Photo: Deneka Peniston

Photo: Deneka Peniston

When experiencing paralysis in the physical body and in thought-process, it would be rebellious to start dancing. As a college student, I was failing. I felt trapped and truly believed that I would be trapped forever. For a very long time my hidden truth was that I was going to fail at life (we are used to calling this depression). There was no way around that thought. When I decided to pursue dance, against everything I ought to do, I thought I was going crazy.

As a Pilipino passport holder and with a US green card, (I have yet to apply for US citizenship), I was not and still is not good at being a national citizen. I didn’t adhere to my responsibility as a patriot of the Philippines, nor did I feel like  I had to join in the pursuit of the American dream. I was stateless in my mind although physically I reside here in the US and was born and raised in the Philippines. I am suspicious of how countries were made, which in another way can mean how borders were carved. I am dubious of the national spirit - that everyone had a common interest in forming a country. My ideal world is a nationless world. After hearing Trump's inauguration heavily themed with patriotism, I am wary.

I don’t have a sense of belonging in terms of nationhood, but I’d rather not belong in that aspect than blindly and fully participate in systems I don't have full understanding of. My rebellion is to dance against my family’s expectations, against the paralysis, and make dances for purpose of expression and self-knowledge. Creating for me is about excavation and revelation of my thought-process, seeing it for myself as it is reflected in the works. And from there with hope and apprehension, organize my thoughts and feelings to move forward as a stateless artist. 

Don’t forget the role of situations. If we don’t, we’d be deceiving ourselves about the real causes of human behavior.
— http://blogs.ausd.net/users/riversandstars2014/uploads/riversandstars2014/TheTippingPointSelection.pdf

Rina Espiritu is an independent NYC local artist with a green card and a part-time restaurant job. She majored in Dance and has a minor in Asian American Studies and Psychology at Hunter College. Born and raised in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines, she moved to NYC with her family in 2005 and resided in Jamaica, Queens. As a young immigrant in college she found her passion in dance and started her dance training in junior year against her family's wishes. Her debut work premiered at Hunter College in the fall of 2014 titled Pacified. Subsequently, she created deadlevel, the truth lies....the truth lies....the truth lies.... leveling trio and iterations of leveling duet. She has been working on a solo to exhibit her current movement practice that will premiere at the Dixon Place.

Her works aim to reflect the human expression of the inner turmoil that is felt when made aware of powerlessness and lack of freedom in certain situations. To finally confront the illusion of free will and accept the power of situations in some cases, to deviate from reduction of the self (if she was wiser..) into looking harder at the situation at hand. She's been fixated on finding ways to represent feelings of being trapped- in our own physical body, by the structural systems we participate in and by our individual thought processes. She is looking for a way out. She's very curious about bitcoins and how to be a digital nomad.


folks i've worked with

photo by Leah K. Amparo

photo by Leah K. Amparo

Keiry Abril (April) Amparo was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and relocated to the USA as a young child.

Abril was introduced to dance classes in 2009 with a New York Style Salsa class and thereafter found herself immersed in the communities of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue social dance. She began taking classes in Contemporary at Hunter College and participated in Hunter's Hip-hop dance club, Hip-HopOlogy, in 2012. She performed in student choreographies and repertory work by Marjani Forté-Saunders and Gerald Otte in 2014. She is currently in works directed/choreographed by Kareem Alexander, Jamie Lynn Chandler, Teresa Cuevas of Indorican Multicultural Dance Project and Rina Espiritu. She has performed in works directed/choreographed by Chloe Chotrani, Janice Tomlinson and Joshua Pacheco.

Abril is currently performing throughout NYC, recently in El Jardín del Paraíso, Abrons Art Center and Gibney Dance. She is completing her BA in Studio Art at Hunter College with a concentration in painting and holds an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She sees dance as a constant and healing force in her life. Abril is a Bronx resident.

photo by Gilbert Reyes

photo by Gilbert Reyes

Brooklyn native, Camilla Maria Davis first began dancing salsa in Brooklyn Tech Salsa Club. Enamored by the passion of the movement and rhythms of the music she continued dancing salsa under the instruction of Joe Burgos in the Salsa Mambo Club in City College and Piel Canela Center for Latin Arts. After several years of social dancing and dancing with Latin FX Salsa team, Davis began to study other genres of dance including Hip Hop, West African, and Contemporary forms. Davis graduated from Hunter College with a BA in Dance (2014).

Davis has received several opportunities to work with artists both nationally and internationally. She has performed in the Ticino in Danza Festival in Switzerland (2014), Indorican Multicultural Dance Project, Movement Research, RAW artists showcase, Sybarite Showcase, Upstart Festival at BAX, Dixon Place and Judson. Davis has danced for New York based choreographers Alexandra Amirov of Amaris Dance Company, Gilbert Reyes, Janice Tomlinson, Joya Powell (as an apprentice of Movement of the People Dance Company), Leslie Parker, Kareem Alexander,  and Rina Espiritu.  Davis  worked as the creative/production assistant of Marjani Forté-Saunders. She continues to seek and receive guidance from Forté-Saunders as a mentor. 

Davis  is currently exploring new roles in her artistic journey as a choreographer and teacher. She uses her time as a performer to cultivate experiences that inform her aspirations.  Davis focuses her work on researching and exploring ideas of religion, culture, and ancestry through the vehicle of dance.