We’re creating a space where they can create work centered around Latino themes or queer Latino themes or whatever they want.”

This year’s program begins with a site-specific work by Zari Le’on, based on the Mayan book of creation, and then moves to pieces by CatherineMarie Davalos, Juan Manuel Aldape Menóz, Eric Garcia, Rogelio Lopez, and David Herrera. Boubion’s Piñata Dance Collective will also perform a piece exploring “impermanence, relationships and piñata mythologies”.

While !FLACC! is still in its beginning stages of becoming a viable non-profit, Boubion hopes to gain enough funding and support to become an annual event, and to remain accessible to the Latin American communities celebrated in the festival.

“I’m hoping it will continue to create this platform for Latino artists, so we come out of the woodwork more,” said Boubion, “so more latino artists will start creating work that can hold more pieces of themselves and their identity.” 

¡FLACC! Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, Sept. 25-27, Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 6 p.m. $22. At Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission, 415-643-2785. 

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Jessi Phillips


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