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MP7: ALACI: Afro-Latinx, Latin American, Caribbean and Indigenous Performance


Highlighting diversity in performances from Spanish-speaking regions, this group explores theater as a tool to foster equity and social justice by analyzing existing works and creating and performing our original pieces to share across CNY institutions.

Open to New People

Active since: 2021

  • Syracuse University
  • Cornell University
  • Colgate University
  • Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Collaborative Goals

This Working Group focuses specifically on theater and performance as tools to address challenging questions related to racism, marginalizations, and social injustices. By prioritizing (Afro)Latinx, Latin American, Caribbean and Indigenous performances and their impact within Latin American cultures and the United States, we aim to highlight the beauty and intensity of these aesthetic forms, educate and raise awareness in our community and learn from each other about the wide variety of (Afro)Latinx, Latin American, Caribbean and Indigenous performance practices.

ALACI will have two specific collaborative goals: 1. To share and grow in our knowledge of multifaceted (theater, dance, other) performanc practices that highlight race, ethnicity, gender, and marginalized communities. We will do this by meeting as a group for discussions of specific existing performances and inviting guest speakers and performers with expertise in this field to expand our knowledge. 2. We will also solicit short original student/faculty performances from ALACI member CNY institutions that highlight diversity, equity, and social justice. These will be performed once per year on one or more CNY campuses in a type of CNY ALACI/PICS (Performing Identities Across Cultures) performance festival.

Our project is modeled after the transnational Spanish/Latin American short-form theater network Microteatro, which hosts multiple 15-minute performances on rotating, regionally important themes each month and also provides spaces and opportunities for spectators and artists to discuss and reflect on those topics as a community. Thus, the goals are to explore the nexus between theory and practice in (Afro)Latinx, Latin American, Caribbean and Indigenous performances and to promote critical thinking around issues of race and (in)equities as well as the crucial role of the arts in exposing and addressing these.

Group Organizers

Debra Castillo

Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Hispanic Studies, Cornell University

Gail Bulman

Associate Professor, Spanish, Syracuse University

Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow/Visiting Lecturer, Cornell University

May Farnsworth

Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Osvaldo Sandoval Leon

Assistant Professor, Romance Languages, Colgate University

Group Outcomes

The performances were incredibly diverse and focused on several important social topics. Some examples of live performances:

  • "122 Rows" by Mmakgosi Anita Tau asks the question, "Is there a way African and African diasporic people can envision a hopeful future instead of a fearful one?" This performance reflects on violence toward African American people in the United States from the perspective of a Motswana woman.
  • "Before. During. Still During. Not Yet After." by Mona Eikel-Pohen reflects on life, anxieties, and community in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • "E-Train Express" and "The Waiting Room", two performances by students from Cornell University and community members involved in Ithaca's community theater group Teatrotaller, present examples and food for thought regarding immigration and discrimination against the Latinx community.
  • "I Smiled as I Died/Thy Name Shall Live", written and performed by Syracuse University student Tara Sandlin, presented a poetic, musical reflection on gendered violence in the bible and in the present day. It explores women's grief and community building.
  • "N'ihu N'ihu: A Staircase to Healing and Marching Ahead" by Amarachi Attamah was a bilingual chant poetry piece in Igbo and English that reflected on the meaning of community in a post-pandemic world. Examples of video performances:
  • "Reflejo" by Salomé Egas reexamines the stories of colonization and evangelization of Ecuadorian indigenous bodies through a performance that reclaims her indigenous ancestry and moves toward healing.
  • "Speak Forward" by Sasha Temerte examines and speaks out against various forms of injustices, such as racism, sexism and other blatant discriminations in the wake of immigration and climate change.
  • "27" by Stefanos Schultz is a new-age performance video that expresses the anxieties of ageing and mortality.
  • "Pink Glitter" by Florencia Ulloa highlights Kubler Ross's 5 stages of grief to reflect on gender violence in the United States and internationally.
  • "Wonder-full" by Jacob Stives and Jeremy Shinder builds awareness about autism and showcases the potential and challenges of the autistic community.