“I believe it is the freedom that we are longing for, which will never be given to us, which we have to create, the pulsing life force of the collective body we are birthing, the rhythm of a shared heart”

- from emergent strategy by adrienne maree brown

Artistic Directors Note (from our show program)

“joyUS justUS”, is in no way a neutral piece of art, but a call to action. This work is a radical celebration of our humanity, an honoring of the feminine, a passionate battle cry for our rising collective consciousness and a calling for connection. We are asking you to be a part of our movement to choose joy, to stand for justice and to vibrate together in love. The development of this work has required us as an organization to begin the deep work of liberation. The creative process that had us arrive at what you are experiencing tonight was a profound experiment in building community and collaboration. What happens when we fail miserably, find ourselves living and uplifting the very systems of oppression that we are attempting to dismantle, pick up the pieces and continue to boldly spiral upward? Life is messy. Living our values is messy. Art making is a complete mess – yet when we are able to let go of needing to be the one, and make space for being truly present with the elements (Earth, Water, Fire and Air) and with one another, magic is possible.

In our field dancers are often asked by choreographers to generate movement, to author sections of work, and then are never given credit for the intense work it takes to devise material. As an act of resistance we are shifting that – part of this work was to deeply articulate the collective US – as in we. Every single performer was asked to generate material to make this work be an authentic embodiment of this US. Movement phrases, song ideas, rhythms, poetry, text, spiritual practices and entire movement sections were generated by the company. Many of the pieces were workshopped and shared in Choreographic Labs, in South LA, where we got feedback from community members and folks shared their stories in council, informing our perceptions of joy, justice, love and family. The sounds used are from my sons crying and laughing, company laugh fests, sabor sessions, under cover recordings of the rehearsal process, candid conversations about our families, sharing song ideas on our phones, protests from LA, Mexico and Brasil and the powerful vibration of Las Cafeteras and their embodiment of joy as a super power. This night is especially exciting as it will be the first time sharing live joyUS justUS, with our friends and colleagues, Las Cafeteras. The energy and contribution of our community members and collaborators made, and continue to make, a palpable imprint. As this work is performed and tours for the next two years, it will/we will continue to grow and include more voices, ideas and rising spirit into the collective US. And so we ask you: are you willing to rise?

With love and deep gratitude,

Ana Maria Alvarez