“joyUS” (a working title) will be an evening length participatory Urban Latin Dance Theater experience that takes on joy as the ultimate expression of resistance. Whenever humans have survived immense hardship and injustice, prevailing with their humanity intact, the presence of joyor, the knowingness and celebration of our true beauty and powerhas always been at the root. “joyUS” reclaims the dominant deficit based narrative of people of color in this country as being underprivileged, voiceless, powerless, and victimized, and flips it on its head by embodying stories of joy collected from communities of color in South Los Angeles. These stories will be personal truths about the power of hope, faith, and family, the strength of the villages that have raised our children, the wealth that lives in our collective histories of struggle and resistance.
These truths will be embodied through the technically rigorous social dance forms that were born out of these experiences, that are at the root of our company’s Urban Latin Dance technique, and that are the physical embodiment of that most powerful, healing joy. Through the conversations with South LA communities, retelling their stories through movement on the concert stage, inviting audiences locally and nationally to actively participate in what they’re experiencing on the stage, and continuing to engage broader audiences in the telling of their own truths, we will create spaces of joy and healing, allowing the collective “us” to feel more connected, loved, powerful, and alive.