Review from La Prensa! (Translated) / by Eryc Taylor

Eryc Taylor Builds Bridges Through Dance, Not Walls

Isabel Flores, La Prensa Correspondent November 27, 2017

Photo courtesy of “Yucatán baila”

Photo courtesy of “Yucatán baila”

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico: Strength, movement and passion lived at the Peón Contreras Theater in this city, thanks to the New York company Eryc Taylor Dance (ETD), who executed their most innovative concert at the XVIII Avant Garde International Dance Festival Mexico 2017.

Looking at the creative movements among the dancers who let themselves be carried away by the music - they made the emotions of the present audience vibrate, who enjoyed from the beginning to the end each one of the steps that took place in the majestic stage of the Peón Contreras Theater, Oldest and most beautiful theater in Mérida.

The company of Eryc Taylor is presented for the third time in the International Dance Festival that took place on 17, 18 and 19 November at the José Peón Contreras Theater and in the municipality of Chocholá. The repertoire consisted of five pieces: "Chaise lung", "The Box", "Song for Cello & Piano", "The Missing" and "Cycles". The entrance for the three presentations was free.

The members of the company that participated in the ETD tour of Yucatan, are: Nicole Baker, Chris Bell, Taylor Ennen, AJ Guevara and Alex Tenreiro Theis , all of them very excited by the invitation and grateful for the opportunity to share with the people from Mexico.

Before  the performances, Eryc Taylor and his company traveled to Yucatán to hold workshops for professional dancers and movement expression workshops for young victims of violence and abuse.

On this topic, Eryc commented: "We are very grateful for this invitation to work with the children of Chocholá and Mérida. It is a special joy to offer the healing powers of the movement to the minority groups of Yucatan. In these difficult times it is important to be here to create bridges through dance and not walls. Today more than ever we must approach to spread the cultural unity through the movement.” The idea of approchement between nations is also promoted in social networks, where ETD created the hashtag #BuildBridgesNotWalls (Construye Puentes, No Muros).

The company spent three days in the town of Chocholá, one of the municipalities of Yucatán, where they held workshops for local children, introducing them to contemporary music and modern dance technique. They also taught the children a special section of the "Cycles" repertoire to participate as special guests in the outdoor concert performance at the Municipal Palace of the city, organized by the UMBRAL Company and sponsored by the Mayor.

"It's the second time we're going to Chocholá and the experience is very rewarding. When we knew we would be back this year, we were very excited. We like to work in open spaces because we are used to being in closed spaces," Taylor added.

At a press conference, Mayor of Chocholá, Obed Martín Alcoce, commented: "We are very interested in bringing culture with high quality events such as Eryc Taylor Dance, to our municipality. We announce with time and invite the community to join these activities through the House of Culture. We always have very good participation."

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After their stay in Chocholá, the Company traveled to Mérida, capital of Yucatán, to work with girls from the Casa Crisal shelter, who have been victims of violence and abuse. The dancers used the movement as a tool to inspire and heal, while at the same time they serve to improve the physical and mental health of the participants.

"I think dance is a perfect communication language. Personally, it helped me a lot in my dark moments when I was young. It was a way to express myself,” Taylor shared. "Later, when I had the company, we made a video that went viral and many companies began to contact us to work on supporting different networks."

ETD is a nonprofit group based in New York whose goal is to improve the appreciation of dance and use it as a healing modality in addition to educating the public about the discipline through the creation and development of original performances.

According to the director, the company has three missions:

  1. Create and nurture young artists because they take the expression of art very seriously
  2. Develop programs for people who do not have access to dance. Currently they have 20 weekly workshops for those who are living in difficulty or have a disability.
  3. Support new choreographers who do not have the means to self-produce and demonstrate their talent. New jobs are created and small shows are produced for them.
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It should be noted that the Avant Garde International Dance Festival is made possible thanks to the coordination of the Threshold Contemporary Dance Civil Association (Umbral Danza Contemporánea AC), directed by Cristóbal Ocaña. "We thank Cristóbal for the invitation and we congratulate him because it is so incredibly hard to organize an event like this," said Eryc.

To conclude, Eryc appreciated his stay in Mexico, a country where he has great ties, since his mother was born in Cuernavaca Morelos. "Every show we do with all our heart, we want to give the best of us, and I feel very happy to have been in Mexico."