To see more or discuss possible work >>
Stories from Home: COVID-19 Addendum
Premiere July 15, 2020
Act 1: Each Wednesday, July 15 - August 12
Act 2: Each Wednesday, August 19 - September 16
Premiering on Instagram Live for 24 hours at @mpaproject1. Series recordings will be available on Patreon for future viewing. To join Patreon, click here.
Stories From Home was originally scheduled to premiere on stage and in person on Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage this September; this engagement has been postponed and will be rescheduled for the 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. She also identified ideological parallels with her 2016 piece Motherhood and the Performing Arts, a solo work that explored the joys and challenges of parenthood and a performing arts career, as her work as an artist was suddenly combined with new responsibilities as a home school educator. These ideas and circumstances were the catalyst for Stories From Home: COVID-19 Addendum.
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 act 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 work-in-progress dances, choreographed by Montoya, that feature the dancers’ stories from home during the time of COVID-19.
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 homebound. 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.
The MPA Project
The Motherhood and the Performing Arts (MPA) Project is a reflection of the challenges and joys of juggling motherhood and a career in the performing arts. The MPA Project encompasses 3 components: 1) the dance film Reflections, a collaboration with film maker Dominic AZ Bonuccelli, 2) a blog, and 3) a handmade upcycled earring collection.
For more information about the MPA Project, visit www.mpaproject.com
Safos Dance Theatre
Yvonne Montoya is a co-founder and founding Artistic/Executive Director of Safos Dance Theatre, a non-profit, multi-disciplinary performing arts organization based in Tucson, AZ. Since 2009, Montoya directed and produced six showcases for Safos, led six arts education residencies for youth and seniors, and staged 17 new pieces of choreography. Under her direction, Safos won the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Lumie Award for Emerging Organization in 2015.
For more information about Safos, visit www.safosdance.org
Yvonne Montoya, along with M. Jenea Sánchez, Isis América Tovar, Ammi Robles, Paula Ortega, Xanthia Walker, Rising Youth Theater, Border Arts Corridor and Safos Dance Theatre comprise Las Fronterizas ensemble. Las Fronterizas Ensemble engages the communities of Douglas, AZ, and Agua Prieta, SON to develop a public performance that blends dance, music and theatre, presented on both sides of the US/ Mexico border fence. The ensemble is made up of youth and adult artists from Arizona, USA and Sonora, MEX. Las Fronterizas have participated in border exchanges with artists at the Mexican/Guatemalan border.
They will present "Mis amores fronterizos," October 17, 2020 in Douglas/Agua Prieta.
Color the Mural
Dancing the Mural
Color the Mural/Dancing the Mural was a two-year community based multidisciplinary arts project that took place in the City of South Tucson, 2013-2015. A brain child of Yvonne Montoya, Color the mural included 264 community members who voted on the theme and design of the mural, 290 community painters from ages 0-88 , and over 30 visual and performing artists, arts administrators, community members, donors, and volunteers worked on the project. Under Montoya’s direction, choreographers created seven new pieces of choreography inspired by the images of the mural.
For more information about this project, visit www.safosdance.org/color