Unbelievably, the Angela Peralta theater was nowhere near COVID-capacity Friday night for Delfos Contemporary Dance’s Vientos de Cambio (Winds of Change), which kicked off the 2022 Spring Season for Cultura Mazatlán. If you weren’t there, you lost out on an incredible performance! Each of the four pieces presented from the Delfos repertoire were stellar, sharing with us the emotionality, power, and drama we are privileged to expect from them.
The third dance, with only the women on stage, was what stuck with me. It hit my heart and soul hard. Each woman’s mouth was taped shut with what looked like electrical tape. They all wore ponytails and hauled and pulled one another around by the hair in disgustingly realistic ways. The performance was way too close to home. Any woman of my age has lived through the experiences portrayed in the dance. The piece culminated with the women removing their tops; their body movements and lighting were reminiscent of the best fine art nudes. At its conclusion, the audience was heard to openly gasp for air; it obviously moved most everyone the way it did me. To me the piece illustrated the pull of our patriarchal systems: how we are all victims when power is not shared; how cruel women can be to each other—something we’ve sadly absorbed from an inequitable, unjust system; and the crucial importance of sorority, equity and social justice. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
I also loved the piece with the origami boats. The light on the white paper made them absolutely glow on the stage; I’m not sure if my photography was able to capture the wonder of the moment that the audience experienced, with dozens of origami pieces lining the stage.
Choreographers of the night’s works were Xitlali Piña and the company’s co-founder and director, Victor Manuel Ruíz. The dancers included Surasi Lavalle, Johnny Millán, Xitlali Piña, Luisa Escobosa, Diego Alcalá and Rodrigo Agraz, plus two special guests, Vanya Saavedra and Katia Rivera.
When I think of Delfos I think emotionality, power, and darkness; their lighting has a theme that, while dramatic, is very challenging to photographers. Friday night’s scenography was an event in itself, as usual; the graphic and powerful lighting, minimalist set and creative costuming were contributing stars of the show.
During the performance and as I write this article, I want to shout out how much I MISS THE PROGRAMS that for years were handed out at every performance in our theaters!!! I know they ostensibly were stopped because of COVID, but then couldn’t we perhaps be told the content by the announcer pre-performance, or read it online? I for one was eager to understand the title of and intention behind each piece, and I love knowing for sure who choreographed and performed what. EDIT: Having published this, Johnny Millán kindly sent me the program that I had been unable to locate; it had been posted on Facebook. Here it is:
The public here in Mazatlán has a lot to look forward to coming November, when Delfos will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a series of performances including Minimal, which debuted last year. The company will also perform at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City with a new piece.
Claudia Lavista from Mazatlán’s Escuela Municipal de Danza tells me she’s heartbroken she won’t be in town for our Mazatlán Women’s March on Saturday evening. We do hope you will join us, and bring your whole family, all your friends and colleagues. If you are coming with a group from the same workplace, school or club, please wear your uniforms to show your group pride. Otherwise, there is no clothing recommendation. Do, however, bring the sign you would like to carry. “Defending Dignity,” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” “Diversity and Inclusion,” etc. Get out a piece of cardboard and a marker, and exercise your voice. The march is NOT political, please, and is peaceful and respectful. We will meet at 4 pm on the malecón where Alemán intersects it, in front of the Hotel Freeman, and walk to the Cliff Divers/Glorieta Sanchez Taboada.
This post, however, is about an event AFTER our march, at 8 pm. Claudia tells me, “It’s our first cultural action against the Trump wall idea!” And does it look beautiful! (BTW, Colin, kudos on the pics!) The performance is a collaboration between Vermont’s Middlebury College and our own EPMD (professional dance school). Click on any photo to enlarge or view a slideshow.
Here is the full event description:
EPDM and Dance Company of Midleburry Present Border | Zone… entre nosotros
Please join us for this evening of new contemporary dance performance, Border | Zones… entre nosotros on Saturday 21st of January at the Angela Peralta Theatre, 8:00 pm. Tickets are 200 pesos and can be purchased at the box office 9am-3pm and 5-7pm or Saturday 9am-2pm.
Centering on themes of the boundaries and borders between nations, people, and ideas, this performance was produced as part of an international collaboration between Middlebury College (Vermont, USA) and the Mazatlán Professional School of Contemporary Dance (EPDM). The project features an exchange between the students of the Dance Company of Middlebury (directed by Scotty Hardwig) and choreographers Omar Carrum and Claudia Lavista, who have created choreography with the company.
During the last two weeks, the Dance Company of Middlebury has had the opportunity to study in Mazatlán and integrate with the classes, teachers and students of the EPDM — this provides them both with a new cultural lens and introduction into the training methods and high-level of artistic creation at the school, as well as an opportunity to work with internationally renowned choreographers like Carrum and Lavista. This exchange also allows for the students of both schools to experience different processes of studying and training in dance, the different approaches of the two schools, as well as connect to other international student dancers and perform together.
