Yvonne Montoya "Stories from Home: COVID-19 Addendum"

is creating dances of Latinx stories, & at-home experiences during COVID-19

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About

DANCE ARTIST YVONNE MONTOYA PRESENTS
STORIES FROM HOME: COVID-19 Addendum

Latinx Oral History, Familial Experiences,
and At-Home Experiences in the Midst of COVID-19

 Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Latinx communities in the American Southwest. Choreographer Yvonne Montoya and an all-Latinx cast of dancers draw upon personal histories as well as ancestral knowledge, including stories from Montoya’s great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, and father. With palpable theatricality, moving spoken word, a movement aesthetic informed by vibrant ancestral and contemporary sources, 

Stories From Home opens up opportunities to share embodied testimonials of family, love, loneliness, uncertainty, and change experienced at home during social distancing. It also opens up many exciting new places to dance in and around the home.

Stories From Home was originally scheduled to premiere on stage and in person on Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage this September and will be rescheduled for the 2020/2021 season. Facing the realities of COVID-19 and its impact on the performing arts industry, along with postponed performances and residencies, Montoya evolved the presentation of the work. 

The two-month online Stories From Home: COVID-19 Addendum series is an evolution of and supplement to the full-length Stories From Home work, integrating new choreography and ideas. This online series presentation is divided among two acts. The first of which encompasses five work-in-progress dances, performed by Montoya, that reflect upon the challenges of homeschooling and parenting while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second act will feature the cast of Stories From Home in five site-specific dances, choreographed by Montoya, that feature the dancers’ stories from home during the time of COVID-19

Details
Stories From Home: COVID-19 Addendum, Act 1: Each Wednesday, July 15 - August 12
Stories From Home: COVID-19 Addendum, Act 2: Each Wednesday, August 19 - September 16


About Yvonne
Yvonne Montoya is a mother, dancemaker, bi-national artist, thought leader, writer, speaker, and the founding director of Safos Dance Theatre. Based in Tucson, A.Z. and originally from Albuquerque, N.M., her work is grounded in and inspired by the landscapes, languages, cultures, and aesthetics of the U.S. Southwest.

Montoya is a process-based dancemaker who creates low-tech, site-specific and site-adaptive pieces for nontraditional dance spaces. Though most well-known in the U.S. Southwest, her choreography has been staged across the United States and in Guatemala and her dance films screened at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C. and the University of Exeter (U.K.). In addition to being the founding director, Montoya is the lead choreographer for Safos Dance Theatre; under her direction, the company won the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Lumie Award for Emerging Organization (2015).

She is currently working on Stories from Home, a series of dances based on her family’s oral histories, set to premiere in Fall 2020. From 2017-2018 Montoya was a Post-Graduate Fellow in Dance at Arizona State University, where she founded and organized the inaugural Dance in the Desert: A Gathering of Latinx Dancemakers. Montoya is a 2019-2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, a member of the 2019-2020 Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists pilot program, and a recipient of the 2019 National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) POD grant. She continues to work as a thought leader and collaborator on Dance in the Desert.

About Stories from Home
Stories from Home centers Latinx bodies, aesthetics, and experiences from the U.S. Southwest on concert dance stages, where such themes and aesthetics are rarely seen,” comments choreographer Yvonne Montoya. “This work is even more potent now in the time of COVID-19 as we are collectively home-bound. The focus on experiences and stories from the home opens up spaces and opportunities to share embodied testimonials of family, love, loneliness, uncertainty, and change experienced at home during social distancing. It also opens up many exciting new places to dance in and around the home.”
Scheduled to premiere in Fall 2020, Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Latinx communities in the American Southwest. Choreographer Yvonne Montoya and an all-Latinx cast of dancers draw upon personal histories as well as ancestral knowledge, including stories from Montoya’s great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, and father. With palpable theatricality, moving spoken word, a movement aesthetic informed by vibrant ancestral and contemporary sources, and universal themes of love, family, and home, “Stories From Home” brings these largely underrepresented experiences to the stage.

The format and presentation of Stories From Home is flexible; it can be performed as a full-length dance work for the traditional stage; as single, brief solos; paired with a keynote address for conferences or educational events; and outdoors, on proscenium stages, in blackbox spaces, digitally, or in classrooms.

Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana, began to develop Stories From Home after her father’s passing in 2015; compelled to continue his storytelling tradition for her own child, she turned to dance. Stories From Home is a vessel for personal and specific tales, while also offering a broader look at various cultural traditions throughout the Southwest. The work explores the ways in which geographies, languages, and histories among groups such as Nuevomexicanxs, Tucsonenses, and border communities have created shared or dissimilar experiences. The grounded, sometimes incongruous choreography embraces abrupt shapes and connected, fluid shifts, balancing disarticulation with a moody softness.
The sections of the work -- solos, duets, and ensemble dances -- address issues such as loss of language, the embodiment of internalized racism, body image and beauty in the Latinx community, spiritual symbolism, and the experience of the Sefardí people during and after the Spanish Inquisition.

The cast of Stories From Home originates from communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico, and features an all Latinx cast, including Nuevomexicana, Mexican American and immigrant artists. This intentional geographic spread addresses the isolation of Southwest-based dance artists, instituting a community of Latinx dancers. The far-flung group of artists also allows for an embodied sense of the array of landscapes that are integral to the work. Site-specific creation residencies played a key role in developing Stories From Home, providing spatial and historical context for the performers.

Stories from Home Credits
Performers: Yvonne Montoya, Ruby Morales, Steve Rosales, Delia Ibáñez, Marcela Acosta and Emigdio Martínez-Arrredondo with Shannon Parrales featuring Buddy
Original Music: Samuel Peña
Lighting Design: Clint Bryson
Costume Design: Kelsey Vidic
Dramaturgy: Dr. Brianna Figueroa
Photography & Videography: Dominic AZ Bonuccelli
____________________________________________________________________________
Stories From Home was made possible, in part, due to financial support from the following organizations and programs: MAP Fund, Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellowship 2019/2020, and Safos Dance Theatre. Stories From Home is also a finalist for the National Dance Project 2020 Production Grant, funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts. 

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