Wednesday, September 02, 2015

BlakTina Tucson Festival @ ZUZI Theatre


From: Eva Tessler []
Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 8:40 PM
Subject: Blaktina Tucson Festival


Eva Tessler,Licia Perea & The Latina Dance Theater Project


BlakTina - Tucson

The brainchild of LA choreographer Licia Perea, BlakTina Festival is now in TUCSON!

BlakTina – Tucson Festival is a cutting edge, movement festival that celebrates Black and Latina (o) choreographers.  Presented by Eva Tessler, Licia Perea and The Latina Dance Theater Project, this is BlakTina’s first exciting year in Tucson, after three successful runs in Los Angeles.

Born from the diverse, cultural and artistic landscape of Los Angeles, BlakTina Dance Festival, is the brain child of LA choreographer, Licia Perea.  This inspiring festival, gives local and regional dance/movement artists, an opportunity to create and present new work!

BlakTina – Tucson Festival, will feature 11 contemporary choreographers with four premieres - in an evening of compelling work!



BlakTina – Tucson Festival featuring Black and Latina (o) choreographers


October 2 &3 at 7:30 pm  


ZUZI! THEATER 738 North 5th Avenue

Tickets: $18 at the door

Press Contacts:

Eva Tessler

This year’s choreographers are:


ConDanza (Cesar Degollado), Abel Garcia, Mele Martinez, Jon McNamara, Yvonne Montoya, Yarrow Perea (ABQ), Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier (LA), Anton Smith & Zari Le’on (LA), Andrea Vazquez (NM), and Barbea Williams Performing Company


BlakTina – Tucson, includes 5 premieres by Abel Garcia, Anton Smith & Zari Le’on, Mele Martinez, Jon McNamara and Andrea Vazquez. It’s an amazing line up of contemporary choreography drawing from dance/theater, hip-hop, flamenco, jazz, and ballet, and all featuring fantastic dancers!   

The BlakTina Festival is building on the excitement of its’ THIRD year of sell out performances in L.A and the FIRST in Tucson!  We continue to push the boundaries in the festival scene in Los Angeles and now in Tucson. Both festivals are committed to producing boundary-defying performances born from the diverse cultural and artistic landscape of L.A. and Southern Arizona. 



César R’ Degollado, a native of Mexico, has worked as a dancer with several well-known choreographers and has done world renowned choreography by George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Paul Taylor and Ben Stevenson.  He’s traveled as a performer, teacher and choreographer to Amsterdam, Germany, London, Scotland, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan and Thailand as well as throughout the United States. César founded ConDanza, a Contemporary Repertory Company and Community Outreach Project that originated in Stockholm, Sweden, officially moving operations to Tucson, AZ in 2009. Since, the Company has performed in: Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, and Livermore. César, as well as the dancers, are excited to be part of the BlakTina Festival.



Rosa Rodriguez Frazier, is a teacher, choreographer and performing artist from the Inland Empire in Southern California.   As a Mexican American woman, her interest and research as a choreographer values “movement” as a means to perform visual and emotional ideas of gender, race, class and citizenship.  Frazier, received a BA in Dance and an MFA in Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside.   Performing throughout California and Northern Mexico, she has been creating dance pieces for the past thirteen years.   Frazier, teaches at the A.B. Miller High School Dance and Conservatory program in Fontana, CA and is currently a guest lecturer at Riverside City College and at the University of California, Riverside.     



Abel Garcia, started dancing 9 years ago while attending Tucson High Magnet School.  He trained in modern and jazz during his time there and fell in love with the arts. In those four years Abel knew he had a passion and talent for dance and choreography.  Since then, Abel has been training and studying at Pima Community College for his Dance associates.  During his time at PCC he has done choreography for multiple dance showcases and other performances around town including: Pima’s dance shows, Breakout studio’s showcases and other dance studios and cheer gyms around town.  



Will Geusz (guitarist), is an Albuquerque based guitarist who has been playing local punk shows since his teens. At 24 he partnered with Yarrow Perea to form a dance project that fused their musical experiences. The intense Flamenco-style footwork set to furious power chord riffs creates an energetic and angsty sound that is as much fun to perform as it is to watch. The project is still in the early stages, and Will is excited to see what new challenges it will bring to his guitarist life.



