By Sandra Baltazar Martinez
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Lovers of experimental and contemporary dance will be immersed in eight days of queer, unconventional, and kaleidoscopic performances, workshops, and lectures at the University of California, Riverside.
From Feb. 24.-March 3, UCR will host “NOT FESTIVAL: everyone&nomadic&queer&artist&la tino&immigrant&bla ck&other&everyone&,” an interdisciplinary dance and visual arts event that for makes its way to Southern California for the first time. NOT FESTIVAL, created by Assistant Professor of Dance Luis Lara Malvacías, has previously been presented in New York and Denmark.
“I wanted to offer this program to the Inland Empire, to Southern California, because this area has so much to offer,” Lara Malvacías said. “The audience will get to see and participate in thought-provoking performances, lectures and workshops that also have an academic component to them.”
Lara Malvacías if part of UCR’s Department of Dance, which in 1982 became the first in the country to establish a Master of Arts degree program in dance history. In 1993 the department became the first in the world to establish a Ph.D. program in dance history and theory.
Most NOT FESTIVAL events and workshops are free and open to the entire community. The multidisciplinary event aims to pursue a deeper investigation of the cultural, aesthetic, and social complexities embedded in the word “alterity.”
NOT FESTIVAL was first launched in 2003 in New York as an arm of 3RD CLASS CITIZEN, a dance, visual arts, and new media collective. With 3RD CLASS CITIZEN, Lara Malvacías helped create a space for Latino artists living and working in New York. This collective grew roots and traveled to Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and Lara Malvacías’ native Venezuela. For three years, NOT FESTIVAL also became a venue for artists in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Lara Malvacías, who has been at UCR for two years, said this year’s NOT FESTIVAL will focus on “otherness,” the idea that everyone has a story to tell, and the “longing for that something” felt by most people. In Lara Malvacías’ case, he longs for Venezuela and the life he left behind more than 20 years ago, including his childhood spent in grinding poverty. These memories include his mother’s ability to make flowers out of corn husks, of his father’s voice as he sang into the night, and of the dirt floors where he and his six siblings slept, often with empty stomachs.
This narrative informs Lara Malvacías’ dance moves, and allows him to pour out his identity: Latino, queer, immigrant, professor, dancer, choreographer, visual artist, designer, creator.
NOT FESTIVAL will also feature about two dozen performing artists. In addition to Lara Malvacías, other UCR faculty participants include Joel Mejia Smith, associate professor of dance; Taisha Paggett, assistant professor of dance; and Wendy Rogers, professor emeriti, will also participate. Doctoral students in the Critical Dance Studies will also participate.
Other featured artists: Julie Tolentino, Wendy Rogers, Jennifer Miller, Marbles Jumbo Radio, Joel Mejia Smith, Taisha Paggett, Crystal Sepúlveda, Jeremy Nelson, Kareem Khubchandani, Mariel Carranza, Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful, Thomas DeFrantz, Keith Hennessy, Jmy James Kidd, Luciana Achugar, Fabiana Marroni Della Giustina, Luis Lara Malvacías, Doran George (in memoriam).
Opening day (Feb. 24):
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Workshop with Marbles Jumbo Radio at dance studio Arts 100
Opening performance: Kareem Khubchandani, a Bollywood diva. She is joined by other performers: Jennifer Miller, PR, Joel Mejia Smith, and Jeremy Nelson. The event starts at 7 p.m. and take place at Performance Lab, Arts 166.
Tickets are $12.50 general; $8.50 students, alumni cardholders; seniors; and children.
To purchase tickets click here
To learn more about NOT FESTIVAL