On Friday, April 15, 2016, CONTRA-TIEMPO Futuro Junior Company performed excerpts of "I Dream America" (choreographed by Ana Maria Alvarez, under the direction of Jasmine Burgos) as part of the LA Dance Festival (produced by Brockus). The following is a reflection on the experience by Futuro Junior Company member, Brianna Thorpe.
Dancing Into My Futuro, by Brianna Thorpe
If you would have told me four years ago that I would be performing with CONTRA-TIEMPO Futuro at the 2016 Los Angeles Dance Festival, I would have said, “What is CONTRA-TIEMPO???”
I started dancing Salsa when I was in the 11th grade and I immediately knew that this is something I would be dancing for the rest of my life. When I started college, I became heavily involved in the Salsa scene on campus, and I gained a lot of new insight into this beautiful dance form.
About two years into this dance journey, I had the pleasure of being introduced to CONTRA-TIEMPO and seeing their performance of “Full Still Hungry”. For me, it was love at first sight. I had seen other Salsa performances, but I had never seen anything like this. After talking to the company about their work, I knew I had to get involved. So, I applied to their Futuro Summer Dance Intensive. I was accepted into the program and spent two weeks learning from the company.
At first, I was very reserved and unsure of my abilities. I had danced Salsa before, but I had never even heard of modern dance, let alone danced it. Despite this, I took a leap of faith and dove head first into the work. After the summer intensive ended, I was left feeling empty—like an entire chapter of my life had ended. I needed more! Fortunately CONTRA-TIEMPO was holding auditions for their Futuro Junior Company, and I decided to go for it.
I truly consider deciding to train with Futuro as the most pivotal moment in my dance journey. Looking back on these last nine months, I am amazed by how far I have come. Everything I experienced during that time came out on stage, as we performed excerpts of “I Dream America” at the LA Dance Festival.
We trained for months, working on intention, working on technique, and learning how to dance as a company. The performance was my first major performance ever and so it was incredibly important for me get it right; not only because I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but because the stories that CONTRA-TIEMPO tells through movement are so incredibly important. Those stories need to be honored. By the end of the performance, I knew we had done the work justice, and all the doubts I’d had in my abilities disappeared.
I have taken this renewed sense of confidence and am continuing to explore and let myself open up. I am so grateful to CONTRA-TIEMPO for providing me a space to grow. There is no doubt in my heart that while we are a company, we are also a family. I am so incredibly blessed to have the support of so many individuals through this journey. In my opinion, this is the greatest success of the Futuro program. It connects you with people that have such a passion for the work and for dance. It allows you to become inspired, push yourself, explore, try new things, and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Though I have a long way to go on this journey, I owe my current growth to CONTRA-TIEMPO Futuro and I am grateful to have stumbled upon it when I did.