La Escuela de Cariño, Corporealidad y Artes Sutiles /
The School of Tenderness, Embodied Kinetics, & Alchemical Arts
Jan. 2020 - ONGOING
PHASE 1| Infrared Infrastructure
PHASE 2 | Proliferation & Cross-Pollination
PHASE 3|Global Heart-Centered Partnerships
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Follow Us on IG: @corporealidades.sutiles y IG: princesa_estrellx
La Escuela de Cariño, Corporealidad y Artes Sutiles / The School of Tenderness, Embodied Kinetics, & Alchemical Arts is a choreographic project that takes the form of a multi-dimensional space with an initial hub in a geography that has yet to be identified. La Escuela focuses and zooms in on the intersection of healing, ecology, ritual, choreographic excavation, socially engaged praxis, and Black, Indigenous, Queer, and Trans People of Culture (BIQTPOC). Infrastructurally, La Escuela supports a web of annual programming that offers healing-based artist residencies and retreats, performance convergences, international cross-pollination exchanges, 1:1 mentorships, grief rituals, somatic trainings, play parties, giving circle experiments, amongst other programming that is under development.
La Escuela is an architectural and shape-shifting space that will manifest in the form of a queer club, healing center, performance venue, choreographic research incubator, and land-based initiative. This plasticity seeks to reflect and honor the ways our identities as BIQTPOC folks is constantly in flux, adjusting, adapting, and responding to the conditions of our current white supremacist, heteropatriarchial, and capitalistic paradigm that is no longer serving the collective consciousness and health of the planet. La Escuela will physically adapt to the needs of the respective visiting residents and will partner with local and global initiatives who are doing similar work as a way to develop a wider constellation of care amongst BIQTPOC communities.
La Escuela seeks to especially welcome, center, and support BIQTPOC survivors of all kinds and to become a space where artists, activists, herbalists, healers, and other core partners/allies can come together to co-create alternative realities, paradigms, infrastructures, and technologies that serve to amplify our collective liberation, alone and together. Integrating global perspectives with more local Turtle Island (U.S) based voices will ensure that La Escuela remains culturally competent and relevant, is responding to global and local needs, and is actively in solidarity with other spaces through various kinds of exchanges. Additionally, as an AfroIndigenous creative director, I will invest and commit to developing long-term relationships with the Indigenous stewards of the respective land that La Escuela will eventually be based on as a pathway towards being and co-creating and embodying the complexity of being in right relation.
La Escuela seeks to gather our energies and from there we take the time to tune into what wants to emerge between us. La Escuela invites us to rest, integrate ritual into our daily practices, instigate earth-centered projects, commune with ancestrxs, heal and integrate inherited and intergenerational trauma, and inhabit our full selves through sharing and exchanging embodied practices and methodologies.
La Escuela recognizes and honors the unseen as a primary collaborator and frames choreographic systems as portals for reclaiming, re-membering, and accessing ancestral wisdom that colonialism has tried to erase. La Escuela manifests social change by persisting on pleasure, joy, generosity, vulnerability, intuition, cross-pollination, forgiveness, and actively erodes the forces of shame, guilt, and fear through our programming centers healing and slow down medicine in everything that we do.
La Escuela seeks to honor the power of subtle gestures and pairs this overlooked energetic constituency with more visible and pragmatic approaches to develop unique pathways for healing and transformation at all levels, especially the underground layers of our root systems. By turning compassionately towards attending to our individual and collective root systems, we will conjure a new paradigm that centers accountability, equity, reciprocity, generative dissonance, play, and social change on both micro and macro levels; the work begins at the personal / autonomous level and then become balanced with the power of interdependent community building.
La Escuela aims to be an internationally situated, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational space where resources and knowledge are exchanged with the intention of developing a long-term practice of being in right relation to all beings on earth, ourselves, and the earth herself. La Escuela seeks to eradicate all residues of transactional, patriarchal, and capitalistic energies that infiltrate our interpersonal relationships and relationship to Spirit / ancestrxs by affirming that our beings are enough, claiming abundance as our birthright, developing alternative economic models, and investing in experimenting with practices rooted in collaboration, resting, and creative practice as pathways that enable us to shift from surviving to thriving during this time of great transition.
