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.
Bentonville, AR | When the Personal Becomes the Artistic Becomes the Personal Again..., by Bianca Medina
During our performance at the Art of American Dance festival at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Arkansas, I had the honor of dancing the character role of Caliban 3. Caliban 3 (one of 4 Calibans in Agua Furiosa) is a militant revolutionary trying to navigate how to fight for justice, but on that path ends up losing control and abusing power. Caliban 3 is originally danced by a male, so as understudy, I had to quickly understand what I was taking on, as a female Caliban 3. Now, this is a whole other blog post in itself, but what it means for Caliban 3 to be a woman, a woman leader, during this country's current state of affairs is something bigger than I can fully express right now. But as an artist, that is something I have to continuously do in each role I perform—truly understand and embody what my statement is on the stage.
My character literally runs herself dead at the end. So, it was a true emotional roller coaster during that experience, to say the least. But that's the beauty of art--it transforms us, personally and collectively.
It's a powerful ride when your artistic life, personal life, and the life of this big world around us come together. And speaking of art bridging life and life bridging art…
I studied visual art heavily throughout my life, and spent so many years walking through museums, analyzing art and art history. I also studied dance history heavily as a dance major in college, reading lots of books, doing research, and writing papers on the pioneers of dance.
After we performed in Arkansas, we were able to walk through "The Art of American Dance" exhibit. On the walls were paintings, photos, videos, artifacts, set pieces, and costumes worn by some of the most significant pioneers of dance - Katherine Dunham, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham. The exhibit also brought up conversations around the political birth of social dance forms like Jazz and Hip Hop, the depiction of cultural & racial inequality in the rise of dance, and how many of the pioneers in Modern dance were women.
Personally, that exhibit walk-through truly felt like a bridging of my visual art & dance history, years of education in museums, years of study in the books, in the studio, and on the stage - all in one night. It was a beautiful little remembering that my life has always been so interwoven with art. It’s what has kept me going, striving, malleable, discovering, and wanting more out of life.
To be a company member in CONTRA-TIEMPO and to be associated with this exhibit as a live performing dance company representing American Dance in this country right now is an honor. Being a part of this during this specific time where the creation and performance of art is crucial to the connection and social change moving forward in this country, is a mighty grateful, humbly proud, “Ay! Dios mio, pinch me!” moment in my career as a professional dancer.
#ArtTransforms #ArtOfChange #Artivist #DanceYourTruth #AguaFuriosa