Sam Arrow and Rogelio Lopez are two artists sharing work at Queer Mvmnt Fest! Sam will show a dance film as part of our Film Screening, as well as offer a workshop. Rogelio will be sharing his latest live performance work, Entre Despierto y Dormido on Friday and Saturday of the festival.
Sam Arrow (They/Them/Theirs) is a Phoenix dance artist creating work that feels both personal and universal. Their art centers on family needs within ableist, heteronormative, oppressive structures. They are a micro activist who draws on their life as a parent and partner, and knowledge about the human body to empower those around them.
Rogelio Lopez is currently the director of the MFA in Dance at St. Mary’s College of Moraga and teaches regularly at Shawl Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley. He holds an MFA in Dance from California State University Long Beach and has danced professionally for many wonderful contemporary dance artists.
We asked both of them a few questions about their respective roles in the festival. Read below to learn more about these two artists!
Tell us about your history with dance, performance, film, and art practice. How has it influenced your voice as a choreographer or teacher?
Sam: I have danced since childhood and I have carried dance with me throughout my life. My relationship with dance has been complicated, I think like many dancers, it can be an obsession or a passion, healthy and unhealthy, healing and harmful. I started in studios and conservatory-type environments until I found my own practice that centers my own experience in my body, instead of someone’s ideal of what my body should look like and how it should perform.
Rogelio: When I first came to the United States, I felt ashamed of my Mexican heritage and immigrant status due to the hostility and insults directed towards me by some people. However, after taking a Folklorico class, I began to appreciate my culture and ancestors. While I was proud of being Mexican, I struggled to accept my queer identity due to the homophobia prevalent in my culture and religion. Despite this, I pursued an MFA in dance to teach Folklorico but was disappointed to find that the school’s curriculum did not value this art form as a core aspect of dance. Instead, I had to learn Modern dance and Ballet to obtain my degree. This left me feeling like I had to erase a part of myself to belong in the dance world. To combat this, I created the piece “Entre Despierto y Dormido” to showcase my whole self – Queer, Mexican, and Immigrant. Through this piece, I hope to encourage others to embrace all aspects of themselves with urgency and pride.
Other than choreography/dance, what other mediums (if any) are you utilizing to showcase the message or purpose behind your piece?
Rogelio: I am putting all of my skills into this work to investigate the complexities of my identity thoroughly. I am using video, singing, acting, set design, costume design, Folklorico dance, cumbia, modern dance, and props, and as Ursaula from the little mermaid once said, “And don’t underestimate the importance of body language ha!” This piece celebrates and reclaims the parts that were cast aside and seen by others as not valuable.
Tell us about your workshop! What inspired you to form the workshop around this idea/style?
Sam: My workshop was created to combine 2 things I love, movement and educating people about their bodies. It is a movement based class that helps build awareness about the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding structures. I intertwine gentle exercise, stretches and listening to the body with information about the pelvic floor, how it is a part of your “core” and what we can do to maintain health in that area. I have taught this workshop and others similar to it for people who don’t have a regular movement practice. I will use the same information for this class that I have in previous classes, but based on the abilities of participants, I will modify the exercises for a group that practices body awareness. This class may include information about genitalia, pelvic organs, sex and orgasms. All of my terminology will be gender neutral or will address a specific body part without gender attached to it. Come with an explorative mindset and ask questions, I love questions!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future dance scene in San Diego and beyond?
Sam: My home is Phoenix, AZ and I am beyond grateful that this festival exists. This is my 2nd year showing a film but my 1st year participating in person (COVID prevented me last year). Sharing space with so many other Queer artists and movers is a dream. I hope that I can do my small part to support DISCO RIOT in San Diego and that Phoenix can embrace something like this in the future.
Queer Mvmnt Fest is in a few days! Join us for a week full of performances, workshops, and more! RSVP with the link below to take part in all of the events!