After three years of planning, one pandemic cancellation, and a complete event-format change, the first annual Texas Latino/a/x Contemporary Dance Festival is finally coming to Houston.

Though an evening-length, live-streamed concert wasn’t creator Adam Castañeda’s original vision, the festival, which airs April 1–10 on MATCH’s website, will nevertheless show off some powerhouses in Houston’s Latinx contemporary dance community—including Roberta Cortes (Group Acorde), Paty Solórzano, University of Houston alum Joel Aguilera, and Alas Dance Company—just like he always planned it would.

After noticing an uptick in young Latinx choreographers leaping into the Houston contemporary dance scene over the last few years, Castañeda set out to provide a platform for these artists and their distinct perspectives in the genre. Who knows? Someday, one of these guys could be the next Debbie Allen.

“There is a pattern that every choreographer in this town is aware of,” says Castañeda. “There will be times of great abundance and times of great scarcity where you can go a season, or two seasons, without having the opportunity to show something. I wanted to have an annual showcase that would, at the very least, give someone the motivation of being able to share work.”

When watching the festival, expect poignant performances depicting stories and various concepts that are near to the choreographers’ hearts. Take, for example, Paty Solórzano’s Self portrait with trenza, which, according to MATCH’s website, “exemplifies unspoken cultural transmission and trans-generational connection among women in the private sphere.” 

As for the future plans for the festival? Come next year, it will hopefully look like that of a uniformed and well-choreographed dance jam—Covid permitting, of course. Castañeda plans to go back to his original plan: a “high-capacity free-for-all,” featuring five or six established choreographers producing an evening-length work alongside smaller showcases.

“A different show every night,” he says. “And some nights, there would be multiple performances.” 

April 1–10. $10. More info and tickets at match.com.

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