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Interview with Contra Tiempo

July 11, 2012

Contra Tiempo

Contra Tiempo: Photo by Tyrone Domingo

When and why was the company started? 

2005 it was founded – The company grew out of my work in graduate school – at UCLA where I was exploring how Salsa could be used as a metaphor for social and political resistance. I was trying to figure out how to create work that embodied my hybridized experience growing up – cross culturally and with a strong social justice background. I was interested in the ways in which dance could be both subversive and entertaining.

What’s the underlying philosophy and purpose of Contra Tiempo?

To transform the world through dance! We represent voices that are not traditionally heard on the concert stage and by challenging, educating and entertaining audiences we bring serious issues to the forefront – issues that people would sometimes rather not talk about but are important to deal with… we are committed to using our movement, performance work and education/community work to challenge perceptions  – racially, culturally, socio-economically and across gender lines!

Has this changed since the company was first founded?

Not really – more it has just gotten clearer and stronger and better articulated! We started with this purpose and are only more passionate about the importance and impact of our work.

What is your favorite piece of choreography to date?

I feel most proud of “Full Still Hungry’ which is our newest piece – I continue to evolve as a choreographer and the company continues to evolve and I feel like the most recent work reflects more accurately this idea of “Urban Latin Dance Theater” – the genre that we have created – I felt so scared performing this work at the premiere – which made me realize that I was doing something right as an artist.

Briefly tell us about the pieces in your upcoming shows, “BIG! WORLD! FUN!” and “Son of the Drum.”

BIG!WORLD!FUN! is all about families and community building with youth and their parents/families – this show will be a series of smaller pieces and experts of longer piece – showing the range of the co. and also educating the audience about the different kinds of dances we work with – from the traditional to the contemporary. There will be a lot of audience involvement and the dancers will even come into the audience to dance with them! It will be a fast paced, fun show!

Son of the Drum will be less of a typical CONTRA-TIEMPO show and more of an opportunity for our dancers to respond to an amazing new sounds of CubHop – which is Cuban fused/influenced hip hop- like we are creating a new dance genre – the producers of Son of the Drum are creating a new musical genre – so having us come together on stage will prove to be an exciting night!

What do you hope to evoke in your audience at “BIG! WORLD! FUN!” and “Son of the Drum?”

Our goal is always to inspire and uplift  our audiences – to leave them wanting more and thinking about things in a different way!

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you like to see for Contra Tiempo in the future?

I would like to see us have  an Arts Center – a place where people are welcome -to  all people – all levels, ages, cultural backgrounds, abilities etc etc. I see our company salarying our artists, providing them healthcare and a sustainable future; hiring a strong and dynamic staff to help implement our powerful arts programs and help us to book more tours and performance engagements to share our work more widely. I see us performing in incredible venues and our work is seen as innovative and masterful. We are respected one of the most dynamic and cutting edge dance companies. I see other dance companies coming up – imitating our work – that we create a legacy of this kind of work…

Any words of advice or inspiration for other dancers?

Never let anyone tell you you can’t – you can do anything you decide you can do. Also study a variety of forms and become a versatile dancer because it will make you more masterful of your craft! Intern and apprentice with companies that you are inspired by – to develop relationships and for the experience!

To purchase tickets, visit:

One Comment leave one →
  1. caityrosey permalink
    July 12, 2012 6:40 am

    Good thing she’s not wearing higher heels. It could be just the perspective of the photo, but that foot looks pretty close to her head 🙂

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