Juanita Suarez, co-Artistic Director of LDTP, has updates, news and some history to share!

Juanita Suarez has applied for a full-year sabbatical for 2015- 16.  The intention of this research project is to delve deeply into the Mexican American migrant experience, paying particular attention to how the life of a migrant was reported taking place in San Antonio, Texas and Lansing, Michigan during the years 1947 – 52.  By drawing from the stories told by migrant workers in these locations, she intends to create an interdisciplinary performance for Latino dance students enrolled at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) Department of Dance.

Her reason for doing research in these particular locations and years is based on a personal history as a migrant. She was born Mexican American and raised by a family that migrated and worked as migrants; her family traveled from San Antonio, Texas in 1952 and headed North to Lansing, Michigan where there was work to be had during that year.  Since those years she moved far away from her culture and assimilated into the world of the university.  The consequence of leaving an extensive family behind in San Antonio has impacted her family in a way that is unexplainable.  Her familia suffered a dysfunction and fragmentation she is sure is  common among many migrant families.

In her words, “I would like to now “go back for the others” and for that other part of me that has been lost and almost forgotten.  I have a dire need to create and write about it (as Sandra Cisneros coaxed me to do) so as to stem the cultural amnesia I suffer, and address the sense of loss many others suffer too. I am aware of personal movements and how economic pressures, the need to be successful in the United States, made it easy for me to not be aware and actually indifferent to my Latina heritage.  For always there has been the practical reality of functioning effectively in the dominant culture of Euro-America.”

Juanita has been commissioned to work with Melissa Hauschild-Mork, Bill Evans, and Jacqueline Smith-Autard of Bedford Interactive of England.  The responsibilities include creating a script for software that will promote the art of teaching a master work.  The software will record the master work of “Colony” a work created by Evans based on the colonial movements and the response of aboriginal cultures to such movements.  The dance will be recorded by 6 cameras and will be performed by dancers at Dean College where Evans teaches.  The project will be sponsored by Routledge Press. Juanita has also been invited to work with dance educator Karen Bradley, to serve on a think-tank committee supporting new developments in Dance and Neuroscience.  Neuroscientists have discovered the amazing brain of the dancer and are currently involved in research to understand the activities of the dance brain using EEG monitoring.  The last experiment tried to record the movements in the brain taking place when a dancer lifted a single arm, performing a simple gesture.  The super computer involved crashed.  Now the research has been animated by the intrigue these scientists have derived by noting the complexity of how we think when we dance.

This month of November 2014, Juanita presented a group dance, Gemini, for DANSCORE, the faculty concert offered annually by the College at Brockport Department of Dance.  She also attended the National Dance Education Organization Conference held in Chicago.  While at NDEO she contributed to the final vote of the Vision Statement supporting Dance 2050, which has been in process for three years.  She will be involved with disseminating information concerning this new movement to universities, and other dance organizations throughout the coming year.

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Our Weekly Los Angeles – BlakTina Festival Review

Second BlakTina Festival explores more artists

Black and Latina choreographers, dancers take center stage

By Cheryl Flores OW Intern | 9/11/2014, midnight

BlakTina 2 Festival, a three-day event that included nine dance performances from 10 choreographers utilizing 37 dancers, featured a diverse palette of dance that ranged from ballet to Hip Hop.

Presented Friday evening by The Latina Dance Theater Project and Bootleg Theater and sponsored by the Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs and Los Angeles County Arts Commission, BlakTina aimed to provide a space to showcase Black and Latina choreographers.

Creator Licia Perea wanted to celebrate the diversity of Black and Latina voices in the city.

“It is important to have a festival like this in L.A., when a majority of the community is Black or Latin(o),” she explained. Perea collaborated with Alicia Adams, the artistic director of Bootleg, a theater that celebrates dance, theater, poetry, film, and other forms of art and diversity, and worked tirelessly to execute the Blaktina 2 Festival.

