T H E C O M P A N Y
CONTRA-TIEMPO is a Los Angeles-based activist performance ensemble founded in 2004 by choreographer Ana María Alvarez and a dynamic group of community artists. The company fuses Salsa, Afro-Cuban, West African, Hip-Hop, and abstract dance-theater, to create an invigorating blend of physically intense and politically astute performance. While their performances are consistently electrifying, what sets the company apart most is its unique relationship to its own community. CONTRA-TIEMPO is, much like the community it reaches, a tapestry. CONTRA-TIEMPO is an active and uncompromisingly radical take on the ways in which artists function within communities. Its members are immigrants, teachers, activists, organizers, artists and movers of all types living and working in Los Angeles. Each member lives and struggles within the varied and infinitely complex political and personal landscapes, which Ana María seeks to address in her work.
Resident composer, César Alvarez is a founding member of the company and also Ana María’s brother. He has collaborated with his sister on CONTRA-TIEMPO since its earliest incarnations and approaches the music for the group as if it were a new genre. CONTRA-TIEMPO’s movement narrative calls for a complete rebuilding of “dance music” using a sonic vocabulary as far-reaching and diverse as the company members’ backgrounds. In CONTRA-TIEMPO’s performances César deconstructs salsa, collaging Americana with hip-hop, poetry with clave, industrial and found sound with the powerful rhythmic traditions of the African Diaspora.
The company offers several large-scale performance pieces as well as community arts workshops for adults and young people that have been and continue to be presented in and around Los Angeles. In 2006 CONTRA-TIEMPO completed their second New York tour where they were invited to present their work as part of the 10th Annual NYC International Fringe Festival
Ana Maria Alvarez has been sharing her joy, love and obsession for moving in rhythm with others for over fifteen years. As a teacher, choreographer, and community arts activist, originally from the east coast, she moved to Los Angeles from NYC in 2002. Since then she has taught, choreographed and performed around the city including at UCLA, Highways Performing Arts Space, The KING KING, Summer Sounds at the Hollywood Bowl, Fowler Museum, REDCAT Disney Hall, Grand Performances, Carnival at The Key Club, and The Forum to name a few. While living in NY, Alvarez performed and taught all over the city, including Dixon Place, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Red Hook Waterfront Festival, Middle School 136, PS 1, PS 314 and HERE Arts Center. Before moving to Los Angeles, Alvarez worked for three years with the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn as their Dance Specialist. In March 2005, Alvarez received her MFA in Choreography at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Currently Alvarez is the Artistic and Executive Director of CONTRA-TIEMPO. She also works with the students and faculty of Seeds University Elementary School where she created an Interdisciplinary Dance Program for ages 4-12. This is the program that members of the company are currently implementing in schools all over Los Angeles County. She also teaches weekly classes every Tuesday at the KING KING in Hollywood and on Wednesdays in Venice. Her life long commitment is that all people have access to their bodies as instruments – expressive tools – voices – to communicate and create their hopes, desires and demands for this world!