The Latinas in LDTP and the women at DWC, Los Angeles, CA
August 29, 30 and 31 — three days of fun, but meaningful movement and theater activities for the Latina Dance Theater Project! We were at the Downtown Women Center in Los Angeles, CA, to work with a special group of women. These women don’t have a home, a job (many are desperately looking for one), a healthy life and are certainly deprived of many other things. Well, they for sure are not deprived of their willingness to express themselves in a creative way.
We taught two classes involving movement and dance — which explored the Brazilian samba and congo — followed by improvisational, writing, creative and theatrical activities. The women who took the classes danced with liveliness and energy, continuing to excite us with their good ability to generate interesting movements for improvisational prompts and write expressively — many times showing a poetic vein. When it came down to “performing” what they wrote, the women were not shy at all! They were open to showing us what for most of them could have been very personal situations put on paper. We were delighted to see them on our informal “stage.” But not only that. It made us feel good to have given them an opportunity to “pour out” things that might be troubling them. It certainly feels marvelously to use movement, and why not say the performing arts in general, to help people, even if if it’s just a little bit.
And it doesn’t stop here. The activities at DWC culminated with a performance by LDTP at the main cafeteria. Here, again, we had the women with us! They were engaged. And let’s take into account that a cafeteria is a place where people go in and out, at times doing jobs such as emptying the trash cans or sweeping the entrance. This still did not affect the attention that we, the performers, had from the ones watching us. It was a good crowd! We performed a section from the work Coyolxauhqui ReMembers, “Invocada,” and sections from Slumber of Reason, the three “Interrogations” and “Duel.” Oh, those women laughed and responded enthusiastically to what they were seeing with their facial expressions and applause. They were thankful, we know. For us, it was rewarding to hear their thank you’s as well as their questions and comments at the end of the performance.
I think we — Lulu, Licia, Eva and Jose (who also performed and delighted us with his singing) — can give ourselves a congratulatory hug. But more than that, we are thankful to Gabriela and Andres for helping us in many ways, to the DWC employees, and especially to Lauren De La Torresfor assisting us during those three days. So, congrats and big hugs to all!!!!!
Written by Eluza Santos/Lulu