The digital version of FUERZAfest: Queerantine FUERZA was streamed on Sunday, May 16 and May 17, 2020 - in observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. We packed all the greatness and variety of the in-person event into a spellbinding abridged virtual experience with talent from around the U.S., Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Our Dazzling Lineup
ANGELICA MEDINA (She/Her) and JAHAIRA FAJARDO (She/Her) are the Directors of In Lak’ech Dance Academy, in Oakland CA. They both share an immense passion for dance. In 2014 they met and fell in love on the dance floor. They soon after decided to grow as dance partners while training for competition. In December 2015 they placed 1st in the Latin Ladies Same Gender Division, at the World Latin Dance Cup. Jahaira made history as the first Bachata female leader to become a World Champion. In 2018, they returned to WLDC as pros and placed first in the Bachata Couple Pro Cabaret division. In 2017, Jahaira and Angelica participated and completed the Alex and Desiree Bachata Instructor Certification Course. They also had the honor to Direct The AnD WW ~Team SF Season One. In 2018, In Lak’ech Dance Academy produced the first ever Queer Latin Dance Festival, where Queer and Trans Latinx dancers are highlighted and celebrated. This event continues on an annual basis. In Lak´ech Dance Academy is the direct result of the passion Angelica & Jahaira share for Latin Dance and for their community.
CARLOS FALÚ (He/Him) is a dancer, choreographer, born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He now lives in New York city after filming the new West Side Story movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, and choreographed by Justin Peck. He recently worked with the choreographers Annalee Traylor, Javier Padilla, Dolly Sfeir and companies like Falcon Dance and BocaTuya. Started dancing in the college dance team of the University of Puerto Rico – Bayamón. In 2014 he became part of the young ensemble of the premiere contemporary dance company in Puerto Rico called Andanza and in 2016 he became part of the company performing new works and repertoire from Nationals and Internationals choreographers.
CLAROSCURO is a Puerto Rican contemporary dance collective, composed of eight members, founded in 2015. The collective made their debut after participating in Corpo Fest, a Puerto Rican dance festival. After the festival, the collective has produced three events, participated in two Puerto Rican residencies, collaborated with dance companies, freelance artists, and musical artists such as Buscabulla and Lizbeth Román. The collective has presented their work in Puerto Rico, United States, Dominican Republic and Cyprus. The collective’s passion for educating has led them to run creative workshops across the island through Puerto Rico’s own Cultural Institute.
EDDIE MAISONET (He/Him) is an interdisciplinary storyteller, teaching artist, and facilitator who is studying to add "dog trainer" to that list. He is a born and bred Boston artist whose 2017 and 2019 artist residencies at The Theater Offensive are collaborative storytelling projects documenting gentrification's effect on his communities. He creates hybrid poetry and prose narrative informed by his life as an Afro-Boricua, disabled, queer, and trans artist committed to centering themes of wellness in the context of disability, joy, collectivity, humor, and family inheritances. In 2015, he graduated from Smith College with a BA in Psychology. He has been performing since 2016 and writing since childhood. His work can be found in the anthology *Outside The XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity*, on the Jaded Ibis Press blog Scarlet and featured in WBUR's COVID poetry series. When he's not doing his artsy stuff, he's gaming, thinking about dogs or cuddling his 7-pound rescue Chiweenie, Twinkie.
EDRIMAEL DELGADO REYES (He/Him) is an interdisciplinary artist and student of the Humanities Department at the University of Puerto Rico. His work explores gender, urbanism and Afro-Caribbean themes. He’s trained in classical ballet and modern dance from the Escuela de Ballet de San Juan, Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Cuba in Havana, and has collaborated with the experimental dance platform PISO since 2016. He has traveled around the Caribbean presenting his performance work as a guest in conferences and festivals. Since 2018 he has dedicated himself to activism and community service work through art. Founder of LaBoriVogue (2020), a project dedicated to generate and support Ballroom culture in the island, sharing knowledge about vogue with the young LGBTQ+ community through public practices and events.
IRENE DIAZ (She/Her) Throughout her life, Irene Diaz has always been about The Search. For identity. For expression. For music and her place in it, and for a creative community and direction that best serves her mission. All of that can be found in Diaz’s songs and on Lovers & Friends, the California singer-songwriter’s debut full-length album which was recorded in both Mexico City and Los Angeles. With its captivating melodies and richly nuanced ambiance, it introduces Diaz as an artist who’s taken many paths to get to this point and is excited to find even more creative roads to travel as she moves forward. Lovers & Friends is, in effect, a new beginning for Diaz and a fresh destination for what’s been a long musical path. What began in 2013 with the I Love You Madly EP—and praise from NPR’s Felix Contreas raving “her sheer power belies her compact stature, and her musical impact is simply immense.” At the same time, Diaz is already eyeballing her next creative Way station. “This has been a big project that I never imagined taking so long,” she says. Lovers & Friends is expected in 2021.
