Reflections on "Asuntos de la Vida y Muerte" a dance piece by Rebecca Weisser Cervantes

Homero Rosas, Alisa Clayton, Rosa Navarrete, Rebecca Weisser Cervantes,
Ran Mochizuki, and Darrick Clayton (left to right)
Photo by Erica Milsom
Ran Mochizuki emailed me one day and said, "Hey we're looking for another dancers in this dance theater piece happening at The Marsh." I said - SIGN ME UP! - as I always tend to do without looking at my calendar. My life motto - Why Not? - has gotten me into trouble sometimes, but in occasions like this, I like to let my heart take charge and answer for me. Yes! Yes! I can do it. It had been a few good weeks since I've done a project that involved a community building, community writing, and community engagement.

Ran and I both hail from Cal, and we worked together in From the Field to the Table. The process for this work was very similar. Here are some highlights of the experience and performance for me:

  • Alisa and Darrick Clayton are a married couple who perform and work together. They met on the stage and they continue to make magic on it. Seeing them work together was like seeing the progression of a flower bloom. They laughed, they danced, they corrected each other, but most of all they had fun! Every time they were on stage together it made me reflect on what a partnership should always be like. Full or respect, love, patience and understanding. I just met them, but if you know who they are I am sure you agree. Aside from their amazing partnership, they are incredible performers! What a duo! 
  • Homero Rosas story about his grandfather was so vivid and rich of imagery, I couldn't help but think about all the men in my life and all their wrinkles and grey hairs that are "impossible to ignore." He was a pleasure to perform with, and overall a great role model for the younger dancers. He was once one of Rebecca's students, and it was great to see him interact with the children during the show. Truly a generous human being. 
  • Ran Mochizuki, what amazing stage presence! What a powerful storyteller. Every time she told us her grandmother's story, I fought back tears. I cannot wait to see where her writing and performer's journey takes her. She is a force to be reckoned with. I will forever be grateful for her reaching out and introducing me to Rebecca. 
  • Rebecca Weisser Cervantes. Wow. Even after a couple of days after the event I still can't believe the amount of work and dedication and detail she went into with this performance and community gathering event. She truly is a reincarnated spirit, in touch with her ancestors and those who have come before her. I couldn't help but think of Pieces of Her during her piece, especially when she said her line, "I feel as though I am my grandmother..." and she talked about following in her grandmother's steps. Aside from her amazing event planning, and creative writing and beautiful dancing -- Rebecca is also a teacher! All of her students look up to her and have so much respect for her. I was truly impressed with the amount of respect she showed the young students, and how they responded with mutual respect. 
  • The children. We did not get to work with them until Saturday, before the performance -- but man oh man, talk about stealing the show! I have not performed in many shows that involved young children, and these kids were so great to work with. They were funny, energetic, ready to put all of their energy in their dances. They danced salsa, hip hop and merengue and ended the performance with a bailesito with their parents. 
Needless to say, I had an incredible time being part of this performance and life experience. I look forward to more community performances and engagement opportunities. Thank you Rebecca for the chance to be part of your creative family. 

To learn more about Rebecca Weisser Cervantes' work visit her website,