MFAs in Dance & Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership / ASU
Pursuing PhD in Theater & Performance of the Americas / ASU
“I had always intended to return to graduate school, and things fell into place at Arizona State University, where I recently completed two concurrent masters’ degrees.
In the MFA dance program, my culminating project was titled “Spanish Legacies; 75 Years of Spanish Dance in Arizona.” The project involved a written document (available on ProQuest), a month-long performance series at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and a six-month museum exhibition in cooperation with Scottdale Arts’ Learning and Innovation and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Together, these intersecting projects explore the international careers of four mid-century Spanish dancers who founded the Phoenix flamenco community. The research led me to better understand and appreciate the cultural network that maintained Spanish dance in the US throughout the 20th century. This revealed to me the ways in which Spanish dance—and dance in general—supports cultural identity in the syncretic United States.
I continue to expand these ideas in a PhD program called Theater & Performance of the Americas (also at ASU). My current research examines the ways in which Spanish dance served as a form of cultural diplomacy as the Spanish West was acculturating into the Anglo-Saxon culture of the USA. Other highlights of my MFA tenure included creating a new major-level course on Dance Culture and Global Context, and receiving a Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) award for my advocacy toward equity for percussive dance at ASU.
My second master’s degree is in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership, a program that explores the intersection of civic practice, entrepreneurship, and the arts. This program was incredibly rewarding and changed the way I think about my career and how the arts serve our society. I hope to be able to implement these new ways of thinking and to make a positive difference in the world as my career evolves in the future.”
MFA in Dance / Hollins University
“I pursued an MFA in dance because I had ideas for choreographies and shows, but didn’t feel like I had all the tools to carry out those visions. I wanted experience and knowledge of new ways of germinating movement vocabulary rather than just copying and pasting steps. My MFA opened me up to new ways of creating choreographic material and gave me the time and space to experiment with movement in new ways.
My culminating project included a site-specific piece for library spaces based on texts by Federico García Lorca and Jorge Luis Borges that explored theories of translation through movement. I created the movement, the costume, and the soundscape for the piece and in the process worked on untangling the essence of flamenco. I also did research on the politics behind flamenco becoming part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The best part of my MFA is that it gave me tools to continue learning and growing – I continue to experiment with new choreographic processes and develop new movement vocabulary. I am a dancer and writer and educator, but choreographing is my favorite part of being a flamenco artist, and the most challenging, and the MFA helped give me tools to explore that side of my artistry more.”
MFA in Dance / UNM
Pursuing PhD in Dance Studies / OSU
“I love performing and teaching flamenco, but in 2018 I felt a call to further investigate flamenco’s history and theory in order to more deeply understand my personal relationship to the art form. I decided to go back to school, and I graduated with my MFA from the University of New Mexico in 2021. My research and choreographic explorations culminated in the creation of Haunted, a dance film that investigates stereotypical conceptions of the bailaora to empower and reaffirm her physical body as a site of meaning making and knowledge creation.
I’m now working toward a PhD in Dance Studies at the Ohio State University where my research explores the development and evolution of flamenco music and dance in the United States. I’m interested in how flamenco functions in the US and how US-American flamenco artists, practitioners, choreographers, and viewers engage and interface with the form.
As my research progresses, my growing connection to flamenco’s history continually enriches my movement practice, which is still a huge part of my life and relationship with flamenco. As a member of the newly formed Caña Flamenca, a Columbus-based flamenco collective, I am currently rehearsing a piece that will appear in the 2022 Festival Flamenco Ciudad de Medellín.”
FROM OUR FRIENDS
ARTS FOR ALL ABILITIES CONSORTIUM
Juana Cala’: Dance/Movement Workshop
Tues, Aug 9 4-5:30pm
Long-time Flamenco Vivo Teaching Artist Juana Cala’ is leading a free interactive in-person workshop for the Arts for All Abilities Consortium next week! Juana will be presenting the groundbreaking teaching methods she developed for students with disabilities as part of Flamenco Vivo’s Arts in Education program Project Ole.
GUESS THE PALO!
What entire flamenco palo was inspired by a pet monkey?
Hint: There’s a well known video of Pastora Galván dancing to this palo that aired on Spanish television’s Canal Sur!
Marianas are derived from tientos/tangos, with long couplets of verses of different measures that each conclude with a chorus. It was a very popular cante in the beginning of the 20th century, and gained recognition thanks to singers Joaquín Vargas el “Cojo de Málaga” and José Luis López Benitez el “Niño de las Marianas,” who recorded it in 1910 accompanied by guitarist Ramón Montoya. Earlier recordings of marianas raise doubts about who created the palo, but el “Niño de las Marianas” told well-known flamencologist Anselmo González Climent that he created the cante when he was 17 years old. He said the idea came to him when he heard a group of Hungarian Gitanos who used to dance and sing with their pet monkey*, while playing the tambourine and wandering through Andalucía. Regardless of who invented it, Luis López popularized this style, and the style popularized him. He would always be known in the flamenco world as “El Niño de las Marianas.” For a while, marianas fell out of use until they were recovered by Bernardo “El de los Lobitos,” who recorded them in the first Hispavox anthology, Antología del Cante Flamenco, in 1958. Still Marianas are rarely performed these days with the exception of a few singers like José Menese, Jesús Heredia, and Curro Lucena.
TRADITIONAL MARIANAS LETRA
Yo vengo de Hungría,
con mi Mariana
me busco la vía.
Sube, Mariana, sube
por aquellas montañitas
arriba sube Mariana
mi arma te quiero.
No pegarle, por Dios, más palitos
a la Mariana
porque la pobrecita era
manquita y coja
coja, lelé, lelé
Salga la luna
la luna y el sol
si quieres que yo te quiera
de tu querer no me fío
carnes de mis carnes
porque eres muy falsa.
I come from Hungary,
with my Mariana
I look for the way.
Go up, Mariana, go up
those little mountains
Mariana climbs up
I love you my soul
Don’t hit her, for God’s sake, with more stick
because the poor thing was
maimed and lame
lame, lele, lele
the moon and the sun
if you want me to love you
bail me out
I don’t trust your love,
flesh of my flesh,
because you are so fake.
* Some accounts say that Mariana may have been a goat or another domesticated animal.