May 19, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Visual Arts Presentation Lab, SME 149

Ramon Rivera-Servera, Chair of Performance Studies, &
Joel Valentín-Martinez, Director of Dance, Northwestern University

Ramón Rivera-Servera and Joel Valentín-Martinez of Northwestern University will speak on the negotiation of border cultures, migration, and latinidad identity through performance theory and dance practice. 

Ramón H. Rivera-Servera will speak about his current project Exhibiting Voice/Narrating Migration. Focusing on the negotiations between institutional expectations and curatorial practice, he analyzes performance-based curatorial strategies employed in the articulation of an alternative to the narrative of Latina/o history at the Smithsonian, arguing for a critical engagement with performance as an affective and effective approach to the exhibition of latinidad.

Ramón Rivera-Servera is the Chair of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. He focuses on contemporary performance in the United States with special emphasis on the ways categories of race, gender and sexuality are negotiated in the process of migration. His work documents U.S. Latina/o, Mexican, and Caribbean performance practices ranging from theatre and concert dance to social dance, fashion and speech. He is the author of Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2012).

Valentín-Martínez will present about SOMBRAS, three works by Joel Valentín-Martinez performed by Javier Marchan-Ramos and Liz Zastrow, 2011.As the U. S. reexamines immigration policy, SOMBRAS aims to humanize the migrant experience, juxtaposing the glamour of Hollywood with the xenophobia facing Mexican-Americans in nearby California communities. To develop SOMBRAS, Valentin-Martínez assembled Valentín Projects, a collective of three artists—himself, Liz Zastrow (dancer/writer),and Javier Marchán Ramos (dancer). The design team includes Valentín-Martinez (choreography), Margaret Nelson (lights), Maria Edith Arias and Jeffery Hancock (costumes), Nick Keenan (sound design), and Peter Anderson (master electrician).

Joel Valentín-Martinez is Director of the Dance Program in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University, where he has taught since 2003, and Artistic Director and Choreographer of Valentín Projects. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Valentín-Martinez initiated his theater and dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya's Bailes Flamencos, Oakland’s Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. He was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) from 1990-2003 and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. His work Tlatelolco Revisited (2008) was recognized by the Chicago Tribune and hailed as “the most galvanic debut of the evening” by the Chicago Sun-Times. Both this and his Misplaced Flowers (2010) with Fulcrum Point New Music Project were commissioned by Luna Negra Dance Theater and premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. Valentín-Martinez choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (2009) at the Steppenwolf Theatre, and has developed choreography for the Joel Hall Dancers and the multimedia performance Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta/A Mariachi Opera in Four Acts (2008), which was performed at El Museo del Barrio in New York City (2009) and throughout California.