Returning Choreographic Fellow | January 25 - February 8, 2018
Rosie Herrera returns to MANCC to develop her latest evening-length dance theater work, Make Believe, which explores magic, celebrity worship, and romantic love through the lens of ritual and religious spectacle. Looking at how the influence of religion during childhood impacts notions of romantic love later in life, Herrera will draw on her aesthetic influence growing up in the pageantry-filled Catholic church to create Make Believe, in collaboration with a diverse group of performers and designers.
Herrera finds inspiration in a wide-range of personal engagements with religion. Educated in Catholic school and raised by Cuban-American parents, Herrera grew up equally familiar with the tenets of Christianity as with the Afro-Cuban “voodoo” practice of Santeria. Not only are her parents devoutly Catholic, they were also briefly connected to The Way Ministry, a religious cult. She was also tightly bonded to her Tio Juanito, a mystic whose unexpected trance-like premonitions were revered by her family. This, combined with her family’s obsession with celebrity astrologer Walter Mercado, culminated in a unique spiritual identity rooted in a dramatic, however intimate relationship with the divine. At a time when fear of otherness is at a fever pitch, and our most intimate selves are shielded behind online profiles, Herrera finds her family’s rapturous search for deliverance in God and love to be in sharp contrast, even threatening, to a regressive and judgmental piety that looms over the American cultural landscape.
While at MANCC, Herrera will convene her entire cast, as well as dramaturg David Brick, Co-Director of Headlong Dance Institute, costume designer Maiko Matsushima, and music director, Oscar Diaz. Where in her previous projects Herrera has incorporated design collaborators at the end of the process, this project will represent a shift in her way of working toward a longer term collaboration, where set, costume, and music designers shape the work in the studio from the very outset.
A classically trained singer, Herrera has developed with her company a pre-show warm-up ritual of singing in canon, which has become yet another method of transcendance shared by the company. For Make Believe, Herrera and Diaz will further develop this practice at MANCC by designing an original score of popular love songs and sacred music that will be sung in canon by the performers themselves.