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Founded and directed by Ana Maria Alvarez in 2005, our unique Urban Latin Dance Theater brings to life voices that are not traditionally heard on the concert stage.
Our work is rooted in Salsa and Afro-Cuban and draws from Hip-Hop, urban and contemporary dance-theater. We create an invigorating blend of physically intense and socially astute performance that pushes the boundaries of Latin dance as an expressive cultural and contemporary form. We are taking Salsa back to its roots as a mode of expression for the struggles of the working class, and are therefore committed to making our high quality, professional performance work accessible for all, regardless of race or class. CONTRA-TIEMPO exists inside of and embodies the 'in between' space: leader/follower, immigrant/American, English/Spanish, performer/listener. We fully embrace that liminal experience as artists within communities, both on and off stage. CONTRA-TIEMPO is a rich tapestry of professional dancers and performers from varied styles, many of whom are immigrants or first generation North Americans, and exist within the varied and infinitely complex political and personal landscapes that we address in our work.
Resident composer and co-founder, César Alvarez, approaches the music for the group as if it were a new genre. CONTRA-TIEMPO's movement narrative calls for a complete rebuilding of "dance music" using a sonic vocabulary as far-reaching and diverse as the company members' backgrounds. In the original music he composes for CONTRA-TIEMPO's performances, César deconstructs salsa, collaging Americana with hip-hop, poetry with clave, industrial and found sound with the powerful rhythmic traditions of the African Diaspora.
We have several large-scale performance works, many shorter pieces. Our company members embody a deep mastery of a number of different styles from the Urban Latin Diaspora including Salsa, Afro-Cuban, house, breaking and stepping. Our artists are trained in the CONTRA-TIEMPO engagement methodology and work directly with our dance training programs for youth, pre-professional summer intensives, training arts educators and community engagement in art making. Our repertory has been and continues to be presented in and around the United States and Latin America. In 2014 CONTRA-TIEMPO members toured to South America as Dance Ambassadors, as a part of DanceMotion USA. This program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), showcases the finest contemporary American dance abroad while facilitating cultural exchange.
"The new face of Los Angeles dance, and the new voice as well." – Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times
“A performance that moves beyondjust dance, but expresses with its movements the strength of the Latino community in their struggle as they live in a country that is not their own." – Washington Post
"Alvarez is a rising star of the dance world." - Leonard Jacobs. Backstage, NY, NY
" L.A - based company CONTRA-TIEMPO is making waves with its bold approach to teaching and performance." - Dance Teacher Magazine