Inspired by BlakTinx, a performance-based festival presented by the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance in New York to celebrate people of color, BlakTina showcased the works of choreographers who are talented local dancers with esteemed backgrounds such as teachers, dance award winners, and masters of fine arts graduates from top-notch university dance programs (U.C. Irvine, U.C. Berkeley, UCLA, CalArts, U.C. Riverside, and CSU Dominguez Hills).

The festival included unique performances such as “We, Hanging by a Thread,” which featured a live cover of a song by alternative band The Smith’s “What She Said,” and performance by choregrapher Cyrian Reed performed “Lady in the Reed Shoes.” This piece featured a tap solo. There was also a dance piece “Pendulum,” an ode to Black men murdered and profiled by police and those who empathized and prayed for them. The show was followed by a meet and greet with the dancers and choreographers at the Bootleg.

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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including L.A.’s Largest Dance Fest
Comments (0)By Ann Haskins Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:10 AM
Categories: Dance

SoulLabImage2 Photo courtesy of BlakTina 2Marina Magalhães and Allison Gray in BlakTina2


This week’s dance events include two dance festivals, a Dream event, Spanish dance from Cuba and a lady in a tower.

5. Kickstarter dance

With funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, Licia Perea, her Latina Dance Theater and the ever-adventurous Bootleg Theater return with a new edition of BlakTina 2. The obliquely named showcase spotlights mid-career and emerging Latino and African-American choreographers based in L.A. The ten selected choreographers offer a blend of premieres and previously staged works. Dancemakers Cyrian Reed, Dorcas Román, Marina Magalhães/Allison Gray and Michelle Funderburk contribute the new works. Sofia Carreras, Rande Dorn, Joshua Romero, Crystal Sepúlveda and Maura Townsend offer previously restaged pieces. The styles range from dance/theater, hip-hop, tap, jazz and spoken-word including poetry by Maya Angelou. At Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park; Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 4-6, 7:30 p.m., $20. 213-389-3856, http://www.bootlegtheater.org.

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BlakTina 2 Festival!

BlakTina 2 Header 2

LATINA DANCE THEATER PROJECT & Bootleg Theater presents The BlakTina 2 Festival – a movement festival of cutting edge work presented by Licia Perea of the Latina Dance Theater Project (LDTP) and the Bootleg Theater. This is the 2nd exciting year LDTP is presenting the BlakTina Festival – THE dance festival that celebrates emerging and mid-career Black and Latina (o) choreographers who live and work in Los Angeles.This exciting new festival will feature 10 contemporary choreographers with four premieres – in one evening of compelling work!

September 4th, 5th & 6th, 2014 at 7:30 pm Thursday – Saturday

Bootleg Theater Doors & Bar open at 7pm
Tickets: $20 online at http://www.bootlegtheater.org or 213-389-3856
DRC member ticket discount, $15 – enter code “dancer” at checkout

This year’s choreographers are:
Sofia Carreras, Rande Dorn, Michelle Funderburk, Allison Gray & Marina Malgahães, Cyrian Reed, Dorcas Roman, Joshua Romero, Crystal Sepúlveda and Maura Townsend

Blaktina 2 includes 4 premieres by Cyrian Reed, Dorcas Roman, Marina Malgahães/Allison Gray and Michelle Funderburk. The other 5 pieces by Sofia Carreras, Rande Dorn, Joshua Romero, Crystal Sepúlveda and Maura Townsend have been performed in LA, regionally and nationally. It is an amazing line up of contemporary choreography drawing from dance/theater, hip-hop, tap, jazz, poetry (by Maya Angelou) and all featuring fantastic dancers.

The BlakTina 2 Festival is forging new boundaries in the festival scene in Los Angeles. The BlakTina 2 Festival is Licia Perea’s brainchild, giving focus to emerging and mid-career Black and Latina (o) choreographers. She is co-producing BlakTina with Alicia Adams of the Bootleg. Both organizations are committed to producing boundary-defying performances born from the diverse cultural and artistic landscape of LA.