For this performance, Hardwig has created a new work, “Sun Breaks Down,” in collaboration with the student company, and the evening will also feature a repertory work by Carrum and Lavista entitled, “Dulce, Disonante, Entorno,” alongside works from the students of the EPDM. This performance will be followed by a tour of these works in the United States by DCM, as well as by EPDM student dancer Paola Reyes Guzman who will be performing a new original work by Xitlali Piña Poujol.
Formed in 1980, the Dance Company of Middlebury includes student dancers, selected by audition, who create new work annually under the direction of professional faculty choreographers and designers at the Middlebury Dance Program. This model creates a pre-professional environment for students to engage in intensive dance training, experiencing the inner workings of the choreographic process from varied perspectives. Each year, DCM premieres a new piece in Vermont in conjunction with a national or international tour. This year’s company, directed by Scotty Hardwig, includes dancers Miguel A. Castillo, Mandy Kimm, Deborah Leedy, Amanda Lorena Neira, Andrew Pester, Otto Pierce, Liv Reuss, and Emily Schreffler.
I was most looking forward to dancing to my favorite local band, La Falsa Orquesta Cubana, and indeed, we danced to salsa, bolero, cumbia and conga till well after midnight. The highlight of the evening, however, were the three performances by the new graduates.
It is unbelievable how talented these young adults are! Representing ten different states of Mexico, they are, indeed, a national pride. I didn’t attend the Delfos fundraiser last weekend, but I’ve heard from 7-8 people how disappointing the choreography was. Not Wednesday night! This choreography rocked! There were three student-choreographed performances:
Bripola, a two-person dance about the vibrations that occur when the strings of a small guitar are plucked and strummed.
Diagram of the Trajectory of Laurence, another dance by two dancers, representing the steps forward, backwards, up, down and sideways through space.
Passaro, a group dance representing the intense energy of flying birds.
Many of the graduates’ families came from out of state to support them, and donated items for the silent auction and door prizes. The dinner was also amazingly good.
THANK YOU to all of you who read this blog and bought your tickets and got a table together! Seeing the energy, excitement and talent in these young people gave everyone who attended such encouragement.
If you would like to support their effort to raise money for the airfare, you can deposit your donation to Bancomer #0193238377, in the name of El Espacio del Verbo. You can also donate from US$5 upwards via Internet on Fondeadora.
If any of the students would like high-resolution images of these photos without the watermark for your personal use, just let me know.
I do sincerely hope the event raised a lot of money for your journey. Best of luck! Show them just how talented Mazatlán and México are!
Now I have even BETTER news! You can help them get to Italy AND attend one of the BEST dance parties EVER! The date is Wednesday, March 16, and the venue is the Hotel Playa. Our absolute favorite local band, La Falsa Orquesta Cubana, will be playing. The 650 peso price includes a 3-course meal and dance performances. This is indeed going to be a night to remember!
I do NOT want to have you tell me after the fact, “Why didn’t you let me know?” So, please, share this news widely with all your friends! Get a table together and come, let’s dance and have some fun! And, oh yeah, support the kids 😉
Two businesses have tickets on sale: Look Gallery and HelArte ice cream shop across from the Nid Art Gallery. Isa Medina will be selling tickets at Allegro Café on Wednesday March 9 from 9-11am, and at the same times on Tuesday March 15 at Allegro in the Zona Dorada. You can contact her and she will deliver tickets to you: email@example.com
Secondly, I want to let you know that TODAY, Friday during Art Walk, the about-to-graduate dancers will be performing short pieces and contemporary dance fragments at four different galleries around town: BAUPRES, DELIRIUM, LOOK, and NIDART. The kids and their friends/family will be collecting donations and selling tickets for the fundraising dinner. The schedule is:
Baupres, Delirium and Nidart: dance performances at 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 with live music in between/during the break.
Look: continuous dance performance from 5:00 onwards to recorded music.
Last night was incredible. Honestly and completely. I arrived back from Venice and Milan in the morning, and was jet lagged but oh-so-excited to attend Delfos’ annual fundraiser, this year titled “Gourmet Body.” The event did not disappoint. In fact, it rocked so much I’m tempted to attend again today. Bless Omar, Claudia, Diego and everyone involved! This was an avant-garde performance that we would have been privileged to see in any major world city, and here we were, right in our very own Mazatlán! According to the program:
“Gourmet Body is a hybrid performance that heightens all five senses. A game of chance where the viewer decides what to see and taste. It consists of eight scenes and eight tastings happening simultaneously in different spaces at Casa Garcia. It’s not just a dance performance; it’s not just a tasting; it’s not just a meeting among friends; it’s an entirely new way to experience art, food and social gatherings!”
It combined performance art—modern dance, music, lighting, acting—with delicious degustaciones made by Chef Diego Becerra and staff, and it took place in the beautiful surroundings that are Casa Garcia. There were eight “tours” we could take, and each person attending was able to do four. That’s the reason to go again—to do the remaining four. Last night’s event was attended by a good mix of locals and expats, and equally enjoyed by all. Everything was conducted bilingually, in Spanish and English. Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.
