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Choreographies of Community: Familias and its impact in the South Bronx


Choreographies of Community: Familias and its impact in the South Bronx

Gabriels, Jane de Lacy (2015) Choreographies of Community: Familias and its impact in the South Bronx. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis documents the creation, performance, and reception of Familias, a performance project created in 1994-95 by visual artist Pepón Osorio and choreographer Merián Soto, both in and out of its generative South Bronx context. This strategic close reading explores and presents Familias as an exemplar and richly instructive instance of socially engaged, community-based art making.

By exploring Familias through multiple points of access – how it dances, speaks, listens and is understood / misunderstood -- this thesis reveals other narratives and paradigms for thinking about the work and its participants, and by extension, further engages with the creative process and production possibilities in the South Bronx. Reviewing Familias further with a curatorial perspective reveals opportunities that could strengthen other current art and community projects. In other words, by thinking about how Familias activates, generates, and replenishes itself in its creative process, this thesis also helps reconfigure how we can think about other possibilities in the borough.

Chapter breakdown:
“Bronx Renaissance” examines structural underpinnings of long-term economic depression in the borough and offers multivalent arguments for change.

“Familias and the South Bronx” offers further historical background that situates Familias locally, and provides insights into the artistic visions and curatorial work of its lead artists.

“Pepatián and the South Bronx” offers insights into my own practice, and how my experiences and creative grappling with the making of Familias, together with my sustained participation and leadership of alternative art making circuits in the South Bronx, led to the creation of a performance piece: How I Became a Boogie-Down Rican.

“Familias” provides four distinct perspectives into the work with interludes to further underscore the impact of performing arts and organizations in the borough. This writing approach with performance and curatorial work as research-site offers material far beyond existing reviews, articles and video documentation.

“How I Became a Boogie-Down Rican” explores the performance work of an experientially informed, next-level socially engaged, community-based practice from my experiences in the borough.

An engagement with Familias shows how the artists’ work and their way of working offer a local legacy of impact that continues to inspire.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gabriels, Jane de Lacy
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:January 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Manning, Erin
ID Code:980000
Deposited By: Jane De Lacey Gabriels
Deposited On:16 Jul 2015 14:54
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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