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The BlakTina 2 Festival – September 2014

The BlakTina 2 Festival is a movement festival of cutting-edge work presented by Licia Perea of the Latina Dance Theater Project (LDTP) and the Bootleg Theater. This is our second year featuring Latina (o) and Black choreographers in one festival based in the greater Los Angeles area, and we will highlight the works of 10 contemporary choreographers.

SAVE THE DATES: September 4th, 5th & 6th, 2014 at Bootleg Theater

This  year’s choreographers are: Cyrian Reed, Crystal Sepúlveda, Dorcas Roman, Joshua Romero, Marina Magalhães & Allison Gray, Maura Townsend, Michelle Funderburk, Rande Dorn and Sofia Carreras!

Licia Perea of LDTP and Alicia Adams of Bootleg Theater are committed to producing boundary-defying performances born of the diverse cultural and artistic landscape of L.A. Their three-fold plan is to give emerging and mid-career choreographers opportunities to present their work, to create a community and to expand all of our collective audiences.

Want to help produce this one-of-a-kind festival in the L.A. area? Help match DCA funds to pay participating choreographers, visit; 



Tickets available at www.bootlegtheater.org

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BlakTina 2 Festival Proposal & Application Form

Request for Proposals

BlakTina 2 Festival

September 4th, 5th & 6th, 2014

presented by

Latina Dance Theater Project and Bootleg Theater

Application Due Date: July 7th, 2014

Submit both items below to: BlakTina 2 Festival c/o Latina Dance Theater Project at either: liciaperea01@gmail.com OR 2159 Lyric Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027

  1. $20 application fee – can be paid through PayPal via the donate button on this blog (above right) or check mailed to address listed above.

2. Submission Application can be downloaded below.

Festival Participants Announced: July 18th, 2014

FESTIVAL DATES: September 4th, 5th & 6th, 2014 at Bootleg Theater

Licia Perea and The Latina Dance Theater Project seeks applicants from Latina (o) and Black contemporary choreographers based in the Los Angeles vicinity, drawing from a full range of styles and culturally based approaches that represent contemporary Black and Latina (o) dance theater. This exciting festival will feature 6 – 7 choreographers of color. LDTP is excited to be partnering again with the Bootleg for our second presentation of this hugely successful festival of cutting edge work! 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Choreographers who have produced and presented their own choreography in a non-student context.
  • Applicants are a resident of Los Angeles vicinity, have lived here for at least one year and have produced choreographic work in LA.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Full-time students are not eligible

Project Description:

  • Presentation – Artists are expected to present an original work no more than 12 minutes.

Selected artists will receive the following:

  • $200 honorarium
  • Marketing/PR will be provided by LDTP and Bootleg.
  • Tech Production support will be provided including a basic lighting design, overall technical direction, and light and sound operators. No large scenery can be accepted.

Selection process: Up to seven choreographers/choreographic collaborations will be selected for the BlakTina 2 Festival. A panel will lead the selection process which will include members of LDTP, Bootleg’s Artistic Director and community artists. The panel will make decisions based on quality and innovation of the artist’s work and interest in the Festival. The panel seeks a spectrum of dance styles and aesthetics, with particular interest in contemporary and innovative approaches. However, the intent of the panel will be to select applicants of high artistry and interest, rather than make a distribution for the sake of balance. LDTP is a collaborative ensemble of multidisciplinary artists who explore through performances–physical, musical, and visual–controversial issues impacting the global community. LDTP’s partner, Bootleg is a 1930’s warehouse and a home for Los Angeles artists who work in theater, music, dance, and film. Bootleg presents and produces work that is surprising, unexpected, exciting and reflective of life in Los Angeles, a city where the boundaries are elastic, and not bound by tradition.

 ** Deadline for Applications is July 7th 2014**

**Festival participants will be notified no later than July 18th, 2014**

BlakTina 2 Submission

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LDTP at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

Latina Dance Theater Project was delighted to receive this letter from Reeve Love at the National Hispanic Cultural Center regarding our presentation of El Sueño de la Razón/Slumber of Reason. We loved our time there and cannot wait to return!


