Ongoing piece by Impropias Collective.
cuerpalatina* is a dance installation that takes audiences on a journey from separateness into a celebration of togetherness. What starts as a dance without interaction between performers and audiences becomes a collective and ephemeral fiesta. Facilitated by a host and three dancers, it lasts about thirty minutes.
The piece starts with performers wearing headphones while dancing to their selection of Latin American music. The host has gathered participants in a designated area, from where they look at performers. They don’t know what they’re dancing to.
After a few minutes, the dance begins again, and the host invites the audience to follow the performers. This time, it’s possible to hear each dancer’s playlist through portable speakers attached to their clothes. While performers wander in space, their playlists overlap, creating a mobile sonic composition. Immersed in this cacophony, audience members choose how to shape their experience.
The soundscape transforms again when a song starts playing from a general speaker. Performers gather to dance and explore the space together under the same tune. Then, they invite the audience to join the dance until it becomes a joint celebration.
cuerpalatina deconstructs popular dances from Latin America and reinterprets them through dance improvisation, challenging the strict gender-coded movements of traditional pair dancing. We strive to make these dances more accessible, foster creativity and disseminate the joy at the core of several beats from the region.
Concept & direction: Mercedes Balarezo Fernández. Performers: Yes Escobar, Paola Nieto Paredes, Daniela Pascual Esparza. Costume design: Yes Escobar. Images: Vitali Gusatinsky. Supported by: The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike). A 3-minute trailer is available upon request.
cuerpalatina has been presented at Finland Through Other Eyes Festival (31.7.2021, Maunula, Helsinki); Uniarts Fest (17.9.2022, Theatre Academy, Helsinki); the World Cities Culture Forum (5.10.2022, Amos Rex, Helsinki); and Y-festivaali (8.10.2022, Tiivistämö, Helsinki).
About Impropias Collective: Founded by Mercedes Balarezo Fernández, Yes Escobar, Paola Nieto Paredes, and Daniela Pascual Esparza in 2021, Impropias Collective researches Latin American identities from an embodied, situated, and feminist standpoint. In Spanish, “impropia” is the female form for inappropriate, for something inadequate or untimely. It is also a play of words between “improvisation” and “propio”, which means cool and street-smart in Ecuadorian slang. cuerpalatina is their first collaboration.
*In Spanish, a gendered language, the word for “body” (cuerpo) is a “male” word. Cuerpa is a symbolic reappropriation of the word in the “female” form.