La Pocha Nostra – Performance workshop

Workshop by Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Erica Mott, Dani d'Emilia Dani d'Emilia

Since 1993, Gómez- Peña and members of La Pocha Nostra performance troupe have conducted cross-cultural/cross-disciplinary/cross-generational workshops involving performance artists, actors, dancers and students from diverse ethnic communities, generations and artistic backgrounds.

During the time of workshop, two parallel processes take place:  For 5–8 hours a day, participants are exposed to La Pocha’s performance methodology, an eclectic combination of exercises sampled from various traditions (experimental theatre and dance, Suzuki, ritual performance, shamanism, etc.). Parallel to this hands-on process, the group theoretically analyses the creative process, the issues addressed by the work, its aesthetic currency, cultural impact and political pertinence.

If conditions allow, at the end of the process there can be a public performance open to the local community.

The objectives of this educational project are:

  • To feed / stretch emerging artists and inquisitive students, helping them to sharpen and develop their performance and analytical skills in dialogue with like-minded cultural radicals.
  • To create temporary communities of rebel artists from different disciplines, ages, ethnic backgrounds, gender persuasions, and nationalities, in which difference and experimentation are not only accepted but encouraged.
  • To develop new models for relationships between artists and communities, mentor and apprentice, which are neither colonial nor condescending.
  • To find new modes of relating laterally to the ‘other' in a less-mediated way, bypassing the myriad borders imposed by our professional institutions, our religious and political beliefs, and pop-cultural affiliations. To experience this, even if only for the duration of the workshop, can have a profound impact in the participant’s future practice.
  • To discover new ways of relating to our own bodies.  By decolonizing and then re-politicizing our bodies, they can become sites for activism and embodied theory; for memory and reinvention; for pleasure and penance.
  • To raise crucial questions: Why do we do what we do? Which borders do we wish to cross and why? Which are the hardest borders to cross both in the workshop and in our personal lives? How do we define our multiple communities, and why do we belong to them? What is the relationship between performance, activism, pedagogy and our everyday lives? What about the relationship between the physical body and the social body?
  • To seek a new hybrid and interdisciplinary aesthetic, reflective of the spirit and tribulations of our times, and of the concerns of each participant.
  • To empower participants as individuals to become civic-minded artists.

Concept: La Pocha Nostra (Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Erica Mott, Dani d'Emilia);

Production and organization: City of Women; Coproduction: Emanat Institute; In collaboration with: Old Factory Station – Elektro Ljubljana, Kreatorij DIC.

Supported by: EU Culture, U.S. Embassy Ljubljana