To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in support of the Latina Dance Theater Project and their production of El Sueño de la Razón/Slumber of Reason, an original dance drama which was presented at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) on March 25-26, 2011. This performance was part of Global DanceFest (GDF), a citywide season of contemporary dance from across the globe, and was presented in partnership with VSA North Fourth Art Center and New Art New Mexico, the founders and sponsors of GDF. This is the company’s second appearance at the NHCC; the world premiere of their production Coyolxauhqui ReMembers, another original dance drama, was presented at the Center in January 2006.

Slumber of Reason, inspired by Francisco de Goya’s 18th century etchings entitled Los Caprichos, creates contemporary “caprichos” presented in vignettes combining movement, spoken and sung text, and video, and highlighting the absurdity, both comic and tragic, of the social abuses afflicting our world today. Both the sheer physicality and the haunting poignancy of the work make it an extraordinary theatrical experience.
Latina Dance Theater Project founders Licia Perea, Eva Tessler, and Juanita Suárez, joined by José Garcia Davis (who created the video, masks, and set for the piece, as well as performing in it) and apprentice Gabriela Nugent (Tessler’s daughter), brought talent, wit, and passion to the NHCC stage for two memorable nights. Our patrons were transfixed, and our presenting partners delighted.

The artists in the Latina Dance Theater Project, striving to create a new Latina aesthetic in contemporary dance-theatre, have continued to add exciting multidisciplinary dimensions to their unique perspective, and I continue to recommend their work wholeheartedly to funders and to other presenters.

Reeve Love, Ph.D.
Performing Arts Director
National Hispanic Cultural Center

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A Letter from UTEP

We were delighted to receive this letter in regards to our residency at the University of Texas El Paso.
We wanted to share with you;

Our program wants to thanks Latina Dance Theater Project for the residency, LOCA (Latinos Over the Top Collaborative Arts) in our campus November 8th and 9th , 2013. We were excited to share with our community the performance of the interdisciplinary piece Slumber of Reason. We also want to express our deepest gratitude for giving feedback to our seniors in their creative work. Your residency made a positive impact on our students.

Below we want to share what some of our students wrote:

“I cannot describe how amazing my experience was learning from the members of the Latina Dance Theater Project. The exercises we performed using other instruments that we have such as our voice and personality was something very new to me. Although, I was uncomfortable using my voice at first, I had an open mind and let go. This workshop showed me that all art forms are interrelated and give a dancer an advantage when they are a multifaceted. I learned to be myself and that interaction with others is a liberating experience. I would sincerely enjoy another workshop from the LDTP to further my education in dance, singing and theatre. I truly felt like my own person during this whole experience and I cannot thank the members enough for that.”
Gabriela Moreno, sophomore BFA

“Attending the LDTP was an eye opening experience as I was encouraged to move beyond physicality within my improvisation techniques and explore larger, and at the same time subtle, ranges. I loved how the workshop pushed me to focus and incorporate my vocal cords, use and draw concepts from props, and improvise language! 
The workshop was definitely an enlightening challenge and I would love to participate in it again. The overall experience was exciting and absolutely fun with the infectious energy of the highly creative and versatile mentors of The Latina Dance Theater Project.” Maximillion Canion, senior BFA.

“Participating in Latina Dance Theatre Project’s workshop and watching their performance of Slumber of Reason was inspiring. I was pushed out of my comfort zone, and as a result, my mind was opened to a world of new ideas and possibilities that are available for me to explore in my future studies. I hope that I am able to work with them again soon.” Emma Butler, Senior BFA

We hope to host the company again in the near future and we are looking forward to develop the work that you have initiated with our students.