JAE QUISOL (He/Him-They/Them), also known as, Joseph Quisol, M.Ed. is a singer-songwriter and cultural organizer currently residing on Catawba land. In 2016, Quisol began his music career by hosting pop-up shows and house concerts across Charlotte with Queen’s Collective. Then in 2017, he entered a master’s program called Art in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where studied under musical greats Vijay Iyer’s and Esperanza Spalding. Since then, Quisol spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area where he independently released his debut album REVELATIONS with his label Pop Industrial Complex, completed a series of national tours, and presented at conferences on the intersection of music and activism. Now back in North Carolina, Quisol is co-founding a creative community center called Echo Makerspace Center in East Charlotte while working on his sophomore album In The Flesh.
JOE MONTOYA (He/Him-They/Them) a queer Mexican actor/playwright is so excited to join "Queer-antine" FUERZA 2. Pre-Shut down, Montoya performed previously at FUERZAfest NYC in Our Own Odyssey (Des) and Modern Day Martyrdom (David) in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Other recent appearances include Arena Stage's Newsies! (Crutchie) and the Actors Theater of Louisville's Block Association Project. Additional Credits include: Les Miserables (Eponine) at the Schimmel Arts Center; The Table Round (Mordred) with Turn to Flesh Prod.; and The Merry Wives of Windsor with The Globe Theatre (US tour). Montoya has recently completed their first full-length play -"Orpheus Was an A**Hole!" - currently in development with Turn to Flesh Prod. They are so grateful for FUERZAfest and the Hispanic Federation for giving them a space to live their truth. ¡Gracias Mario Colón y amor para todos ustedes!
JOSE CAMUY (He/Him), singer and communicator graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. He completed his vocal training at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico. As a member of the principal choral groups of the island, he has performed in festivals and pageants in Argentina, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Hungary. Highlights of his work are concerts and lyrical theatre productions for the Symphonic Orchestra of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican Foundation of Operetta, Opera of Puerto Rico, Teatro Repertorio from UPPR, Teatro Prometeo in Miami, among others. In 2018, he performed as a guest soloist in the world premiere of Stabat Mater from the Italo-Puertorican composer Alberto Guidobaldi, and played the lead baritone in the opera Si me ven llorando by Guarionex Morales Matos. In 2019, he premiered in concert the first scenes of the opera Eva Luna, inspired in Isabel Allende’s novel, with music by Guidobaldi and book by Betty Kaplan. At present, he is a member of the board of directors of the Opera Theatre and the operations team of Pro Arte Musical, Inc.
KATIA N. PACHECO BÁEZ (She/Her) was born and raised in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Her artistic development starts at age eight in Andanza, a dance school, under the direction of María Teresa Robles. In 2011, she was accepted into the school Julián E. Blanco, a school specializing in ballet in Saturce, Puerto Rico. There her classical ballet training began. During the same year, she was accepted to the Ballets de San Juan School and in 2015 became part of the school workshop group. In the summer of 2016, the artist trained in the intensive program Cuballet, under the direction of Laura Alonso. Later in 2017 she culminated her studies with high honors from Julián E. Blanco School, preparation that helped her gain a spot as part of the Ballets de San Juan Company, where she continues dancing. In 2019, she worked as a choreographer for the play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, directed by Andrés Pacheco Báez. Katia, also, collaborated with the physical theatre company Polimnia, directed by Iván Olmos. At present, she is a faculty member at Ballets de San Juan, directed by Dr. Vanessa Vachier.
LUCÍA MARTÍNEZ (She/Her) is a writer, DJ, and musician from San Antonio, TX. She recently graduated from Harvard University where she studied musicology and composition under the guidance of composer and pianist Vijay Iyer. Also an accomplished recording engineer, she's recorded international artists like Jaden Smith, Billie Eilish, and Smino, and has produced for rising talents like Mia Madden and Aden. Lucía also moonlights as a DJ Saskia, as whom she's organized queer drag and techno events in pop up spaces in Boston and San Antonio. A Leap Beyond Earnest is the recording project of songwriter and producer Lucía Martinez. The project is an effort to blend bits of poetry, electronic music, emo revival, magical realism, pop music, jazz, virtual and non-virtual space, transness, and multimedia art into a collection of work that goes to places through and beyond the act of being 'earnest'. The band's first album: "Triple Star Fantasy: Unlimited" will be released in early 2022.
MILA | Zuania Yamila Figueroa (She/Her) is twenty seven years old, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, artistically known as “MILA”, is a cantautor, and graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. From her adolescent years, accompanied by her guitar, she has created a handful of songs embodying poetry in her lyrics. Social issues, folklore, love, heartbreak, life and other everyday realities converge with Latin American folk, folk-pop, nova trova and other genres, creating a unique and organic style. MILA has already released 7 singles and is getting ready to start producing her first album.
