On the series: Voices del Camino is our series of stories and reflections from the company, while on tour. El camino, in Spanish, literally means "the road"; but el camino is also the journey that we're on towards witnessing, creating, and sharing the beauty and complexity of humanity, and towards transforming our world through love and movement.

Stop 2: WASHINGTON, DC | The struggle within the "Struggle", by Ana Maria Alvarez

I have always had a tumultuous relationship with our nation’s capital. I am the child of Communist union organizers. I’ve seen the impact that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has had on my father’s patria. I endured years of miseducation from teachers in the South, who only told “his-story” and hid the truths of lies that our country has been built on. There have been times in my life where I have not stood when the national anthem was played, times when abroad that I pretended to not be from this country. …And then there have been those times when I have felt so incredibly grateful to have been born here and to call the United States of America my home. 

Some of the company (and Ana Maria's son) at the Memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, DC

Some of the company (and Ana Maria's son) at the Memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, DC

Being in Washington DC, bringing my son for the first time to our nation’s capital, and especially performing Agua Furiosa, brought up all of this and more. Saturday [our first show there] was a sold out audience, and for me, it felt like one of our hardest shows. Everything that could have gone wrong did (with tech, with space, with hitting choreography…), yet people seemed to still respond well; things resonated, and the piece worked. They didn’t know what went wrong. They hadn’t seen it 30 times. They weren’t the authors, and therefore they weren’t judging it as harshly. 

The second night of our show was an audience full of my parents’ friends—the village that raised me, the community who made me a “red diaper” baby, and the folks who are passing the torch to the next generation of change makers. The Q&A with this audience was one of the most interesting and inspiring for me—to hear their appreciation, but also how they were struggling with how I placed responsibility for this country’s current state of affairs on ALL of us. It was unnerving for some of my folks. They (we) have spent so much of our lives fighting the ‘enemy’, so to have one of their own offspring state publicly that WE are also the enemy, was hard for them to hear. 

I never thought about this in quite the same way until this Q&A —this idea that I am taking a different route than my parents. My village of my parents’ generation weren’t artists, they were revolutionaries, fighting the system. Fighting the system will always be at the root of my work, but as I am growing as an artist, as I continue to age, as I raise my own child (soon to be children), I have become more nuanced about that fight. It’s about resistance as love versus as violence. It’s the idea that pushing back and fighting can be done so much more effectivelythrough the arts, because it’s the ultimate tool to help us feel and remember our humanity.  

Who knew that it would be in DC that I would really find that?! This trip gave me more love for this city, for this nation and for exactly how I was raised to resist it all.