ANDARES emerged in 2014 from an investigation by Artistic Director Anne Bluethenthal into the personal, corporeal, and geo-political dimensions of forgiveness. During Bluethenthal’s research, colleague and cultural geographer Luz Mena brought forward complex and compelling stories from her birthplace, El Salvador. The country—still reeling from the brutal years of civil war in the 80’s—was seeing a nascent movement of historical memory, arising in the presence of their first left wing government since the war. The importance of this historical moment, reflected in the lifting of this 30+ year silence around the thousands of disappeared and the crimes against humanity—which were sanctioned and supported in part by the US government—brought Bluethenthal and Mena to El Salvador. Averse to using these vivid and powerful stories without the voice and presence of those stories’ tellers, the artists intended to talk with survivors in person and explore any potential project that may emerge.
It was during this first exploratory trip to San Salvador, that Bluethenthal and Mena met the 6 extraordinary individuals—artists, activists, survivors—that would become the co-creators of ANDARES: Godofredo Echeverría, Roberto Gómez, Mauricio López Guillén, Patricia Morales, René Muñoz, Ennio Antonio Sol Guerrero.
PHASE ONE: ANDARES, San Francisco
Following that initial trip to El Salvador, Bluethenthal and Mena returned 4 times in 2014-15, engaging in progressively deeper dialogue, storytelling, and art-making. The aim was to create a performance work grounded in the stories of these 6 collaborators, and formed around the music composed by the musicians among them. Presented by the SF International Arts Festival, ABD brought all 6 co-creators to San Francisco in May 2015 for a weekend of performances with ABD dancers, actors, and designers. This was the first time these stories had been spoken publicly… [Anne Bluethenthal, Nick Brentley, Roxana Damas, Rama Mahesh Hall, Noah James, Andreina Maldonado, Malena Mayorga, Luz Mena, Ricky Saenz, Frances Sedayao, Keisha Turner, Malena Mayorga, Adele Prandini, Cassandra Carpenter, Victor Cartagena, Deirdre Visser, Alejandro Acosta, Allen Wilner]
PHASE TWO: ANDARES, El Salvador
Their dream was always to take ANDARES to El Salvador, so in June 2016, Mena and Bluethenthal met with Silvia Elena Regalado, the Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia of El Salvador to propose the project. To their great honor and delight, she shared their belief in the importance of the project for the country, and she invited them to set the piece on the National Dance Company of ES, presenting the work in 2017 in the National Theater of El Salvador. The dream was to become a reality! Over the next 9 months Anne and Luz held 5 residencies in San Salvador, auditioned and hired local actors and musicians, designers and documentarians, re-translated the work back to its original Spanish language, and re-choreographed it for the ensemble of 12 dancers. In March 2017, the work premiered in San Salvador’s Teatro Nacionál to four overflowing audiences.
“Not only was the work more fully realized and received, the response was beyond our expectations. After each of the performances, the audience stayed to talk to us all, offering testimonials about the war, the revolution, their lives, their loved ones who had been lost to war or disappearance, and the hope that the work offered by memorializing this important work as well as the ongoing crimes—ongoing due to the still unresolved disappearances and lack of justice for those who suffered wholesale slaughter, torture, and disappearance.” (Anne Bluethenthal)
CURRENT: The ANDARES Association
Andares continues to resonate in El Salvador as a riveting performance that shook up difficult truths and feelings deeply buried in so many survivors of the civil war and in their descendants. Standing ovations with shouts of bravo! and tearful thank-you’s after the performance showed us how much the reclamation of truth and the healing beauty of ANDARES were needed in el Salvador. And commentaries such as “On that stage was a live historical map of our revolution” assured us that our efforts to stay true to the events and feelings of that era had paid off.
The Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia, the governmental body that promotes cultural development in the country, and who co-produced ANDARES El Salvador in March of 2017, has requested a national tour of ANDARES. They have offered their continuous support in terms of dancers, venue and other human resources. Needed funding to cover other production costs, however, continues to be a challenge in a country going through an acute financial crisis
In April a producer from Barcelona met with our ANDARES group in San Salvador to look into the possibilities of taking ANDARES to Spain in 2018. From this meeting emerged the idea of creating an ANDARES Association to facilitate receiving international funding. The Association now has a board of directors and is in the process of seeking funding!
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A N D A R E S :
Haciendo camino hacia la justicia y la reconciliación en El Salvador
Directora Artística, Coreógrafa: Anne Bluethenthal
Directora Artística Asociada: Luz Mena
Co-creadores: Godofredo Echeverría, Roberto Gómez,
Mauricio López Guillén, Patricia Morales, René Muñoz, Ennio Antonio Sol Guerrero
Bailarines de la Compañía Nacional De Danza:
David Alfaro, Marie Campos, César Cornejo, Georgina Flores, Ernesto García, Guadalupe Gómez, Leslie Hernández, Belisario Llanos, Gloria Pérez, Alejandro Ponce, Ubaldo Ramírez, Roberto Urrutia; Maestro Eduardo Rogel (Director)
Actores: Mercy Flores y Leandro Sánchez
Música: Ah Chuen—René Muñoz, Ennio Antonio Sol Guerrero, Mauricio López Guillén Músicos invitados: Natalia Ventura (voz), Víctor Damián Martínez (percusión)
Escenógrafo: José Adalberto Hernández Cortez
Diseño de video: Ian Winters
Técnico de video: Alexander Claros
Diseño de luces y jefe de equipo técnico: Franklin Interiano
Jefe de producción: German Antonio Chávez
Fotógrafo: Miguel Servellón
To see the complete ANDARES El Salvador program click here
To help us raise the funds to take ANDARES on tour in El Salvador click here!
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