From the moment I walked into the gleaming lobby of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, I was stuck by the calm atmosphere and cultural surroundings. The historic building with contemporary marble architecture was the perfect place to relax and enjoy a tasty cocktail with my girlfriend (made by the friendliest staff ever), before we saw Contra-Tiempo: joyUS justUS.
As we entered the theater, I immediately noticed the colorful textiles on the back of each chair, and three beautiful multi-colored quilts hanging on the stage. A few people were seated on the stage lining the edges and I learned they were friends and family of the performers. The joyful and unifying vibe was apparent before the show even began.
Contra-Tiempo: joyUS justUS was conceived by choreographer Ana Maria Alveraez and her desire to activate joy to overcome social injustice. Contra-Tiempo: joyUS justUS explores joy as an act of resistance and mixes dance with music and spoken word. The production is a powerful declaration of unity, humanity, social injustice and diversity, stated beautifully in its opening message we were all asked to repeat;
For two hours we were guided through America’s racial injustice from slavery to the present day. The stage was filled with vibrant colors, incredible dancers and powerful narratives, all the while latin and hip-hop music played loudly. The performers shared stories of hope, joy, faith and family. The show seamlessly switches between energetic dance numbers, beautiful solos, and heartfelt spoken word. It was especially moving to hear a performer’s voice narrate her family history, sharing how they migrated to the US. She focused on her mothers strength as she raised two children to become strong individuals.
The performance never felt angry or resistant, instead it delivered the message of unity, joy, and how we are all connected together, as it navigated the social injustices and political issues we face today.
During the final number, the whole audience was on their feet dancing, as we celebrated our diversity and oneness. We were invited to continue the celebration on the stage with the cast for one big joyful dance party.
The message of joyUS JustUS is crystal clear; we are all one family, and just like the earth, come in a multitude of colors, shapes and sizes. JoyUS JustUS is beautiful and inspiring, and was good for my soul. I highly recommend you go see the Contra-Tiempo: Urban Latin Dance Theater if you get an opportunity.
*** This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own***
I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.