CONTRA-TIEMPO is a bold, multilingual Los Angeles-based dance company creating physically intense and politically astute performance work that moves audiences to imagine what is possible.
We create a new physical, visual and sonic vocabulary that collages Salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, and contemporary dance with theater, compelling text, and original music to bring dynamic multi-modal experiences to the concert stage.
While our performances are consistently electrifying, what sets the company apart most is our unique relationship to our own community. CONTRA-TIEMPO takes an uncompromisingly radical approach to the ways in which artists function within communities and create their work. We intentionally engage diverse audiences, cultivate dancer leaders, and center stories not traditionally heard on the concert stage, using our engagement process to inform and continuously re-fuel our creative process, and vice-versa.
Much like the communities we reach, CONTRA-TIEMPO is itself a tapestry. Our company members are professional dancers, artists, immigrants, educators, activists, organizers, and movers of all types, living and working across Los Angeles and across the country. Each company member lives, expresses, and struggles within the varied and infinitely complex political and personal landscapes that Artistic Director, Ana Maria Alvarez seeks to address in our work.
To create, through the transformative power of dance, communities where all people are awakened to a sense of themselves as artists and social change agents who move through the world with compassion and confidence.
To create physically intense and politically astute Urban Latin Dance Theatre work that moves audiences to reimagine what is possible, and to engage communities as active participants and witnesses of arts experiences tied to their humanity.
Our power comes from the relationships that we have with each other as human beings. Our art, engagement, and education work seeks to build, grow, and strengthen these relationships and to help people find human connections. Dance becomes a passport that allows us to navigate multiple worlds and perspectives, strengthening relationships across and within communities. This is the crux of our work.
Our work is grounded in artistic rigor and creativity that involves intentional and innovative applications of existing knowledge and skills to generate new art and knowledge. This process leads us to create dance that is cross-genre, innovative, and stimulating. We are committed to challenge and provoke ourselves and our audiences to question and experience deeply, continuously seeking to perfect our understanding and our craft, remaining open to the world, claiming and centering joy in our work, and remaining unafraid to imagine and explore beyond the known.
Community engagement and artistic production are inextricably linked. We cannot authentically exist outside of the communities that we inhabit. The experiences, cultural creations, and “we- stories” of our communities are the inspiration and motivation for our dance making. We intentionally and intensely engage diverse audiences to inform, inspire, ignite, question, and continuously re-fuel our creative process.
Art and action are two sides of the same coin, as they both require the ability to imagine new possibilities and then create what does not yet exist. Our dance is steeped in a tradition of activism and resistance.
Each of us lives and expresses within the varied and infinitely complex political and personal landscapes of our lives, oftentimes resisting against injustice and inequity. We live and express those struggles as authentically as possible and celebrate them as points of opportunity, learning, growth, and community.
Each of us has multiple identities, including those tied to culture, language, and history. These identities both define us and liberate us, make us unique, and connect us to a larger community in ways that transcend time and space. We support each other, our partners, our audiences, and our communities in fully exploring, connecting, and transcending these identities as essential to our development as powerful human beings. We recognize that part of what sustains systemic inequity is the privileging of some identities and narratives over others, and we strive to teach context and history through our dance, raising up those narratives and identities that may have been silenced.
We operate in the in-between, boldly claiming physical and metaphorical space to create, perform, nurture, and connect within and across communities. We create joyous, vibrant, safe, accepting spaces where we can come “home,” free to express the fullness of our humanity and tell our narratives through dance, in all its historical and cultural forms.
Michael Garcia, Tour Manager
Tanya Finks, Board Member, Capital Group
Casondra Ruga, Board Member
"What most impressed me with CONTRA-TIEMPO was their desire to connect authentically with community, both in workshops as well as in their stage performance. Our community knew that they were important to the company and, as a result, they came out to support their engagement at the Ordway." - Shelley Quiala, Director of Arts Education and Engagement, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
"What an incredible sight to see over 300 teenagers completely engaged for over and hour and a half! The choreography was brilliant, the dancing was incredible and your interaction with the students was exemplary." - Emily Mahon, Skirball Cultural Center
We extend special gratitude to our founding Clave Circle members:
To learn more about the Clave Circle and to become a member, please visit our webpage.