For the first time in its 144 years of existence, the Bayreuth Festival, founded by composer Richard Wagner, will have a woman as conductor. This is the Ukrainian Oksana Lyniv, who will occupy the podium at the premiere of the opera The Flying Dutchman, at the opening of the 2021 edition of the festival.
Lyniv considered his appointment special, which was announced last September, since Wagner wrote operas where women, in addition to having outstanding roles, tend to be very independent, as she expressed in an interview with Deutsche Welle.
The debut in Bayreuth, within the festival dedicated to opera since Wagner created it in 1876, highlights the gradual opening to inclusion, not parity, of gender within the performing arts.
One more example of this slow but determined progress was the recent participation of more than twenty Mexican women in the III International Symposium of Orchestra Directors, held on the Zoom platform, from September 15 to 20.
The symposium arose on the initiative of Brazilian conductor Ligia Amadio, had its first edition in 2016 and then in 2018, as a space for reflection on the performance of women in this professional classical music scene, in order to find mechanisms of gender equity.
In this third edition, the need arose to create a common front to fight for equal opportunities in this musical area, according to the composer, Mexican pioneer of orchestral conducting and founder of the New Millennium Women’s Symphony Orchestra, Gina Enríquez Moran.
The discussion tables of this symposium aimed to analyze the proposals that promote and strengthen the participation of women, historically limited, to give a feminine face to music and highlight their talent, hidden for decades.
Conducting is one of the artistic fields where the presence of women is still a minority, but it is not the only one. Gender disparity is also manifested among choir and chamber music directors, among orchestra instrumentalists and traditional band directors in Mexico and internationally.
And that disparity also extends to stage directors and choreographers. Just think of great dance companies named after their creators: Alvin Ailey, Béjart Ballet Lausanne and Limón Dance Company, to name a few.
Although now in the Mexican government there are several women at the head of the institutions, such as Alejandra Frausto as Secretary of Culture, I believe that what is called «positive discrimination» should prevail in public administration and in art and culture.
Historically, decision-making, both within and outside the cultural sphere, has fallen to men and that is why it is logical that some are more prepared to occupy a position. It is, therefore, a question of discriminating a better profile to privilege the arrival of a woman to the position and thus allow him to continue acquiring experience with a view to achieving the much desired gender equality.
Positive discrimination must also encompass black women, indigenous and women of color to aspire to multiculturalism and eliminate the centuries-long exclusion they have been subjected to. Implementing this type of public policy will not be the only solution, but it will be a necessary measure in favor of greater equity.
In this feminist struggle, certainly, an important artistic reference is the International Dance x Identity Festival, which aims to contribute to the search of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo to find their grandchildren who disappeared during the last military dictatorship in Argentine.
This project highlights dance productions that promote work around human rights and broadens the social commitment of both the artist and the spectator for a collective construction of identity based on the principles of «Memory, Truth and Justice», together with the struggle of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, an NGO created in 1977 whose purpose it is to locate the children kidnapped by the military regime and return them to their legitimate families.
The IV edition of the festival took place via streaming from November 6 to 8, 2020. It was free and with open access for the public and it included dancevideos and testimonies of granddaughters and grandsons that have been recovered. Here’s art that transforms society.
We will continue to pursue gender equality in the performing arts. Although much has been said, the pandemic has made inequality and patriarchal oppression more visible than ever. Our work at Contenidos Artísticos implies daily a greater commitment to women’s projects so that they are supported through our alliances and colleagues, and so that they are disseminated with complicit programmers, venues, media and producers.
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.