Lisa Smith, MFA Head of Dance program 
Fox Fine Arts Center

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BlakTina Festival

BlakTina Festival

We are in full swing for the BlakTina Festival on Dec 12, 13 and 14th, 2013 @ 7:30 pm at Bootleg Theater, LA!
We need your help raising funds for this exciting and important first ever festival featuring Black & Latina (o) choreographers!
Please check out our Indiegogo campaign and make any amount donation–Thanks in advance!
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LDTP doing LOCA at the University of Texas in El Paso

LDTP doing LOCA at the University of Texas in El Paso


November 11, 2013

 Landed in Chicago after taking an American Airlines flight from Rochester, New York; I headed straight for Frontera, the wonderful restaurant chain created by Rick Bayless, you know the dude who does the cooking show, who knows how to do serious food research of another culture he was not born in.  I have to say he has Mexican food down.  Anyway, I went to this place in the Chicago airport as a rehearsal of what was to come in El Paso.  Ordered Cochinitl con Pipil or something like that and it was a delicious blend of sandwich with pork and vinegary red onions.  Delicioso.  Consumed with a glass of Victoria cerveza; it became a cosmic experience when I tried the salsa habaneros. Whew!  My entire nasal system opened up for several moments.

 Arrived in El Paso and found Licia And Jose in baggage claim.  Andrea and JJ picked us up along with Eva and her crew.  I should have tried the enchiladas that Barbara made; she is one of Andrea’s beautiful dance students who also works as a chef; volunteered to make us great home cooking.  Her contribution truly made this a special gig.  Andrea Vazquez is an amazing Latina choreographer, who loves her students and is great at inspiring them to do their best work. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas in El Paso.  She faced the challenge of language when she studied at the College at Brockport and walked away with honors.  We did the first LOCA gig on Friday, November 8th 2013.  I began the festival by reading the manifesto I created on the plane.  Licia and Eva loved it and will post it on the website.  I have also included it at the end of this writing.

We then had students do a 45-minute warm-up led by Lulu, who did a fantastic job.  She is so funny and warm the students loved her carefree nature.  Then Jose invited students to do a vocal warm-up, which they got into; he introduced them to a vocal technique known as Farangia, which was taught during the 16th/17th century to vocalists and it preceded the use of full voice.  He uses it as a warmup for his voice so that it is not so taxing.  Following this exercise, Licia and Jose had students engage with the handshake exercise.  He did this before when we did the Dallas gig. 


One person goes out on the floor and strikes a pose that is shape oriented.  A second joins first person and finds a way to express a handshake with that person.  Then, first person breaks their original shape and continues the process of creating a handshake with their partner.  Ad infinitum it goes until it builds.  Then they extended this idea by incorporating sound/language and accelerating movement changes. 

Following this, Eva had them do the object exercise.


Put together a group of varied objects for students to choose from to spark ideas.

Choose an object as a group

Create a list of words you free-associate with that object

Do not veto or edit your thinking as you create the list

Share with group your list

Listen and create a theme from the collection of words

Make a structured improvisation based on your theme

Incorporate sound, language, music, body as design, pure action

Get observation feedback from audience (what did you see?)


Reflect on what you are trying to do, making sure you follow the parameters of the project

Seek connections by listening

Notice relationships

Allow associations to surface

Identify qualities or characteristics of objects

Make observations without vetoing

After the workshop, students wanted us to see their work, which was passionate; the ideas as well as the composition were sound and varied.  Style of dancing was very physical, one in which dancers accepted their impact on the floor.  Lots of partnering involved.  Saw four dance works in all.  Where was my camera when I needed this? Need to ask Andrea to record these works for me so I can add this material or data to my research.  They were so excited to have us view their work, I felt humbled by the experience and they were grateful.

We went through the entire show spacing and running lines.  Trying to remember when you are tired proved to be challenging.

We went to Andreas’ house afterward for a dinner of chicken in a tomato sauce with rice.  Delicious with beer, I also tried Marzipan, which is too rich for me.  But the conversation and food offered us a lovely evening.

