The BlakTina Dance Festival returns to Phoenix this month, with a fresh lineup of 10 works choreographed by Black and Latinx choreographers.
It launched last year, with some powerful performance art.
The Phoenix festival has roots in the BlakTina Dance Festival launched by Licia Perea in Los Angeles in August 2013. Perea and Liliana Gomez-Dieckman collaborated last year to create the first BlakTina Dance Festival in Phoenix.
It’s part of Perea's vision to spread the festival to other parts of the U.S., as well as other countries.
The BlakTina Dance Festival in Phoenix will feature works by eight choreographers based in metro Phoenix, plus two works created by California-based artists. Each will choose their own dancers.
They’re exploring a wide range of subject matter, including identity, health, immigration, female leadership, death, energy, and pop culture.
It’s happening on Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25, at Phoenix Center for the Arts.
The L.A. festival will reciprocate this fall, inviting Phoenix-area choreographers to join that lineup.
Here’s what you’ll see during the Phoenix festival:
Café con Leche
Mexican-American dancer Ruby Morales is presenting a mix of poetry and movement that explores her own ambivalence about being a women with brown skin.
A modern dancer who currently performs with Cazo Dance, Malikah Fernandez returns to the festival after creating a 2017 piece called Scarred from Being Scarred. She’ll return in fresh ways to health issues and system-based barriers facing Black and Latinx communities.
Arizona native and Mexican-American artist Erik Canales, who currently works with Ignite Collaborative Dance Company, is showing a piece exploring the struggles of immigrants who risk their lives to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in search of a better a better life and the American Dream.
Alaska-born artist RaShawn Hart created a piece inspired by the expression “waiting to exhale,” which explores that moment in life when one anticipates getting relief, knowing that it may never come.
Louisiana-born Alexander Patrick is showing work influenced by current affairs, and the ways people sometimes forget to celebrate the happiness in their lives. It’s an upbeat, African-inspired word the elevates strong female leadership. Patrick also created work for last year’s inaugural BlakTina Dance Festival in Phoenix.
At the Essence 'there is no other'
Afro-Brazilian-American artist Alicia Lynn Nascimento explores the issue of otherness in collaboration with Puerto Rican-American artist Jenny Gerena and Black artist Sydney Jackson. The piece addresses complex social relationships and the adversities faced by women of color. Both Gerena and Jackson presented work in the 2017 BlakTina Festival.
Jack-o-Lantern Therapy in the Land of Broken Soles
Anthony Kelly, a Phoenix-based dance artist who hails from New York, is blending theater and dance sensibilities to consider how ever-present images of death (whether literal or metaphorical) affect mental health.
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The epic of a queer puerto rican...
Felix Cruz, artistic director for Cruz Control Collective, is delivering a movement-based commentary through a queer lens, which explores pop culture’s impact on contemporary society. Expect to see the intersection of political trends with Cruz’s queer aesthetic in the piece they’ve fully titled The epic of a queer puerto rican trying to make it through their white bred life part dos.
The Build Up: Part One
A California-based improvisation and freestyle collective comprising Aisha Shauntel Bardge and Stephen Tanner will be showing a work designed to explore and exude unapologetic energy.
Puerto Rican, California-based artist Alvin Rangel of In-Version Dance Companuy has created a dance work that pays homage to five African-American choreographers, including Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, Alvin Ailey, Asadata Dafora, and Eleo Pomare.
BlakTina Dance Festival. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25, at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Presenters note that it includes mature content and language. Tickets are $15 through Sunday, August 19. After that, tickets are $20. Visit the Facebook event page.