Samantha Giron‘s latest creation, “Aperture,” premieres this weekend at KUNST-STOFF Arts. Giron touts this new work as “contemporary-meets-street dance” and “electronics-meets-strings.” It also brings about a familial collaboration, that of father and daughter.
What: Samantha Giron Dance Project presents “Aperture”
Where: KUNST-STOFF Arts, One Grove Street, 2nd Floor @ Market St
When: Jan 13-14 and Jan 20-2, 8:30PM
Cost: $18; online
Giron describes “Aperture” as, “an oral history of a Hispanic American experience, which examines causes and impacts of breaking from tradition.” She interviewed her father about his own experiences as an Apache and Hispanic American, and snippets of these interviews weave in and out of the work’s soundscore.
Within the constructs of “Aperture,” Samantha Giron investigates her father’s experience of growing up in a low-income family in the Southwest and later being the first in his family to graduate from high school. After that, he left the community to pursue an Ivy League education. Through visual and physical investigation, Giron explores questions like what motivated her father to disengage from the traditional trajectory of his family, and how did his decisions shape the opportunities and cultural identity for her siblings and herself.
I asked Giron if she discovered anything new or previously hidden about herself when creating this work. She replied, “At the beginning of our project, I felt compelled to document and articulate facets of the Southwestern Chicano experience and ways in which it might be distinct from the American or Mexican American experience.
I was concerned with what caused my father to disengage from the economic and educational patterns and customs of our family….I also wanted to track how that shaped the opportunities and cultural identity of my siblings and myself.
I have learned so much about my heritage and intimate details of my father’s childhood! Now, I find myself less concerned with my specific cultural identity and more concerned with my love and respect for my family.”
Don’t write Giron’s quest of uncovering the her family’s past a one-off. Giron assesses the current dance scene, saying, “We are seeing more choreographers draw from the folk movement styles, fashion trends, and ideals of their subcultures….I see artists saying, ‘X is what is authentically of interest to me and X is what I know about.’ X might not be what we were trained to make work about it. But today’s working artists are empowered to step up and declare what is relevant subject matter and we are creating our own hybrid movement languages (of street, various forms of modern, ballet, drag) to fulfill on our goals.”
She continues, saying, “For a while, I think, we all thought art had to be about fixing something that was broken. And, art IS a very powerful tool for education, transformation, and social action. However, there is nothing wrong with art for enjoyment’s sake!
We enjoy a wonderful meal, go to the beach, go to the museum all to enrich our lives, and to bare witness to beauty. We do these things to be together, to be a community. It is okay to see dance for these reasons, too!”