by Lina de la Torre
August 23, 2023
A fun aspect of events like the ENVZN Urban Art Takeover by Vanguard Culture is that you can find new and innovative experiences in the performing arts. For example, I was really intrigued by the upcoming event “Performance on Point” (POP) because it will offer audiences a highly interactive and tailored experience. It will be presented by ConnectArte, an organization comprised of artists on both sides of the border, which adds a very interesting dynamic to the work.
According to the event creators, the POP event is a convergence of contemporary dance performances and live art installations. They will use four site-specific art installations as the scenery for their individual dance pieces. POP offers the audience the power to choose their own adventure as they find, view, and/or interact with different sites and dancers throughout the building in the order of their choosing, to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
I decided to reach out and find out more about the work itself and the impetus to present it at ENVZN. I was thrilled to be able to chat with four key members of the group recently and would like to share what I learned.
As part of the international flavor of this event, we conversed in both English and Spanish. Para subrayar ese aspecto, voy a incluir también el comentario en español. La participación internacional es una de las dimensiones que más me atrajo a la obra.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
ConnectArte hopes to spark interest to come see a performance!
Matthew: Because of the pandemic, [as artists] we were all coming back together and wanted to come up with a concept that would be more on the informal side. People were just getting back into performances in physical form […] we wanted to spark interest to come out and see a live performance.
Social Issues permeate the POP piece.
Group: There will be an opening and a closing that frame the overall experience, in which the artists can create a diverse and refreshing performance piece sharing the space in real time. The solos are all grounded in the theme of social issues. Matthew is focused on corruption; Melissa is working with identity and stereotypes; Pamela is looking at contamination; Raul wants to present rich visual imagery surrounding an amalgam of issues related to the border zone.
Collaboration with each other and with other artists is key.
Pamela: We are always excited to connect with other artists. That is why we chose our name “Connect-Arte”, to emphasize that aspect, to reflect that we are not limited to just the four [core] performers. Matthew: The format of the POP event itself invites collaboration.
My vision for the chat was to have a seamless discussion in both Spanish and English, rather than simply a translation between languages. Read on in Spanish to find out more!
En la entrevista mi propósito era de presentar un conjunto de información comprensiva que abarca platicas en dos idiomas. Al inicio del artículo ya han encontrado la síntesis en inglés. Lo que destacó durante la entrevista en español era que la zona fronteriza consiste en una población muy diversa, no solamente en ciudadanos de los países de cada lado. Entonces, vemos que eventos como ENVZN y en específico una presentación como POP son realmente internacionales y no solo binacionales.
La zona de Tijuana es multicultural y rinde oportunidades
Raúl: […] con la situación de los inmigrantes cada vez es más gente que está llegando a la frontera con el sueño de cruzar, pero al mismo tiempo se queda la gente enfrascada. La sociedad cada vez más se mezcla de personas de diferentes estados y países de Sudamérica, o de otras partes del mundo.
Los Artistas les encanta crear una producción
Melissa: Algo que nos mueve a todos es crear algo. Tanto nos mantenemos curiosos en nuestro ámbito como nos mantenemos curiosos para seguir aprendiendo sobre otras artes.
Muchas colaboraciones interesantes
Un ejemplo El Colibrí Mágico de Joseph Martin Waters presentado por La Opera de Tijuana (Junio 2023)
Matthew: Mas allá de la ópera estaban buscando un elemento de la danza.
Raúl: Para mí es una de las experiencias más divertidas porque entras en el viaje de la obra.
Now that I have learned more about this piece, I am even more intrigued to have the experience.
It is a performing arts organization and multidisciplinary space based in Tijuana, Mexico. Co-directed by professional dance artists Raúl Navarro, Pamela Macías and Matthew Armstrong, ConnectArte dedicates itself to provide performances to the Tijuana / San Diego binational region and beyond, performance opportunities to local professional artists who are looking to present their work within an independently owned space, as well as professional dance training to the local community of all ages.
Participants from ConnectArte:
Maribel Durazo is the Stage Manager