Being Good is OVERrated
This piece is about searching for strategies to peel the layers of guilt and shame from our catholic Spanish-colonized countries of origin.
Choreography: Diana Lara in collaboration with Joy Cosculluela
Light designer: Harry Rubeck
In 2017 I embarked in a new project with Philippine migrant choreographer Joy Cosculluela. We both have been reflecting on our identity as immigrant choreographers, performers, and somatic practitioners in the US. Discerning what we are here and now, brought us to the cultures in which we grew up. In specific, we have been reflecting in our common catholic upbringing and schooling in our Spanish colonized countries. Although our countries of origin are geographically apart, they are very close in the positive value that society place on Catholicism, the lack of choices to study outside of catholic schools, and the pervasive stigma for those who do not follow Catholicism rituals. We both share a common code of those who were educated in catholic schools, a common guilt and shame, a common tolerance for sacrifice, a common desire of wanting to be good and accepted even at the cost of betraying ourselves.
In the studio, and in conversations at cafes, we have been exploring the different ways in which we continue carrying the weight of the Catholicism in our body, and we have been trying strategies to peel the layers of guilt, and shame by writing, reading poems, interacting with objects, and of course dancing, and improvising.
We have concluded, that the anti-dote for shame and guilt, is in fact to pray for its disappearance. Something like homeopathic medicine principles: like cures like. So, we are creating the anti-dote pray-ritual, expressing in it in movement and stillness, articulating its content and rhythm, hoping to bring healing to ourselves, and to all those who have had the same experience.
We are creating the pray to forgive ourselves. It is a ritual to question why do I need to be good, and why I am afraid to be real, sincere and l. It is a ritual to call the ancestors to bring acceptance and protection, while we discover who we are without those layers of guilt and shame. Therefore, this is pray that culminates with a declaration of being good is OVERrated.
We presented an excerpt/work in progress of the piece at the Salon, Finnish Brotherhood Hall in Berkeley on Friday, January 26, 2018, at Noh Space in October 2018, and Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, FLACC, in November 2018.
Photos by Victoria Montero. Noh Space, San Francisco, October 26 and 27, 2018, and Yvonne Portra, FLACC Festival 2018 & photos from video taken at Salon at Finish Hall, January 2018