As we all gear up for the beginning of the season and upcoming regional booking conferences, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of this past year for Frontera Arts and the wonderful artists on the roster.
This past year marked the 10 year anniversary beginning my work in Mexico and in particular with Delfos Danza Contemporanea, thanks to National Dance Project, Rebecca Blunk and Elizabeth Roth of Roth Arts. This was a life changing experience for me and the foundation of Frontera Arts. I, as are many others, am deeply saddened by the loss of Rebecca recently but so grateful for her help, guidance, support and sharing her amazing vision over the years.
The world famous contemporary theater company, Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes from Mexico City joined the Frontera Arts roster at the end of 2013. I have seen the work of this amazing ensemble company under the artistic direction of the gifted Claudio Valdes Kuri over the last ten years and with each new production, never cease to be impressed and inspired by their innovative style and process that challenges our notions of theater.
In January of 2014 the artistic, administrative and marketing staff of Delfos, myself and Pennie Ojeda, former Director of International Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, gathered for a four day retreat in Mazatlan, Mexico in January. This was a project that I have wanted to execute for a long time and, with the generous help, work and support of Pennie, came up with an agenda, outline and support materials in both English and Spanish for our time together. We addressed cross-cultural communication, planning, organizational structure, procedures and communication issues specific to our artist/agent/manager relationship as well as our "dream ballet" for the future. In my ten years of working with artists in Mexico, these challenges continue to present themselves alongside our successes and deep connections that have been made through touring. I profoundly thank Pennie for all of her work and dedication both in working with us and so well facilitating this endeavor. Her expertise, knowledge and calm and objective insights made for a great experience. As she helped frame it for me when she said “This is a start.” I am very proud of what we all accomplished and look forward to the next segment and more possibility ahead. Thank you Pennie and Delfos!
Southern Exposure funding (Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation) was awarded for the support of the U.S. tour of Delfos Danza Contemporanea in spring of 2015 to the following consortia presenting partners: University of Washington, Meany Hall, Center for the Art of Performance at U.C.L.A. and Bates Festival 2015. A highly competitive grant for Latin American performing arts companies, Delfos was honored to have this support. Kudos to all of us who worked so hard on this grant.
Over the last year I was able to see a fair amount of work of Latin American artists and US artists having attended the Radar L.A. Festival in Los Angeles, the ISPA congress and Festival Bogota in Colombia. Frontera Arts was also invited by the National Director of Dance in Mexico, Cuauhtemoc Najera Ruiz (INBA) and National Performance Network to be part of the U.S. delegation to the first Encuentro Nacional de Danza ever in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see so many Mexican dance companies perform (including Delfos' Rite of Spring), attend panels with dance historians, producers, critics and meet one on one with artists to hear about their projects. My hope is that this event will continue to attract presenters, managers and artists who want to engage in a cross-cultural dialogue and understand the context for contemporary dance in Mexico.