Agua Dulce Dance Theater

"Talking in Sicá"
Movement Research at Judson Church
New York, New York
February 8, 2016

Choreographer / Dancer: Alicia Díaz
Composer / Musician: Héctor "Coco" Barez
Filmed by Quentin Burley

Sicá is one of the main rhythms of the oldest Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance form called Bomba. Developed during slavery, this form is characterized by the improvisational dialogue between a solo dancer and the lead drummer. The dancer challenges the drummer to synchronize their improvised gestures/movements called "piquetes." The sophisticated improvisation skills characteristic of Bomba, have historically served as an important avenue for self-expression in response to the pressures of systemic oppression. In these improvisations, dancers and musicians must engage in the present moment and be willing to “listen” closely to each other. They are also “listening deeply” to a shared cultural knowledge that provides them a common vocabulary, both physical and auditory, and that connects them to ancient traditions.

"Talking in Sicá" is a choreographic structure designed for an improvisational performance in four parts. The first section references a traditional entrance into a Bomba dance. The second is a conversation between dancer and musician in which we explore the rhythm and movement in an abstract form. The third is an exchange in the traditional Bomba style during which I challenge Barez to match and accent my "piquetes" exactly. In the fourth and final section we open up the space for dancer and musician to experiment well outside the boundaries of the traditional form while maintaining the integrity of the sicá rhythm at the center of our conversation. The exit references a traditional end of a Bomba dance.


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--Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos Dra Josefina Camacho de la Nuez
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