PABLO TESORIERE (He/Him) born in Buenos Aires and resident in CABA. Comprehensive director specialized in works with audiovisual and photographic archives and Fine Art Photographer. Film Director (Universidad del Cine, 2001). Professor with orientation in Film Direction (Universidad del Cine, 2005). Diploma in Audiovisual Restoration (FILO, 2018). Director and Producer of documentaries premiered in commercial theaters and national and international film festivals. He obtained the Cóndor de Plata and Argentores awards for his audiovisual pieces and exhibited his photographs at the National Congress, national and international galleries. His photographic samples are considered installations combining creative archival uses with his own audiovisual and photographic material. Specialty in Found Footage. Projects approved in INCAA 2007, 2010, 2018, in Patronage 2015-16, 2018-19 and in FOMECA 2017-18. Subsidy Metropolitan Fund for Culture, Arts and Sciences 2018. FNA training scholarship 2019. Finalist Itaú Visual Prize 2020.
RAFAEL V, CAÑALS PÉREZ (He/Him-They/Them), born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rafael learned from local professionals like Petra Bravo, Jesús Miranda, Denisse Eliza, among others. As part of the company CoDa21, he worked with international professionals Gina Patterson, Maša Kolar, Milan Tomášik and Fernando Troya. He has attended abroad training with Andrea Miller, Jenniffer Archidbald, Shannon Gillen Lipinski and Jonas Örknér. Rafael has an MFA in Choreography from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently a member of Boca Tuya. Additionally, he collaborates with the Puerto Rican dance collective Claroscuro, and works independently as a movement artist, choreographer, and educator.
SALVO (He/Him) is a guitarist and songwriter born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. With driving Spanish Rumba rhythms and Latin grooves, he plays a mix of Flamenco, Latin, Classical, and World Fusion. Salvo has played many private events and festivals as a solo act and with the duo Salvo and Hugo, including Brooklyn Pride, The Winter Concert Series at Planting Fields, The Camellia Festival and the Make Music New York Festival. He recently released his second album entitled Solo, -- a one man album composed, performed, recorded and mixed in quarantine. While living in Los Angeles, he performed original pieces and Flamenco music with The Vault Theater Ensemble at the Los Angeles Theater Center. He also accompanied the Duarte Dance Company and played in the band Cuñao. Salvo comes to FUERZAfest to play a song off of his new album Solo, with Spanish, Flamenco, Latin and Folk grooves!
STEVEN JAMES RODRÍGUEZ VELEZ (He/Him) was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. He started his first practice of movement while studying martial arts in his hometown. After becoming a black belt at the age of 13, Steven discovered his passion for movement and transitioned to dance. In 2004 he was accepted to the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus to study Dance and Theater. Steven discovered his passion for contemporary dance while working under Petra Bravo, founder of the company HINCAPIE. He joined HINCAPIE and was given the opportunity to dance in the festival, Fiestas Coreográficas, in pieces by Petra Bravo, Norberto Collazo, Viveca Vazquez, as well as his own work. Steve has been a member of many renowned dance companies such as ANDANZA (2009), Black Irish Company, directed by Ronald West (2015), Blackbox Dance Theatre, directed by Michelle Pearson; and joined OM Grown Dancers from 2017-2019. Steven has been a member of ShaLeigh Dance Works from 2018 to 2021, now transitioning as a guest artist for the company. In addition to dancing, Steven recently moved back to PR but still teaches all over the triangle and state of North Carolina.
TANGO QMX - Carlos Blanco (He/Him) and Rey Flores (He/Him), since 2015, they have traveled through Mexico performing at the country’s most prominent dance stages. They’ve presented their work in the US in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and have also performed in Canada. In 2019, they represented Mexico in the International Festival of Queer Tango in Paris: La Vie in Rose and in Berlin. They have also performed in Geneva, Rome, Amsterdam and Sheffield. Carlos and Rey were part of the first Festival Danza Gay de la CDMX and members of the Official Selection for Encuentro Nacional de Danza 2019. They organized International Festival of Queer Tango: Abrázame Mucho in Mexico, in conjuntion with classes, exhibitions, talkbacks, musical recitals of artists that work with Queer Tango around the world. They continue to collaborate with the Coordinación Nacional de Danza in Mexico, with online classes and exhibitions, as well as working a season with Complejo Cultural Los Pinos.
VALERIA A AVINA (She/Her-They/Them) is a queer Mexican Artist, Director, Producer and Voice Coach based in NYC, born and raised in Durango, Mexico. MFA from The University of Iowa, and a BA from Graceland University. She is a certified assistant teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. Currently she teaches vocal technique at Fordham University. Proud member of Intar UNIT52, BBR Productions, The Dramatist Guild, NALIP, Cayenne Film Festival, FLOW Film Festival, and El Colectivo LGBTTTIQ from Durango, Mx. In 2017, she was nominated at The Planet Connections Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for her role in Victory Girls by Kristina Poe. The first week of May 2021, released a short film called Do You Believe Me Now; A short Theater piece in collaboration with Nedelka Sotelo and George Day called What If. She is also producing along with her fellow Mexicans their series Hechas, Official Selection for the Latino Film Festival 2020 and Berlin Lift Off Festival 2021.
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