We will celebrate, mourn, organize, dream, and dismantle the inherited conditioning and external oppressive patterns stemming from intergenerational trauma that for so long have kept us feeling less than and not worthy. We will slow the f*** down and listen to our bodies speak.
Slow The F*** Down.
Trim, Prune, Rest.
Rinse & Repeat.
Listen to the Stillness.
Dare to Rupture, Dare to Evolve.
Never Business as Usual.
Come Tessellate with Us.
I am a queer AfroIndigenous survivor and have been on my healing journey since 2016. This has meant doing inner child work through various healing modalities, body work, and choreographic performance rituals. I have a strong corporeal understanding of how potent performative actions can be and my goal is to share what I know with other BIQTPOC survivors. I aim to use my work with La Escuela to build a curriculum that centers holistic wellbeing and supports BIQTPOC folks with undoing inherited patterns of trauma that limit us from fully taking up space, loving ourselves, giving ourselves permission, and offering our gifts to the world. I am a visionary, subtle disruptor and truly believe that choreographic and embodied healing kinetics that center pleasure alongside tools for grieving are imperative for continuing the work of instigating social transformation.
My work uplifts the power of the earth and the unseen as primary collaborators within my choreographic activism. Our planet, lives, and the lives of future generations are at stake. La Escuela seeks to create choreographic containers that actively practice divesting from toxic capitalistic dynamics and reinvest in slow down ancestral medicine. This is the key to keeping our movements sustainable, accountable, intimate, abundant, and long-term. La Escuela asks, “Is it possible for all of us to have our needs met and if so, what are the conditions required to make this happen? What conditions are needed to make your wildest dreams come true?”
I grew up in Union City, NJ in a very conservative Latinx household. My parents migrated from Guatemala to the U.S. in 1989. We would attend Pentecostal church services every Sunday and as I grew older the frequency of my attendance increased as I became more involved with the youth programming. As I came of age as a queer Brown boi in the barrio where very few people reflected my queerness, I quickly realized that the word of God was being weaponized and manipulated to demonize queer bodies, my body. Sadly there was no space for me and I left the church feeling angry because I was being pushed out of a space where I had begun to develop a strong relationship to Spirit and the arts.
This forced severance due to homophobia planted a limiting belief in my mind that who I was and loved was shameful and that in order to be accepted and not be harmed I needed to compartmentalize and hide sacred parts of myself. It made no sense to me that Jesus would be okay with pushing me and my comrades away. I felt confused that spirituality had to be mutually exclusive to sexuality. Additionally, as the only queer person within my family constellation that is openly out, I did not grow up with the resources or mentors to support me with understanding my sociopolitical or queer consciousness. The energy of struggle was always present as was the reality of family members worrying about being undocumented. I felt that I was often left to my own devices, computer research, pornography, hearing stories told by my other queer friends to educate myself, and to navigate the harm I had experienced while growing up in the church. I am now on a lifelong journey of reclaiming the parts of me that were wounded within and outside of this church context through my vision for La Escuela.
As I traversed the church space and used my voice to channel sermons, I could feel a seed being planted inside of my heart where I would create my own church space where there would be a huge dance floor at the center; where I could invite all of my queer friends to gather, celebrate, dance, create, commune, and bask in our own presences without the imposition of any dogma or religion. Where we would gather, shout, and create the spaces for our stories and voices to be heard; our wounds attended to. This church space idea has since then morphed into La Escuela, which is much more multifaceted and not solely dance specific although embodiment and movement still remain at the core of my vision. In closing, my intention with La Escuela is to create a haven and brave space for BIQTPOC survivors, artists, activists, herbalists, healers, pedagogues, writers, farmers, and allies to practice surrender and co-create the conditions for thriving. This work can not be done alone so please join if you feel moved to.