ANDARES emerged in 2014 from an investigation into forgiveness, the personal, bodily, and geo-political dimensions of it. During Anne Bluethenthal’s research, cultural geographer Luz Mena began to share 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 historical memory movement, lifting more than 30 years of silence around the thousands of disappeared citizens, and the countless crimes against humanity—which were sanctioned and supported in part by the US government. Bluethenthal and Mena went together to El Salvador, intending to talk with survivors in person and explore any potential project that may emerge.
During this first exploratory trip to San Salvador, 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. 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
“On that stage was a live historical map of our revolution.”
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-yous after the performance showed us how much the reclamation of truth and the healing beauty of ANDARES were needed in El Salvador.
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
STAY TUNED FOR MORE!
A N D A R E S :
Haciendo camino hacia la justicia y la reconciliación en El Salvador
To see the complete ANDARES El Salvador program click here
If you’re not on our mailing list please do so to receive updates!