Chef Diego Becerra
Delfos’ lead, Claudia Lavista, thanks everyone
The gorgeous scene at Casa Garcia this evening
Carlos Berdegue and Raúl Rico, among many others
Mark, Athina, Val and crew
Candi and Olivia Fauver
Helene and Miguel
Claudia, Raul Rico, Chef Diego and our two mistresses of ceremonies
The Delfos troupe is one of the most renowned in Latin America, and we are blessed to have them based right here in our beloved Mazatlán. The group was founded in 1992 by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz. Last night’s unbelievable event was an annual fundraiser (different each year) to support Delfos’ and the Professional School of Dance of Mazatlán’s social and educational projects. That includes community outreach to local colonias such as Urías, where kids without shoes are given the chance to learn the Delfos philosophy, joy of life, as well as dance.
Cuerpo Gourmet was conceived and produced by Delfos’ Omar Carrum. The architectural beauty of Casa Garcia, plus the fresh night air and clear sky in the courtyard were, of course, stars of the show. Having just come from Venice, where it is normal to pay US$40 for the privilege of good atmosphere or a scenic view, tonight I paid $40 for great views PLUS four incredible performances, four mouth-watering tapas, three glasses of full-bodied red wine, and the enjoyment of reconnecting with a whole bunch of friends.
Each of the eight performances had a theme and costumed tour guides. Each tour was limited by the number of people who could attend: between ten and 25 each round. Tour guides stood in line with their signs and tickets, and when a bell was rung, they handed out the tickets they had for that round. A program told those of us attending the theme of each performance, so we could approach that tour guide to get our tickets. In theory, each of us should have been able to attend any of the eight, but in reality the kids had so many friends and family there that some of the tours—such as #1, which took place in the bathroom, and another, which took place in the kitchen—were “sold out” each and every round before the bell even rang to begin giving out tickets. I will say, however, that every tour was wonderful—the performances, the costuming, and the food. It’s just that some were obviously more popular than others, and people were definitely pushy and psyched when they got tickets to their choice of tours!
Tour guides all lined up
Getting their tickets
Sign for one of the tours
Sign for one of the tours
Sign for one of the tours
Sign for one of the tours
Tour guides all lined up
Happy to get her tickets!
The event had sold “VIP tickets” so that people could attend both nights. I had not heard about this option prior to tonight, probably because I was traveling. Since we were only able to attend four of the eight performances, attending both nights via the VIP option sounds smart, indeed. I assume they have a way to ensure that you get to see all eight tours. The first performance we went to was #8—Family Portrait: Sweet sighs of a layer hen. It took place on the second floor of the patio, in a small room with a terrace. Our seats were nests with eggs, and our degustación was a chocolate egg that was oh-so-delicious! Two dancers (Roseli Arias and Renato González) with masks and eggs danced in (and through) a window facing the audience.
Below is a video clip of this performance:
The second performance we attended was #7—At the Edge…The Oblivion: Hot passion served cold. This was also on the second floor, in a small room laid out with a long table dressed with white tablecloth, red roses and candles, on a balcony overlooking the floor below. Two girls (Aura Patrón and Karla Nunez) danced in a window, then we met two guys (Daniel Marin and Johnny Milan) dancing down on the floor below. Finally, all four were together down there in a ball of passion; the performance was a wonderful use of the architectural space in Casa Garcia. The tasting was a wet and spicy ceviche.
Balcony part of the room
Part of the dance scene down below
Here is a bit of video of this station:
Our third performance, #2—The Secret Ingredient: How people don’t know what they are eating—took place on the roof, and was the most energetic performance we saw. Also the funniest. Performers dressed as a chef, sous chef and cooks (Julio César Rendón, Sofia Ramírez, María de Lourdes Melo and Christian Jiménez) danced around with fry pans, and then served us a wonderful warm taco filled with chorizo.
Here’s a clip of this performance; enjoy! Our final performance, #3—Little Dudes: Four-creature cocktail in a fresh indulgence sauce—also took place upstairs on the roof, past the room with the pool table. It involved four performers (Alejandra Juárez, Francisco Herrejón, Jorge Luis Rebollo, and Ashley Pietro), and we were served a shrimp cocktail with a citrus dressing.
Below is a video of this performance:
I met two young dancers from the US last night, both of whom are doing a one-year residency with Delfos. The first, Olivia Fauver who studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, and the second, who I interviewed, Hillary Grumman from Seattle. Below is my interview with Hillary:
The performances we missed included:
#1—Anthropophagy: Dreams of meat in the sauce of craving and hunger
#4—The appointment: Meat pie of two religions with plantains and suburban pigs
#5—Bleeding in the sky: Blames of the cattle sandwich with BBQ sauce and farmer’s corn bread
#6—Absences: Memories of forbidden fruits covered with chocolate nostalgia
Hearty congratulations and many thanks to Claudia, Omar, Diego and everyone involved! What a wonderful, jet lag-filled welcome home to Mazatlán! Get your tickets to tonight’s event at Casa Garcia (Calle Niños Héroes #1511) or LOOK Gallery.