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Danzantes del Alba

Danzantes del alba is a phantom carnival which ritualizes the making of 36 festive costumes elaborated with hundreds of affective, political, narrative or unconscious material fragments. It is well known that many carnivals and festivals are celebrated in México, but there is less awareness of the many low wage manufacturing industries in the country. In consequence, this work ponders on how certain forms of joy are related to hard work routines. Danzantes is as a small dancing and working machine which travels through Mexico among migrant shelters, maquiladoras, prisons, abandoned buildings, small towns, roads and popular parties. It was conceived as an artistic investigation aimed at questioning the modes of labor exploitation in the twilight of neoliberalism; work, bodies, machines, lives and objects. Dancing and sewing are the foundational acts of this piece. Voices arising from stories and visions; costumes created as a tribute to fragments of matter and history. 

Rodrigo Parrini 

On the scenic piece

Thirty-six carnival costumes made with fabric waste in artisan workshops and small community industries appear on a circular stage. Some dancers animate these objects and unfold, as a continuous dance, the forcefulness of their materiality, their changing shapes, and the disturbing ambiguity of their presence. Danzantes del Alba can be considered as an essay on the intersection of documentary research and the construction of landscapes on stage. This research gives meaning to a representational system of imaginaries through animated objects that are loaded with memory. Its power lies in the strength of the dance and the patience of the seam. Dancing and sewing are genuine gestures of life in our contexts of violence. This work is a remarkable turnaround in the productions of TLS insofar as it moves away from the previous documentary works and enters into the ethnographic exploration of the gesture and the corporal force of the popular rituals and the imaginaries of the workers who, from their small workshops, oppose resistance to current forms of exploitation. On the stage, in an area defined by concentric circles, it is possible to observe how the happiness of the party and the melancholy of the maquilas are articulated with the horror of the hanged and the joy of the dancers. A baroque dance and a textile utopia that raise the humans remains to new heights. This open work is a choreography of ascending costumes, exhausted bodies, and sewing machines engaged with the limits of a theatrical landscape installation and a performative writing. By the end of the dance, visitors are invited to perambulate the final installation to incorporate their presence as the living part of the landscape. 

Context of the work

A Carnival

This piece began in 2016, while a few the members of Teatro Linea de Sombra (TLS) were in a residency in a shelter for migrants in small town near by the border with Guatemala. They organized a group of persons from Central America for the parade in a traditional Spring Festival and made two costumes of El loco de la danza specifically to wear during that main event. Those illegal migrants totally disguised danced, jumped, and sang in front of the astonished local authorities who nonetheless applauded the spectacle. TLS, along with an anthropologist researcher and a visual artist, recorded in detail the manufacturing of those garments as an exercise oscillating between the social and artistic fields.

Maquila, maquiladoras, machines

The Maquiladoras are low wage manufacturing industries that settled in Mexico to supply the missing workforce during to the Second World War. Those companies were located mainly on the northern border with the USA, escaping international regulations despite being part of the global market.

The other maquila, exploitation anti-devices

To elaborate those 36 costumes of El loco de la danza several artisan workshops and small sewing cooperatives were sought out. They included a home workshop of a group of old communist workers, the home of a Central American migrant woman who was earning money just to cross the border, a women’s cooperative who rescued an abandoned place and turned it into a small textile factory, and a collective of gay activists on the Guatemala border. Needless to say, these workspaces operate out of the regular exploitation systems. The text was prepared as free writing on the Carnival, the enjoyment of work, the relationships between the maquila and the production of objects with waste fabrics. Along with the male and female seamstresses, a textual surface was produced in which unsuspected correspondences appeared, running through the entire production, like a thread that embroiders and borders this scenic event.



Director – Jorge A. Vargas | Research, writing and dramaturgy – Rodrigo Parrini | Artistic ethnography and coordination of costumes -Yanina Pelle. | Artistic collaboration – Eduardo Bernal | Space and Lighting – Jesús Hernández. | Choreography – Zuadd Atala* | Video for the scene: Javier García, Jessica Villamil y Sandra Perdomo | Video Edition – Marina España | Video programming – Raúl Mendoza | Sound composition – Jesús Cuevas | Sound design – Miguel Cicero | Mask Workshop and Toro Negro – Toztli Abril de Dios | Production Coordination – Adrián Mejía | Production assistant – Paola Montoya. | Technical assistant – Adriana Flores | Photography and video in Topilejo and Ecatepec– Marialy Soto Becerril | Translation: Svetlana Garza | Executive production – Alicia Laguna | Image design – Carlos Villajuárez. | TLS Management – Patricia Díaz

Toztli Abril de Dios, Marisol Zepeda, Nancy Arroyo, Juan Carlos Palma, Gilberto Barraza, Ahmed Martínez, José Antonio Becerríl, Valentina Mazini, David Zambrano  |  Narrator – Antígona González

Agradecemos la colaboración y el apoyo de Canal 23, TV4, Haydeé Boeto, María de los Ángeles Castro, Angel Hernández, Philippe Amand, Miguel Angel Rodríguez, Calixto Roman, Norma Mendoza y al grupo de danzantes Otomí Xita Coorpo de Magdalena Bosha (Temascalcingo, Estado de México).

(Magdalena Bosha, Temascalcingo, Estado de México) Mario Miguel Anastacio, Javier Gaytán Ruiz, Areli Miguel Contreras, Maribel Morales Contreras, Miriam Miguel Contreras, Juan Carlos Miguel Contreras, Guillermo Salvador Contreras Encarnación, Jesús Lara López, César Lara López, Jonathan López Contreras, Luis Remedios Ursua, Luis Rey Salgado Domínguez, Alfredo Salgado Martínez, Juan Domingo Martínez, Alejandro Rodríguez Segundo, Jesús Rodríguez Nuñez, Janette Mendoza Sánchez, Carmen Martínez Sixto, Aron Rodríguez Segundo, Leonardo Domingo Martínez, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Segundo, Brallan Nuñez Segundo y Alexis Uriel Rodríguez Contreras.

Context research, elaboration and design of costumes in CDMX: Yanina Pelle In collaboration with Centro de Servicios Comunitarios Mujeres en Lucha de San Miguel Topilejo, Yoseline Bella Nava/ Juan Pablo Nieto Torres / María del Rosario Mora Gonzales/José Alberto Nepomuceno Granados/ Montse Torres Barranco/ Irma Angelica Reyes Batlazar/ María del Rocío Cantú Varela/ Oscar Castillo Torres/ Javier Morelos/ / Angel Yael Alatorre Ruiz/Josefina Serrano Crespo / María Erika Dominguez Flor/ María Fernanda Bernardo Campeche/ Regina Martinez Rey / Tabitah Valadez García/ Ceciah Roberta Valadez García/ Marcos Escobar Garcés/ Javier Duarte Bracho Rescate Coatitla Workshop, Santa Clara Ecatepec. Elaboration of costumes in Querétaro, Santa Maria Rosales – Honduras Context research, elaboration and design of costumes in Tenosique, Tabasco: Rodrigo Parrini in collaboration with: Club Amazonas Gay- Alán Contreras, Tenosique Tabasco. Realization of Toro Petate- Pablo Márquez

MÚSICIANS: Juan Rodríguez Segundo y Noé de la Cruz de Jesús.

* * Creator with interdisciplinary career, FONCA 2019
** Beneficiaria del Programa de Creadores Escénicos 2019-2020. Área Interdisciplina B.
*** Beneficiaria del programa Creador escénico con trayectoria 2019-2022 del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.