Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Yvonne Montoya’s Stories from Home
Yvonne Montoya, founder and artistic director of Safos Dance Theatre, announces the world premiere of her dance-theatre work Stories from Home/Leyendas de mi tierra, at GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC, October 28 & 29. This choreographic work breathes life into untold Latino stories of the American Southwest as Montoya and company celebrate the power of heritage, resilience, and the transformative force of dance.
Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Nuevomexicano, Chicano, and Mexican American communities in the American Southwest. Choreographer Yvonne Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana, and an all-Mexican American cast of dancers draw upon personal histories and 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 largely underrepresented Southwest Latino American experiences and histories to the stage.
“I began to develop this dance work after my father’s passing; I felt compelled to continue his tradition of storytelling to my own child and in my art. This project shares my personal narratives of love, tradition and family which are grounded in New Mexico and the Southwest, where I am from. Many of the stories shared in this piece are not included in historic or popular culture representations of the Southwest or Latinidad. It is important that these stories are shared,” says choreographer Yvonne Montoya. “It is an honor to bring these stories to the stage. We are thrilled to perform the world premiere of Stories from Home at GALA Hispanic Theatre and proud to represent my family and contemporary artistry of the Southwest.”
While Stories From Home is a vessel for personal and specific tales, the performance also offers a broader look at a variety of Southwest cultural traditions and accounts not often found in American history books. In addition to themes of family, love, heritage and querencia, Stories from Home addresses historical themes such as the Mexican farm labor Bracero Program, the creation of the Atomic Bomb in Northern New Mexico and illness related to these U.S. Government projects, loss of language due to 1940s Americanization programs, and the experience of the Sephardim people during and after the Spanish Inquisition. The grounded choreography embodies these histories, embracing abrupt shapes and connected, fluid shifts, balancing movement disarticulation with a moody softness.
Yvonne Montoya is a mother, dancemaker, bi-national artist, thought leader, writer, speaker, and the founding director of Safos Dance Theatre. Based in Tucson, AZ and originally from Albuquerque, NM, 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, NC 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).
Stories from Home/Leyendas de mi tierra will be performed at the GALA Hispanic Theatre in DC on Saturday, October 28 8pm & Sunday, October 29 2pm. Tickets are $30 General Admission, and are available online or via phone 202-234-7174.