With over thirty years of experience performing and fifteen years teaching dance and producing choreography, the conceptual work of Laura Rodriguez has expanded to include political sites of resistance that require full, participatory engagement of audience members. Masked in red lace, Rodriguez’ performance persona “LROD” created such an environment at Wild Goose Creative in Columbus, Ohio on November 30 of 2018.
Prior to the event, Rodriguez shared a conversation with Lisa Hamant, a student in Paloma Martinez-Cruz’s Gender and Power in Latin American Cultures class in OSU’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. When Lisa asked how they might describe their aesthetic priorities, Rodriguez replied, “Deconstruction. Because that’s the realm I’m working in—deconstructing a colonial model of post-modern dance, looking backward and giving a present momento analysis of what’s happening right now. Looking forward but not moving toward a utopia, and looking at present momento, right now issues.”
As such, Rodriguez’ many masks and media are concentrated to “kick-up” or “disrupt” political and aesthetic traditions and structures, offering, instead, a restorative and transformative space of courage for performance. “For me, my performance is making a signature out of things that have already been done…finding the intersectionality of dance, material and performance and weaving that together within a Chicana rebellion and representation…. creating almost an individually designed performance for each space.”
Rodriguez traces some of their ideas to the time they spent with Guillermo Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra in the summer of 2018. “The idea of radical tenderness, [allows us to] enter a brave space and public performance discourse where political themes might emerge, but still be wrapped in tenderness and care.” With this in mind, Rodriguez’ audience-driven works give the public the opportunity to intervene as the performance unfolds, but also invites them to stay back if the decision not to participate is the more comfortable one for them. Rodriguez adds, “LROD is queer machismo and the most Chingona of my alter-egos.”
When asked what it meant to be a featured Onda Latina Ohio artist for the Chingona Fire Caravan event in November, Rodriguez was more interested in emphasizing the significance of being part of the Latinx-in-resistance community, rather than accruing an individual distinction.
“Being selected as a headliner is a wonderful opportunity, but at the same time, it is this kind of alignment of ideas, connections and gathering that leaves its unique imprint on me. Going back to communication and connectedness, merging a community together is central to my feelings about healing, and trusting this community I am intervening is a radical performance of care and help. I am ready to be apart of Onda Latina Ohio, ¡vámonos!”
To visit the Laura Rodriguez website: http://www.laurarodriguez.work