1. Can you tell us about your QAF funded project?
B’ALAM AJPU: Jaguar Warrior is part of the educational programming of EAGLE/ CONDOR/SWAP/PROGRAM. AYCE -Abya Yala Cultural Exchange- An exchange of the tribes from the south with the North, designed to raise awareness and visibility of Indigenous Cultures at urban environments. A regenerative local and international cultural Indigenous swap or trueque involving: educational outreach, creative development workshops and artistic exchange.
Coopdanza, Inc is partnering with Tz’utu Kan a Mayan storyteller and musician from Guatemaya. The piece has the flexibility to serve children audiences in a Lecture Demonstration format. The first 60-minute a mix of music, story telling, dance and video. (Children Program) and with an additional 30 minute segment: RESTORING THE BALANCE: an integrational collective gathering of tribal food sovereignty to educate, share, exchange and celebrate life, where the community bring seeds, grains, fruits, traditional objects and symbols to offer in the best Aztec/Mexica/Mayan sacred dance tradition. Specific dates to premiere this work are still to be decided, most probable before the school year ends. There’s 3 venues in Queens as potential hosts: Queens Museum, Flushing Town Hall and Terraza 7.
2. How do you think this project will impact the community?
We are now a global village and all communities have common causes. One of them: the self-sufficiency in food and seeds. We are supporting multiple events of this kind by tribal and grass-roots organizations all over the world, we would like to support this cause with our artistic work. The struggle against Free Trade Agreements supported by governments and transnational food companies with GMO’s manipulation of our food supply has generated a junk food epidemic in USA and now in Latino America. The consumption of maize products started to decline in Mexico for the first time in history. In Colombia peasants were forbidden and prosecuted by the national army to plant their own local rice seeds and forced to buy Monsanto’s products and seeds. The protection of our traditional food and seeds is part of all our environmental advocacy! This exchanges and exposure will give us a great opportunity to share stories, to raise awareness, to build community, as healing medicine, and for empowerment.
3. How has QCA been helpful in the grant process?
Very helpful so far and we hope to be able to increase our network and really get to present and share with all audiences: B’alam Ajpu.
4. Here is your chance, what do you want everyone to know about your organization?
Coopdanza, Inc, is an interdisciplinary art, media and educational organization founded by Cristina Cortes to build a contemporary voice inspired on the wisdom of the Indigenous people of the Americas. We produce dance and multimedia experiences engaging in local and international collaborations to create performances, artistic residencies, lecture demonstrations, exhibitions, installations and public education programs. Between 2006 and 2016 we have been coproducing and learning in a “journey of cross cultural empowerment” with indigenous communities in US and South America. Coopdanza wants to create an impact on a multicultural and inter-generational population. Our projects aim to share indigenous wisdom and spirituality from pre-colonial sources, offering and finding new ways for self-sufficiency and cultural survival. This is the goal of our educational, artistic, creative activities and the message we want to spread.