Appearing at the Bootleg Theater, the BlakTinx Dance Festival combines, celebrates, and presents phenomenal works by Black and Latinx choreographers. The festival will showcase 10 choreographers all with unique and profound stories to tell. The purpose of this festival is not only to showcase work by these artists, but also to provide career opportunities for growing Black and Latinx artists within the dance field. The BlakTinx Dance Festival first premiered in Los Angeles California in 2013 and was produced and choreographed by Licia Perea. The festival focuses on the experience of Black and Latinx choreographers and dancers by providing a platform for their voices. The festival has been recognized by and received grants from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs, the Arizona Commission of the Arts, and the Jewish Community Foundation.

Licia Perea originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, received her BA and Master of Arts in Choreography and Performance from the University of New Mexico. She continued to serve as a faculty member at the University of New Mexico until she relocated to Los Angeles. As a very successful dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Perea moved to Los Angeles with the drive to give back to her dance community by creating avenues for dancers of color. In 2012, along with Eluza Santos, Juanita Surarez, and Eva Tessler, Perea founded the Latina Dance Project; a performance-based group that supports the expression of the Latina experience through dance. Reflecting on her experience Perea recounted, “It’s relevant, it’s time, we have to do it”. The group was greatly inspired by companies such as Urban Bush Women that supported telling the individual stories of dancers of colors.

For the past six years the BlakTinx festival has been showcased at the Bootleg Theatre. The festival grew from Licia Perea’s vision for a platform that would cultivate a strong space for Black and Latinx dancers to be represented. Perea has seen a growing awareness for diversity in dance and knows that audience members and dancers alike need the opportunity to more dancers of color represented on the stage. Speaking on diversity Perea said, “People are looking for answers and viewpoints and I think we offer a viewpoint and a look into diversity through dance and movement”.

Because of women like Licia Perea and the dancers involved in the BlakTinx Dance Festival, Los Angeles has a growing and thriving community of diverse dancers and movers that continues to grow. Festivals like the BlakTinx Dance Festival offer stories that are too often underrepresented on the stage. The BlakTinx Dance Festival is a wonderful opportunity to relate to and learn from dance in a unique and empowered way. If you are looking for a provoking and engaging night of dance, I highly recommend attending tonight’s festival.

This year’s choreographers from LA are: Alex “Swift” Almaraz, Jade Charon, Nancy Rivera Gomez, Irishia Hubbard, Alvin Rangel, Rosanna Tavarez, Shantel Ureña, Sarah Yarrington

From Phoenix, AZ: Shaniece Brazwell & Angelina Ramirez

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Featured image: Nancy Rivera Gomez and Dancers – Photo by Adrien Padilla.