Melani “Mele” Martinez, with her natural movement style, even in childhood, made for a perfect fit with the raw spirit of flamenco. By age eighteen Mele was already exhibiting a powerful awareness of musical interpretation both in rhythmic understanding and emotive potential in the art. With professional training, she became an original member of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Co.  Soon, she was co-directing the Tucson Flamenco Festival, teaching in her own studio, and a featured artist in festivals and concerts throughout the country. Despite humble beginnings in Tucson, Mele is now considered one of the most authentic flamenco performers in America.



Jon McNamara, is a local choreographer and dancer who after a 14 year hiatus is coming back to the stage.  Jon's past work has focused on challenging the audience and performer relationships through utilizing the entire performance arena in unique and challenging ways.  His studies include intensive work in Butoh dance and other modalities of movement including Feldenkrais Somatic Education, Tai Chi and Farming.  He received the Fellowship in the Arts for choreography awarded by The Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2000 for a piece called, Miasma.



Yvonne Montoya, is from Albuquerque, NM. She studied dance at The University of Arizona. In the 2000s, she performed in Tucson with: FUNHOUSE movement theater, New ARTiculations Dance Theatre, and Zeffirelli 8. In 2006, she was the local teaching artist for Ballet Hispanico and in 2008, she was a commissioned choreographer for “Undocumented Historias in the Desert of Dreams” produced by the Fundación México and Durham University. In 2009, she founded Safos Dance Theatre where she currently wears most of the organization’s hats. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Ms. Montoya worked as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona’s Department of Mexican American Studies from 2006-2012.



Yarrow Perea, a native New Mexican, started dancing flamenco at the National Institute of Flamenco at age 8. She danced there in various companies until she started college at the University of New Mexico where she is now pursuing a degree in flamenco dance. Over the past four years at UNM, she has studied with various artists from Spain.  Last spring she choreographed and presented one of her own works with Will Geusz in the Student Dance Producion called, “Punk Rock Flamenco.” After the piece generated a lot of positive feedback, Perea and Geusz decided to audition it for the Blaktina Festival.



Anton Smith & Zari Le’on, collectively boast years of mastery and expertise in the genres of hip hop, African Diaspora, Dunham technique, contemporary, ballet and improvisation. Anton Smith founded the Human Project in June 2002 and Zari Le’on founded Zari Le’on Dance Theater in November 2002. Both of their projects have been shared with audiences all over the world. Their collaborative project “From A to Z” is a multi-media and multi-discipline performance that uses the first letter of his name and the first letter of her name as a play on words to invite the audience to experience their original and diverse backgrounds.



Andrea Vazquez, holds a B.F.A in choreography from Escuela Nacional de Danza Clásica y Contemporánea in Mexico City and an M.F.A. in dance from SUNY Brockport. She was a scholar under FONCA, the government council for the culture and arts in Mexico. She has danced in several professional companies in Mexico and the United States. Her research interests include the acquisition of consciousness within somatic research contexts, the possibilities between dance and other disciplines, traditional folk dances and the relationship between creative practice and spirituality. She is currently serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.


Barbea Williams,  is an award-winning performer dedicated to sharing ethnic dance, theatre and visual cultural traditions that derive from Africa and the African Diaspora, as an Arts Educator, Performing and Visual Artist. She has worked as Adjunct Faculty for the School of Dance at the University of Arizona for seven years. During this time she founded the UA Afrikana Dance Ensemble specializing in African and African Latino cultural expressions offering classes, workshops and performances for the School of Dance and University of Arizona community. In addition, she is on the Folk Teaching Artist Roster with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Tucson Pima Arts Council, Teaching Artist for Tucson Unified School District's OMA (Opening Minds through the Arts) Arts in Education Program, Fine Arts Department. In the community she serves as Artistic Director of Barbea Williams Performing Company and Dunbar Dance and Art Academy. Ms. Williams has performed with, choreographed/costumed for Arizona's top theatre companies: Arizona Theatre Company, Black Theatre Troupe, Borderlands Theatre/Teatro Fronterizo, Invisible Theatre, Ododo Theatre and others. Barbea has received numerous awards from various organizations: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, YWCA, Tucson/Pima Arts Council, Buffalo Soldiers of Southern Arizona, COPE, LULAC, N.A.A.C.P. and Jewish Community Relations Council, Pima Community College, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Tucson Metropolitan Ministries, Arizoni Award and Young Audiences of Southern Arizona. Her passion is "Keeping the Culture Alive!





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