Stories from Home
“Stories from Home centers Latinx bodies, aesthetics, and experiences from the U.S. Southwest on concert dance stages, where such themes and aesthetics are rarely seen,” comments choreographer Yvonne Montoya.
Stories From Home is a series of dances embodying the oral traditions of Latinx communities in the American Southwest. Choreographer Yvonne Montoya and an all-Latinx cast of dancers draw upon personal histories as well as ancestral knowledge, including stories from Montoya’s great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, and father.
With palpable theatricality, moving spoken word, a movement aesthetic informed by vibrant ancestral and contemporary sources, and universal themes of love, family, and home, Stories From Home brings these largely underrepresented experiences to the stage.
The format and presentation of Stories From Home is flexible; it can be performed as a full-length dance work for the traditional stage; as single, brief solos; paired with a keynote address for conferences or educational events; and outdoors, on proscenium stages, in blackbox spaces, digitally, or in classrooms.
Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana, began to develop Stories From Home after her father’s passing in 2015; compelled to continue his storytelling tradition for her own child, she turned to dance.
Stories From Home is a vessel for personal and specific tales, while also offering a broader look at various cultural traditions throughout the Southwest. The grounded, sometimes incongruous choreography embraces abrupt shapes and connected, fluid shifts, balancing disarticulation with a moody softness.
The sections of the work -- solos, duets, and ensemble dances -- address issues such as loss of language, the embodiment of internalized racism, body image and beauty in the Latinx community, spiritual symbolism, and the experience of the Sefardim people during and after the Spanish Inquisition.
The cast of Stories From Home originates from communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico, and features an all Latinx cast, including Nuevomexicana, Mexican American and immigrant artists. This intentional geographic spread addresses the isolation of Southwest-based dance artists, instituting a community of Latinx dancers. The far-flung group of artists also allows for an embodied sense of the array of landscapes that are integral to the work. Site-specific creation residencies played a key role in developing Stories From Home, providing spatial and historical context for the performers.
Tempe History Museum | 2020
The Tempe History Museum’s Sunset Series presented Tempe Stories from Home digitally on October 6, 2020. Tempe Stories from Home was an evening of digital dance and storytelling that centers contemporary Latinx experiences while animating the city’s Latinx history.
The evening featured the Tempe premiere of three dance films from the film series, Stories from Home: COVID-19 Addendum, as well as a live dance performance inspired by historical Tempe photographs, and an audience Q&A. Tempe Stories from Home features work by Tempe-based dance artists Steve Rosales, Delia Ibáñez and composer Samuel Peña.
The MAP Fund
Yvonne Montoya is a 2020 MAP Fund Grantee for Stories from Home. She is among 171 performing artists and arts organizations grantees who received funding from all over the country in 2020.
The MAP Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Thank you MAP for your support.
New England Foundation for the Arts
National Dance Project
Yvonne Montoya is a 2020 NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant recipient for the creation and production of Stories from Home. She is honored to be the first Arizona-based artist to receive this award. Montoya and the Stories from Home team is very excited about what this means for Arizona-based Latinx dance artists, and Latinx stories from the Southwest being shared nationally. Congratulations to all of the grant recipients and finalists!
This grant is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Thank you NEFA!