By Cristina Vázquez
Today being an older person does not mean the end of dreams, goals, exploring and taking on new challenges, rethinking limits … with the same passion and vitality as the youth.
This way of thinking by Leticia Ruiz was so convincing that the jury decided to select her to participate in the virtual theater workshop Edad de Oro (Golden Age), aimed at people over 60 years of age and at cultural managers who usually work with this sector of the population, free of charge.
What was most motivating for Jorge Rodas, 75, was finding in theater the ideal discipline to combat the physical wear and tear that afflicts his age. There was no shortage of those who considered the workshop relevant because it contributes to changing the image and stereotype of older people.
Edad de Oro, under the direction of Luis Martín Solís, was created precisely with the purpose of restoring the voice to people between 60 and 90 years old, in over 10 sessions through the digital platform Zoom, over the course of a month, which will be concluded on May 13 with the reading of a text that will be worked on in the workshop.
I was interested in the fact that the project was the result of binational cooperation between the State Institute of Culture of Guanajuato, the Secretariat for Migrants and International Liaison, through Tu Casa Guanajuato Chicago, and Aguijón Teatro, based in Chicago.
This collaboration was finalized and will continue with the aim of forming, from this workshop, a multicultural artistic company.
One of the participants is the actress Ana Santos, who will be working as a training to give continuity to the project, as part of the Aguijón company. Born in Puerto Rico and living in Chicago for several years, Ana highlights the importance of her work with the community through theater.
Among those selected are Guanajuatoans from both sides of the border, but also from other towns in Mexico who live within the country and in different cities in the United States.
It must be remembered that the elderly have been among the most vulnerable since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, since they have had to remain in isolation because they are a high-risk sector. And what better way to fight this marginalization than through virtual theater.
The response of the applicants was so emotional when explaining the reasons why they wanted to join this experience that the organizers, together with stage director Luis Martín Solís, decided to create a second workshop with those who were left out of this first call, which will possibly take place in June of this year.
After the first session, which took place on Tuesday, April 13, I understood even better the importance that older people attach to Edad de Oro when they shared part of their life stories. Among those selected there are also some disciples of Luis Martín Solís in the Ruelas Project, dedicated to promoting community theater within the International Cervantino Festival. There the director has spent more than five years working with older people who attend Las Teresas and El Cambio, two gerontological centers of the DIF in Guanajuato.
If Edad de Oro can be taught free of charge, it is partly because Luis Martín is a member of the National System of Creators of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). The workshop agenda covers old age in different times and cultures, its vices and virtues, text, dance, movement and gestures, a review of works from the international repertoire and writing experiences.
With all the richness of life shared by the participants, I am eager to see the results of this first workshop and confident of the need to continue counting on artistic and cultural initiatives with a social vocation, which are at the same time the fruit of international cooperation.
Cristina Vázquez, director of Contenidos Artísticos Production and Diffusion, is a cultural manager, programmer and producer. One of her main purposes is to promote the circulation of the Performing Arts.
Mexican, from the city of León, she graduated from the Communication Sciences career and continued her training as a cultural manager with studies from the National Council for Culture and the Arts and in 17, the Institute of Critical Studies, where she obtained the Cultural Management Certificate from the Critical Entrepreneurship.
Cristina Vázquez has the strong conviction that going to meet new viewers, both in Mexico and in the United States and other countries, contributes to fighting stereotypes, opening new communication channels and forming communities.
Her quest is to create lasting relationships between audiences, artists and institutions. The expansion of audiences, she thinks, generates knowledge and understanding among the inhabitants of this global village.
In 2012 she founded Contenidos Artísticos, a firm dedicated to the programming, production and dissemination of artistic and cultural projects, based in Mexico, which is complemented, since 2015, with Contenidos Artísticos INC, based in Chicago, Illinois.
With the multidisciplinary collaboration of important allies, Cristina Vázquez advised the Municipality of Zacatecas in the elaboration of its Cultural Development Plan and coordinated the National Book Fair (Fenal) from 2006 to 2009. Since 2016, she has been collaborating permanently with the Cultural Institute of León in various programming and production projects.
She was a programmer at the Teatro del Bicentenario in León, has worked with the Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato and developed and operated the urban meeting “Todo sobre Ruelas” in Zacatecas.
In addition, in 2012 and 2013 she produced and programmed the José Alfredo Jiménez International Festival, which pays tribute to the great Mexican icon and singer-songwriter, in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato.
