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Review: Querencia shows a love for home through dance

Querencia “comes from the word ‘querer’ — to love. It means love of place and people. Querencia can refer to your place of refuge, your home or your homeland,” artistic directors Marisol Encinas and Amanda Hamp wrote in the program.

On Thursday, Feb. 29, dancers gathered at Rodey Theater at the University of New Mexico to put on their yearly Querencia performance, which was gorgeously brought together through the contemporary dance and flamenco departments.

Before the show, it was intriguing to imagine how the dancers would embody meanings of home, nurture and safeness. Once the performance began, the audience was greeted with a lively performance full of vibrant colors and skilled dancers who interpreted the work of choreographers through their dancing bodies.

Gianna Silva — a contemporary dancer — performed for the second time with Querencia on Thursday.

“Querencia means home, because not only is the stage my home, but (so is) dancing with people that I consider my family. It is good to have that love there,” Silva said.

“Genesis One” by Gregory Maqoma brought the contemporary dancers to stand up against the genocide and conflicts that are currently happening throughout the world. The piece had microphones, live graffiti and a sense of nakedness by modifying the black box and lifting the curtains all the way up. The sequences and the verses gave context to the importance of peace in humanity.

The use of space, integration of holding hands and forming lines showed the sentiment of the whole group.

This is Isabella Alderete’s last year performing, and she said Querencia has been close to her heart because of the creative liberty dancers are granted to contribute to the pieces with their own styles.

“(Querencia) is very special because we each had our own little things like our own movement and our own style to incorporate in all of the pieces,” Alderete said.

Besides the traditionality of flamenco dance, the uniqueness and femininity from Alderete’s style was clear through her gestures and devotion in the intensity of the piece.

Melissa Brigs brought passion and presence to her performance of “This House.” It was a clear example of the incorporation of personal style. She showed a contemporary rendition of what it is like to move the furniture of your house around. Alongside the physicality that it took, the aerial movement of the chairs coming down from the ceiling made it aesthetically fabulous.

The flamenco faculty showed two pieces — one traditional and the other contemporary. This was well-marked by the type of costumes, lights and music they performed, as well as the sound of their flamenco shoes tapping the rhythm on stage.

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“I draw inspiration from the other dancers I work with, and seeing their styles and how hard they and we work for what we do specifically,” Alderete said.

It was a beautiful show that opened the space to think about what “home” really is and how we can transcend a simple term by using the intangible art of dance.

Valeria Brenes is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo

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