MOVERS & SHAKERS
Conéctate con nosotrxs and join the collective MOVEMENT
Conceived and Directed by Kiri Avelar, Descubrimiento: Voice, Place, Identity is an interdisciplinary, immersive performance experience that utilizes unique spaces to explore the borderless experiences between 1) community-audience and performer, 2) dance, film, and musical genres/mediums, and 3) the various cultures of the Latinx diaspora.
Created as a , this performance experience was designed to further provoke thought around the artistic, physical, and cultural borderless experience of Latinx artists in America. The performance unfolds through film, embodied oral history performances, interactive screendance, and soundscapes. These artistic mediums work interdisciplinarily across the Latinx diaspora to challenge the welcoming and disinviting, loving and violent images by which the mestiza’s body becomes known. The work emanates a nostalgia connecting us with our raices, bringing us back to our own stories, and all in relationship to one another - as audience-community and performers in diaspora. This permeation of borders calls the community to a third space, an in-between, liminal space that seeps through seemingly defined spaces and exists in their intersections.
Descubrimiento: Voice, Place, Identity premiered at El Barrio's Artspace PS109 in East Harlem, NYC on April 13, 2019. The work continues today through this webpage as a platform, calling for continued conversation centered around themes of ruido, mestiza consciousness, and Latinidades. This platform seeks to inspire, honor, and question space for Latinx identities to be expressed and includes content to both serve as an archive of the work, as well as to further stimulate the work through 1) an interactive gallery of photos and videos from the premiere, 2) questions to prompt reflection and 3) shared written, oral, and visual perspectives from the audience-community and collaborators.
Holding space to share our stories, we welcome ongoing contributions from the community. To connect with the tapestry of this work, please email
Bienvenidxs to the ongoing experience - que siga la conversación!
Descubrimiento channeled all the great beauty that our community possess - history, dance, food, community activism, climaxing with a platform of community response. The presence of the Latinx community was vital to the piece as seen through the gathered performers and audience members. We became one through our stories and strength as embodied through the dances and music that were performed. Como Latina, it is what I want to see, it is what I want my art to look and feel like. We have always faced the challenges of being the other in this country, not seeing ourselves fully reflected as a great people who have contributed to the greatness of this country. Being a part of Descubrimiento brought back the challenges I faced as a young child growing up in East Harlem and discovering that the Puerto Rican community held its own, stayed intact because our cultural riches allowed us to channel those resources making it possible to survive and thrived. Participating in Descubrimiento made me stronger in moving forward in the world as a dance artist. It gave me the boost I needed to continue to create and believe in the power that we possess in our diverse Latinx communites. Pa'lante siempre palante! - Sandra Rivera
DESCUBRIMIENTO encouraged us to interact and engage with multimedia and live demonstrations through prompts and a gallery style walk-thru. This experience was curated to have intersections on a variety of levels; attendees were observers, collaborators were hosts, performers were scribes, etc. In over a span of an hour and a half, there were shared happenings through musical and dance improvisations, food tasting, flash mobs and culminating with an opportunity to respond in whatever capacity you felt most comfortable about your time DISCOVERING, whether it be written, spoken or drawn.
I truly felt that many people discovered, uncovered, uprooted elements of themselves and brought them forth to the table. Creating space and a place to have multi-level intersections has felt needed for a very long time regardless of race, gender, class, etc.
As for my participation, it was an opportunity to share a piece of my artistic journey, my cultural heritage and my love for community within the context of claiming and showcasing our voice, identity and collective importance. OUR STORY MATTERS and the event brings forth how and why.
- Franchesca Marisol Cabrera
I am a Latina, choreographer, and dance educator originally from Houston, TX and currently working in New York City. It was an honor and pleasure to work with the other artists of Descubrimiento: Voice, Place, Identity. The project’s process and immersive experience truly provided a space for dialogue, reflection, and discovery; space that is rare to find and so needed in our society today.
Within the process, we, Latinx artists, came together, shared our art, our individual stories de nuestras familias, comidas, music, y más, and celebrated the many intersections we found, learning more about each other and ourselves.
Artistic director of the project, Kiri Avelar, created an immersive experience from our work together, that provided a stage to spotlight our discoveries, and an environment to spark and encourage conversation and reflection for all the community that came to be part of it. For me, it was a magical and important place to be, one I have never experienced before, one I long to be back in again.
- Michelle Manzanales