Photographs © Claudia Pajewski, 2021. Courtesy of Short Theater Rome.  

Border / Procession - A Ritual of Water  


Endangered Human Movements Vol.4


by Amanda Piña 
 
Commissioned by the festival Short Theater in Rome in Italy, "Frontera / Procesión - Un Ritual de Água" (Border / Procession - A Ritual of Water) is the last instalment of the fourth volume of Amanda Piña's “Endangered Human Movements”, a long-term project focusing on traditional dances and human movement practices that have existed for centuries but are today in danger of disappearing.

The pieces of the fourth volume of Endangered Human Movements, from which Border / Procession - A Ritual of Water is part of, have its roots in a dance that emerged from the neighbourhood of El Ejido Veinte of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on the border between Mexico and the United States of America. A street dance that is performed usually by men, and danced in the context of violence linked to this border’s liminal spaces, where drug trafficking, militarisation and low-cost labour intersect.

This dance is part of the so-called "Danzas de Conquista" (Dances of Conquest), initially conceived by the Spanish crown to represent the Christian victory over the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula. It was used as a racist propaganda tool during colonisation, upholding an agenda of difference between whites and non-whites that was exported to Latin America. The indigenous people were forced to personify the "Moor", recreating their defeat, while the Christians staged the victory of Spain. Over time, the dance has wholly reversed its colonial matrix, transforming itself, in modern/colonial and, subsequently, neo-liberal contexts, into a tool to embody forms of resistance, "re-conquest", and self-determination.

By tracing a dialectical path between genealogy and transformation, this "Danza de Conquista" has transformed into a repertoire of narratives, becoming a "Danza de Frontera", including hip-hop, colonial tales, indigenous practices and mysticism, intertwined in a movement of continuous struggle against oppression and expropriation. However, the border, for Amanda Piña, is not just a place but something that remains imprinted on bodies: an imprint against every colonial paradigm of universalism that speaks only to those who embody a history of oppression.

In Border/ Procession - A Ritual of Water, Amanda Piña works with a mixed cast of performers from her own company that are part of Danza y Frontera and women from local associations of the city of the presenter. Associations aimed at strengthening solidarity with and between women in diverse situations of vulnerability, young and old, born in the country of the presenter or elsewhere. During a 10 to 15 days workshop under the title of "Escuela de Frontera" (School of Borders), they develop together an outdoor performance and procession in public spaces of the city of the presenter. The subtitle "A Ritual of Water" refers to creating a public action (parade and performance) which is per se a kind of manifesto - one that envisions a feminist political order through which the future can be cared for and repaired. According to Piña, water in our bodies and environments establishes the path for new forms of solidarity, flowing through and beyond all notions of borders, whether cultural, national or aesthetic.


CREDITS

Artistic Direction and choreography
Amanda Piña

Artistic Design
Michel Jimenez

Choreography and transmission
Rodrigo de la Torre Coronado, Leader of the  Danza de Matamoros

Transmission in Rome
Daphna Horenczyck, Juan Carlos Palma Velasco, Lina Venegas, Matteo Marziano Graziano

Performance
Matteo Marziano Graziano, Daphna Horenczyk, Jorge Luis Cruz Carrera, Juan Carlos Palma Velasco, Lina Venegas, Rodrigo de la Torre Coronado and a group of women who are members of diverse civil rigths and cultural associations from the city of the presenter.

Dramaturgy and development
Nicole Haitzinger

Research and theory
Nicole Haitzinger and Amanda Piña

Music
Christian Müller

Live percussion
Juan Luiz Cruz Carrera

Costumes
La mata del veinte/Julia Trybula/Coloriage Sartoria Soziale

Production
nadaproductions

Management and Distribution
Something Great

Funded by City of Vienna (Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien)