We had the good fortune of connecting with Alfonso Cervera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alfonso, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The idea to take risks was embedded in me at a young age by my familia and has followed me throughout my journey as an artist and educator. Being risky is instinctual, a habit, a choreographic approach, and one of the things I have learned to appreciate about myself. The concept of risk is defined as taking a chance on something knowing that there’s a higher possibility of “failure”. To see failure not as defeat but rather as a pathway to another possibility is how I process and dance through the idea of risk-taking. I tend to sip my cafecito con pan while moving through, around, under, up, in, and out of risk so that I can find all the possibilities that can exist within any artistic, personal, or academic situation.
In order to live in risk,I have to carry my ancestors, lineage, and my folklorico botas (boots) with me everywhere so that I can find grounding and rootedness to the earth. Living and traveling between San Bernardino, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maine, Mexico, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, and now Seattle, has allowed me to work and meet artists I now consider my familia and long lasting collaborating partners. Like this, I think life is meant for individuals to find situations that intrigue, challenge, motivate, inspire, and cultivate an understanding of what it means to live your best self. Risk taking has been a method of creating a unique lived experience while acknowledging and living through my Mexican American traditions as a means to disrupt and dismantle the politics that exist within academia and dance artistry.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being in a new city and the new Assistant Professor of Dance at Cornish College of the Arts brings lots of new modalities and negotiations of how I pursue my own artistic endeavours while also providing the best education to my students. Currently, I’ve been in the attempt to craft and share my self created dance technique to several communities and students who are eager for difference and for a diverse form that researches and acknowledges its ancestors. My research and specialization as an independent artist, focuses on the conversation between Ballet Folklorico and Afro-LatinX social dances in a contemporary auto-biographical embodied experience that I call Poc-Chuc. This proposal offers perspectives of how bodies archive the histories of Mexico, while also challenging the social and cultural politics that we as a community currently inhabit. Poc-Chuc technique is a hybrid movement research exploration and compositional tool that archives my experience living in the desmadre (messiness) as a first generational bi-cultural Queer Mexican American movement researcher. This technique is a mezcla (mixture/ hybrid) of release technique, Folklorico, and Afro-LatinX dance forms that challenges and invites multiple bodies to engage with the form through collaboration and the discovery of self. I find that my practice of Poc-Chuc intentionally works to provide opportunities of decolonization/disruption to exist so that an inclusive space can be formed for bodies in the spectrum of marginalization. My attempt to create this technique is not for me to brand myself but to co-create something that others who live in the spectrum of marginalization can dive into by imprinting their own stories, aesthetics, and desires of what a “technique” can do for them holistically through community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had teleportation as a power and the opportunity to be with my best friend for a day, it would probably be an adventure that would take them to all the spots I have lived. Beginning with doing a yoga session by Green Lake in Seattle that would then lead to a yummy breakfast at a Vegan Cafe in Los Angeles followed by a walk on the beach. From there we would most likely take a nice nap before venturing out to Janesville, WI to have lunch at Lark with fancy drinks that would lead to conversations about art, dance, and what if’s. From there we would catch a dance show in San Francisco walking downtown to magically meet up at a local latino queer bar in Los Angeles dancing to cumbias and meeting all the amazing drag queens.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s my firm belief that everyone we meet is meant to help us grow in this world. There is an exchange of stories and memories between one another that becomes transformed into energies that we then carry forward. This exchange doesn’t only happen with those in our present moment but it also takes place with our ancestors who are continuously helping us navigate this world. It’s rather difficult for me to recognize only one person so I think it’s important to name those who have opened their hearts and arms to take me in as their friend, ally, and colleague. I dedicate this to Primera Generación Dance Collective, Irvin Gonzalez, Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Patricia Huerta, Piper Morgan Hayes, Barbara Grubel, Maria Gillespie, Mair Culbreth, Pilar Melero, Joel Smith, Meg Wolfe, Alessandra Williams, Annanya Dance Theatre, Li Chaio-Ping, Cydney Watson, Steve Rosa, Justin Morrison, Edwin Siguenza, Vilma Ojeda, Jose Casanova, Maria Casanova, Vincent Calderon, Denise Cervera, and Diana Cervera.
Facebook: Alfonso Cervera
Bobby Gordan Craig Schreiner Robert Johnson Irvin Gonzalez