Since 2013 she works for the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL). She has produced and coordinated important projects with the Mexican National Ballet Company having as headquarters the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Juárez Theater, during the Cervantino Festival, as well as with the National Opera Company and the National Theater Coordination. In 2019, she began a collaboration with the National Center for the Arts (CENART) by producing the International Black and White Piano Festival.
In 2018, she made alliances with agencies in the United States for the circulation of the performing arts in Mexico. This is how she presented Fuse, a group based in Italy, with its multimedia performance Dökk and the Colombian company Sankofa Danzafro with its acclaimed show La ciudad de los otros.
Through Contenidos Artísticos INC, the production agency, for the past five years she has focused on bicultural work between Mexico and the United States. Her work has been to find spaces for Mexican artists to present themselves on the other side of the border, while contributing to the construction of an image of Mexican culture and art that transcends the folkloric.
In 2017 she introduced the Mexican poet Rojo Córdoba, who worked with Spoken Word groups, in Chicago. And the following year she promoted three Mexican bands: Troker, electronic jazz; Doble Redoble, contemporary cumbia, and Sonido Gallo Negro, a psychedelic cumbia group for which she organized a tour in the United States. This in conjunction with various Latino festivals and organizations in Chicago, such as the Mole de Mayo Festival. Thanks to these alliances, she has produced tours for artists from Chicago and other cities in the United States in Mexico.
During November 2018, she invited Mexican programmers to see, both in Chicago and New York, the work of Manual Cinema, a multidisciplinary company that combines cinematographic techniques with shadow theater, sound and music to create immersive experiences.
She co-produces the Tania Pérez-Salas Company since 2018. During 2019 she worked on the organization of their tour through Mexico, the United States and Canada, which would take place in the following year.
As of January 20, 2020, Vázquez is the first Mexican woman to be part of the Board of Directors of the Association of Professionals for the Performing Arts (APAP), which emerged in 1957 in the United States and is a world leader in this cultural field. One of their main tasks is to participate and promote REDI (Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion) policies.
The great pragmatism and permanent professionalism of Cristina Vázquez has allowed her to contribute to the artistic and cultural development of Mexico and its international projection.
Versión en español
Cristina Vázquez, directora de Contenidos Artísticos Producción y Difusión, es gestora cultural, programadora y productora. Uno de sus propósitos principales es fomentar la interculturalidad a través de la circulación de las artes.
Concibe la interculturalidad como el encuentro, la interacción y reconstrucción de las distintas culturas locales. En palabras del experto argentino Carlos Moneta, permite comparar formas de vida y establecer comunicaciones portadoras de imágenes, valores y contenidos que afectan las identidades más allá de la nacionalidad.
En 2012 fundó Contenidos Artísticos, firma dedicada a la programación, producción y difusión de proyectos artísticos y culturales, con sede en México, que se complementa, desde 2015, con Contenidos Artísticos INC, con sede en Chicago, Illinois.
A través de Contenidos Artísticos INC, la agencia productora, se ha enfocado desde hace un lustro en el trabajo bicultural entre México y Estados Unidos. Su labor ha sido la de buscar espacios para que los artistas mexicanos se presenten del otro lado de la frontera, aportando a la vez la construcción de una imagen de la cultura y el arte mexicano que trasciende lo folclórico.
Esa apertura de espacios permite visualizar, en ambos países, que las artes escénicas son una herramienta indispensable para construir un intercambio artístico de calidad permanente y atender a la diversidad de públicos.
Originaria de León, Guanajuato, Vázquez es egresada de la carrera de Ciencias de la Comunicación y
continuó su formación como gestora cultural con 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos.
El gran pragmatismo y la permanente profesionalización de Cristina Vázquez le han permitido coadyuvar
al desarrollo artístico y cultural de México y su proyección a nivel internacional.
A partir del 20 de enero de 2020, Vázquez es la primera mujer mexicana en formar parte del Consejo Directivo de la Asociación de Profesionales de las Artes Escénicas (APAP por sus siglas en inglés), surgida en 1957 en Estados Unidos y líder a nivel mundial en este ámbito cultural.
Recientemente organizó la gira de la Compañía Tania Pérez-Salas por México, Estados Unidos y Canadá, pero debido a la pandemia derivada del coronavirus el grupo de danza contemporánea únicamente alcanzó a dar un par de funciones, el 13 y 14 de marzo, en el Teatro Juárez de Guanajuato con el apoyo de EFIDANZA.