Saturday came with our attention on the reconstruction of Slumber of Reason.  And this is after not having done it in a little over a year.  Did a run through and took a break for lunch around 1:00 pm.  With the help of the Hilton Garden Inn van, we got to Rulis, an international eatery where I had a delicious meal of chicken and pesto.  Very good! Drank a lot of water because it is so dry in El Paso.  We walked back to the hotel and held a board meeting.  I took minutes and we talked about Lulu’s work with grant writing.  She is trying to get us there again.  We wish her luck because this has been a challenging year for her; she wrote eleven grants and did not get a single one.  Then we addressed budget; UTEP will attempt to raise $4,000 to bring us back in the spring to continue working with the students there.  Talked about South Coast Repertory, a prestigious gig in California and should be hearing soon from this group.  If we get it, it will be a wonderful opportunity to share our work. 

Afterward, we went to the theater to get ready for the show.  We had a full house with folks being turned away.  Some folks would not leave and I snuck them onto the stage.  Later they were invited to sit on the side to see the video.  During the performance, a female student asked me if she could ask me questions.  I said no and she said why.  And I said, “because I am performing.”  Wow, cannot imagine what was going through her head. 

Show over.  We are a success!  The look in Andrea’s eyes said everything.  She was beaming and said, “I love it!”  Many came backstage to congratulate us.  We all felt great about the effort, especially in light of the fact we only had one full rehearsal.

We learned a lot from this experience and have lots to reflect on.  LDTP is in a position to contribute to the national dialogue concerning interdisciplinary art making.  The work we do is high caliber and it is truly unique.  We shatter the mold of what Nick (dancer in Andreas’ dance department) referred to as high entertainment.  He said there was a scholarly tone to it, meaning that a lot of thought went into it.  We have to find a way to continue this work we do and to connect to the young art maker who is in the process of evolving their aessthetic.  Also, I need to connect to NDEO and find a way to get us a performance opportunity.

Yes, this needs to happen.  AMEN!

Interdisciplinary Training involves a different approach towards the creative process


All can move, all can speak, all can listen, all can reflect, all can embody design and all can put it down on paper.  Reflection.


Be open to all possibilities!  Be receptive to the ideas of others.

Listen with your whole being.  Try not to listen to the sound of your thoughts while listening to others.  This skill comes in handy when interacting or bouncing off others during creative work and performance.  Magical moments can be missed if you are only in your head. 

Ponder over ideas before addressing them.  Do not believe everything you think.  Work to avoid driving only your agenda forward.  Remember it is about the project. 

Enjoy working as a follower and as a leader. 

Be prepared to be able to communicate your reasons as to why your idea works. 

Seek connections amongst the arts and find ways to express the same thing using different disciplines.  Make room for other ways to express besides just movement even though there is motion in everything.  For example, how could the concept of a wave be conveyed using voice, movement, character, visually through shape design, texture, with a partner?  Scenario: a beautiful wave has decided to leave its home to come and live with you.  What scenarios might surface on the basis of this idea?  What is your relationship with the wave?  What do you have to do in order to accommodate the wave? How is life disrupted because you have a wave in your living room?

How can you enhance or build off of someone else’s efforts or ideas to create a rich, descriptive moment? 

Notice the skills of others and when possible, encourage them to contribute those skills when you think they might effectively contribute to the process.  Sometimes you can see something in others they cannot see in themselves.

Think like a Holon, that is to say, work to be a complete whole within yourself but also be aware you are a part of an interactive network of parts that come together to create a larger whole.

Be patient with the idea of collective leadership.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Remember that community takes time.


Embody your ideas.  Avoid stasis.  Explore levels, spatial organization and dynamics.  Be aware of the group composition and dynamic at all times.  This requires you to think on many levels.

When is an idea a good idea?  A good idea has lots of possibilities and it is open to many different interpretations.  A good idea allows parallels to other great ideas possible.  Usually a good idea relates to what is going on now because folks can relate to it.

Collaborative. Interdisciplinary work does not have a kind of look or style. It can be truly varied.  It can emerge in many forms.

That is it for now!

Long shall we live the interdisciplinary process!


Submitted by Juanita Suarez

Latina Dance Theater Project









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