Sunday, April 10, 2005

Las Manas in the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival 5/11

Las Manas are performing in the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival on Wednesday May 11, 2005 at the Brava Theater in San Francisco Check it out!

Once again Youth Speaks, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, La Pena Cultural Center and The New York Hip-Hop Theater Festival are teaming up to produce the First Annual Bay Area Hip-Hop Theater Festival. For the period of May 3-May 15, 2005 Hip Hop’s best and brightest actors, playwrights, dancers and performers will gather in the Bay Area to present pieces, plays, monologues and stories from all over the world.

Las Manas was created out of the need for these women to find a supportive space to nurture their creative spirits. Individually these women are accomplished in their own right but as Las Manas they are able to take their creativity to new heights using sisterhood and storytelling to inspire this collaborative piece "La Ofrenda/The Offering" that delves in pain, injustice, love, family, community, identity to conjure a potent potion to fend off the plague of self sabotage.

Gina is originally from Los Angeles but has been bringing the Bay Area spoken word circuits her own fuerte flavor for the past eight years. In addition Gina has danced with numerous Afro-Caribbean performance groups including appearing on a Brazilian samba float in San Francisco’s Carnival last year and dancing in Cheo Rojas’ Afro-Cuban dance company Odduarra. Gina is a full time attorney at the Eviction Defense working for tenants’ rights. Through her artistic, professional and creative endeavors, Gina is committed to social justice and empowerment in urban communities.

A native Californian of Mexican and Japanese descent, Marisa is an experienced community advocate, and has worked for human rights and social justice organizations both nationally and internationally. She has worked against domestic violence and poverty in various nonprofit organizations, and completed a degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. A dedicated believer in the power of building community as a tool for social change, she is the recipient of several awards and research grants for her work on issues of social and racial justice, including the Ford Mellon Research Grant, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and the Rappaport Institute Fellowship. She is new to the spoken word scene, and performs to break her own silences as well as the silences around her.

Maya is a Guatemalan poet, journalist and the people’s documentarian. Recently, she co produced her first documentary “Reading Between the Rhymes” about the use of hip-hop in education. Maya is a fervent advocate for immigrant rights and works with the National Conference for Community and Justice as facilitator for high school retreats, opening hearts and minds to social justice and to ending discrimination. As the co-coordinator of the End-Dependence Spoken Word/Artists' Collective and founding editor of La Revista Santa Cruz, Maya enjoys organizing events showcasing artists who investigate and celebrate the intersection of politics, media and art. She has worked on several independent video projects and has also worked in public radio over the past 10 years, ranging from music director and DJ, to newscaster and producer. Currently she is working on video projects for non-profit youth organizations in San Francisco, CA and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Genevieve is charged with the force of the pen and the voices in her heart to express her emotions and desires through the written word. She loves to listen to the beauty of words braided together and enjoys creating that amazing space for others as well. When not writing to free her mind and figure out the intricacies of social interaction, she writes lesson plans and curriculum for 8th graders in oakland's fruitvale. She loves her work and labors to motivate her students to use their hearts, voices, and pens to express.

Growing up in Brooklyn Hip Hop meant anything from a Rumba in the park, to crowded dancehall basement parties, to Salsa and freestyle at underground clubs throughout the city. Sasha graduated from NYC's LaGuardia Performing High School as a Theater Major and went on to spent 5 months of intensive dance training in Cuba. She is completing the Urban Anthropology Master's Program at San Francisco State University, where she is exploring the relationship between dance and immigrant youth empowerment. Sasha has been working with young people for the last 10 years, teaching dance, cultural consciousness, Hip Hop activism and violence prevention. She currently teaches dance and Destiny Arts' Violence Prevention and Self Defense curriculum for Destiny's Teddybears (3-6 year olds) class. Sasha also has been dancing with DREAM (Destiny Arts’ professional performance company) and touring nationally since September of 2003.

Rosa is a teacher, writer, and visual and performing artist.Teaching middle school in East Oakland, her commitment is to nurturing young leaders and new voices.Outside of teaching,Rosa is a member of headRush, a guerrilla performance crew dedicated to inspiring working class communities through a blend of spoken word and teatro-style political satire. She is also a founding member of Las Man@s, an all-women’s writing and performance collective and belongs to the End-dependence Poet’s Collective. In 2002, she wrote and directed her first play, “My Camino Real,” staged at MACLA in San José. She writes to evoke spirit, inspire young people and honor her ancestors. Rosa has a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford and a Masters in Teaching from USF.

Cruz is a poet and playwright. As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley she studied and performed Shakespeare under the direction of Hugh Richmond and was a key member of the agit-prop theater group Teatro Manos Arriba. After obtaining her degree in English (poetry), she laid low raising her son (in true Leo estilo), until her passion for shape shifting attracted the divine light of the powers that be and for three years partook in the alchemy of Los del Pueblo Actors Lab, San Jose. While with Los del Pueblo, Cruz starred in various productions and was an acting coach, wrote and co-directed their final production at MACLA. Lately Cruz has been working with Las Manas, an Oakland-based women's writing circle that has been helping her find her vox in the dark. Cruz is a voracious reader, has a fetish for most matters academic and awaits many honorary degrees before she dies. Cruz hopes that her brujeria as the sexy hierophant she is combats the energies put out by skulls and bones but knows things will have to get much worse before they will get better.

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