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Contra Tiempo elevates social change through dance

The Latin troupe focuses on contemporary issues with movement and music

by Karla Martinez
Contra-Tiempo (Against-Time) is an Urban Latin Dance Theatre company that uses dance and music to shine light upon social issues affecting our society.
Contra-Tiempo performs at Bovard Auditorium. (Photo/Danny Pan)

USC students and neighborhood residents filled Bovard Auditorium for a spirited performance by Contra Tiempo, an urban Latin dance company that shines a light on social issues.

“Full. Still Hungry” fused elements of salsa, rumba, Afro-Cuban, urban and contemporary dance, highlighting “the search for nourishment inside the all-consuming American capitalist juggernaut.”

With each well-calculated movement, the performance touched on food consumption, and addictions to caffeine and hunger. The society targeted by Contra Tiempo is one that is hungry for change and justice.

Though the focus of the show was food, Artistic Director Ana Maria Alvarez noted that when talking about food and consumption, one must also address privilege, race, class, gender and access to resources. The dancers wore bright colors and clothing to reference the brightness of fruits and a symbolic connection to the land.

“Food is not just the material I put in my body to sustain life,” Alvarez said, “but a web of relationships, histories, choices, decisions that all impact the world around us.”

Contra Tiempo, which Alvarez founded in 2005, consists of multicultural dancers and performers, some of whom are immigrants and first-generation Americans.

Spoken word artist David Romero opened the Visions and Voices event organized by USC El Centro Chicano and the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

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