Breathe Here/ Respira Aqui [Current Project]
Directors/Performers: Mirah Kellc Moriarty and Rodrigo Esteva, DANCE MONKS (Mexico/Bay Area)
Photographer/Videographer: Sebastian Esteva, Latinx youth activist
Sound: Live music, TBA, and wisdom stories from current and formerly homeless friends/neighbors
"When I was living on the streets of New York City, my body became my home. I discovered that the way to stay centered was to maintain a rigorous, daily practice. Dance saved my life. My movement training is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. It gave me the strength, flexibility, and endurance to go through hardship, especially as an immigrant." - R. Esteva
Breathe Here/ Respira Aqui is an interdisciplinary performance installation of temporary refugios/places of refuge designed to draw attention to the need for uplifting, affordable, and culturally vibrant live-work housing for artists and low-income families in the Bay Area. The work speaks to the need for access to land for food cultivation, sanctuaries of rest, and spaces that welcome creativity as a catalyst for change. DANCE MONKS created this project in response to the (intimately related) need for public mental health support and resilience training for turbulent times, exacerbated by Covid. They will offer live movement workshops and a short, magical realism film (projected onto public buildings) of self-care sequences, including self-acupressure for resilience, emotional balancing, and immune system support.
WE WELCOME YOUR SUPPORT! We are fundraising for this important project and are also currently seeking an empty house in the East Bay for the temporary public performance installation. Do you own a currently empty place or want to get involved? CONTACT US or DONATE HERE!
DANCE MONKS participated in The Civic Arts Commission study on affordable housing for artists in 2021.
Thank you to Berkeley Civic Arts (2021-2022) for your support. Photo Credit: Sebastian Esteva
DANCE MONKS est. 1999, currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the Xučyun (Huchiun) Lisjan Ohlone lands and in Yucatán, Mexico of the Yucatec Mayans.
Directors: Mirah Kellc Moriarty and Rodrigo Esteva, DANCE MONKS
Photography: Eric Koziol, Eye Lasher Films
Music: Laura Inserra, Samavesha
Official Selection at Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema (San Francisco) 2021, Essence of Embodiment Dance on Film Festival (Jersey City) 2021, and Festival of Latin American American Contemporary Choreographers (San Fransisco) 2020.
Made possible thanks to a Berkeley Civic Arts Grant and FLACC 2020.
Photo Credits: Eric Koziol
The Tree and Me (2019) was a duet we created with a large, old Acacia tree on-site at the currently endangered public space, the Albany Bulb. We began by listening to the stories that were held in the land while asking the question- what wishes to be spoken and what wants to remain in silence?
Commissioned by Bulb Fest 2019
Photo Credit: Edward Grylich & Sarah Lin
The Wall Between Us (2017) was based on a collection of real stories of families currently separated by the US-Mexico border. The duet was part of an ongoing interdisciplinary exchange between US and Mexican artists to deepen relationships and hold necessary conversations, especially during the political climate.
Premiered at the D.I.R.T Festival, San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Esteva Family Photographer: Robbie Sweeny
TLAOLI: People of the Corn (2016) was an interdisciplinary investigation of corn as essential to Mexican cultural identity; the mythical relationship between people and plants, traditional sacred farming, and agricultural rituals. The artists asked essential questions about cultural displacement and amnesia while observing the potential of the arts as seeds to restore soul memory. In times of forced or voluntary migration, what happens to the old stories and traditions that unite people with the earth? How can we, as immigrant artists and cultural centers, create a refuge or a fertile ground for this wisdom to continue to grow for future generations? DANCE MONKS initiated a series of Tiangis (markets) for Mexican immigrants as an essential piece of this project that continues to date.
Directed and performed: by Mirah Moriarty and Rodrigo Esteva with Sebastian Esteva
Made possible thanks to Doris Duke Foundation with the additional support of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
Photographer: Robbie Sweeny
NOMAD: The Blue Road (2014) was a site-specific ritual performance that followed the (now mostly) underground Strawberry Creek in Berkeley, California. In response to the California drought and current water crisis around the world, NOMAD invited the audience to remember our vital, often forgotten relationship with water. The event was also held in continuous support of the current international movement to "daylight" rivers in urban places.
Made possible by the Open Circle Foundation.
Photographer: Ambre Murard
Muru (2012) signifies seed in Quechua and endless dream in Japanese. This interdisciplinary performance included live dance, an orchestra, and video mapping. The work was directed by OIE Collective with Pauchi Sasaki (Peru), Jennifer Curtis from ICE (NY / SF), Dohee Lee from Puri Project (Korea / SF) and Zulu Tsuruyama (Japan).
Festival de Artes Escenicas (FAEL) at Municipal Theater of Lima, Peru.
Photo Credits: Edi Hirose
Article published in RPP Noticias February 19, 2012
Article published in Sonidos Peru February 22, 2012
Article published in El Comercio February 28, 2012
View excerpt of MURU
Star Rider (2012) was a site-specific performance on the site at Woodstock Public Library, NY created by DANCE MONKS in direct collaboration with their son, Sebastian Esteva (at age 9). This whimsical production was inspired by an original song of the same title by Sebastian.
Commissioned by the Woodstock Public Library, NY.