The state of Texas has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the nation and as of September 1, 2012, it is legal for most people 21 and over to carry a handgun without a permit. This law was passed following the August 3, 2019, mass shooting that took place at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing twenty-two and injuring twenty-three people. On May 24, 2022, nineteen young students and two teachers were killed by a lone gunman at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; a state with 40% and growing population of Latines.
Originally from El Paso, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Khayla Jordan Golucke is currently creatively based in both Los Angeles and London, UK. Utilizing her dance training in ballet, jazz, funk, and contemporary, Golucke recently created two very moving dance films, Angels and This Is The Border, that beautifully honors the victims of the El Paso shooting and honors the richly diverse cultures in Texas.
Set to singer, songwriter Khalid’s melancholy Angels; Jordan’s film Angels opens with a public memorial of flowers and candles along a chain link fence outside the Walmart Store in El Paso. A cast of 13 dancers dressed in all white to celebrate the lives of the twenty-two, needlessly killed by an armed bigot. The dancers, without even a hint of violence, excel because Golucke keeps the movement within their range of age and experience. Her choreographic skills shine throughout the group sections while showcasing each individual performer’s talents during a hip hop battle-like series of solos as the names of the twenty-two shooting victims scroll up the screen.
Throughout Angels, Golucke also includes scenes of Folklórico dancers dressed in traditional white dresses, a ballet dancer in all white, and a statuesque Flamenco dancer, Barbie Valdiviez-Schydlower, wearing a long black dress to express a city in mourning. Placed along the mountain tops that surround El Paso, Golucke has chosen to keep the movement for these mostly women slow and dreamlike, while giving the viewer just a taste of the beauty of that part of the country.
The cast of Angels includes dancers Alyssa Martinez, Andrea Pineda, Anthony Chacon, Carina Armendariz, Emily Miller, Fedric Enriquez, George Avalos, Jackie Ramirez, Khayla Jordan Golucke, Luis Rubio, Miriam Angelica Solano, Natalia Paola, and Robby Olmos. The Folklórico Dancers are Airam Jaramillo Reyes, Davina Heredia, Janette Garcia, and Liliana Najera. The Flamenco dancer is Barbie Valdiviez-Schydlower.
The Creative Director of Angeles was Khayla Jordan Golucke, Produced by Alexa Minjarez, Cinematographer and Editor was Alexa Minjarez, and produced by Bored Film Studios.
This Is The Border, produced by Alexa Minjarez, opens with horrible, racist, bigoted, and false statements uttered by Donald J. Trump; statements that were unfortunately given too much air time during his campaign and one-term presidency. Then we hear the wonderful truth spoken by former U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district Beto O’Rourke instantly altering the narrative. In less than a minute, Trump is forgotten and Golucke’s dance film soars into a celebration of the beauty and culturally rich city of El Paso, Texas.
Enhanced by the colorful cinematography and superb editing by Alexa Minjarez, Golucke’s very talented dancers perform her hip hop movement, intertwined with snap shot sections of local dancers performing traditional Folklórico, flamenco, jazz, ballet, tango, and other styles of dance. This upbeat dance film could also be used to promote the artistic and cultural diversity of El Paso. It is definitely a salute to that city and its beautiful people.
The dancers in This Is The Border include: Khayla Jordan Golucke, Fedric Enriquez, Kendra McCray, Barbie Valdiviez, Melanie Lozoya, Chloe Schydlower, Anthony Chacon, Ana Lilia Prieto, Kilo Austin, and Margarita Vargas.
Golucke ends both films with a wonderful quote by India’s civil rights activist Mahatma Gandhi: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”
To learn more about Khayla Jordan Golucke, please visit her website.
To view Angeles on YouTube, please click HERE.
To view This Is The Border on YouTube, please click HERE.
To view other videos by Golucke, please click HERE.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Angels by Khayla Jordan Golucke – Screenshot courtesy of the artist.