Directed by John Jota Leaños, Vanessa Sanchez
“Ghostly Labor: A Dance Film” explores the history of labor in the US–Mexico borderlands through Tap Dance, Mexican Zapateado, Son Jarocho, Afro Caribbean movement, and live music. This work brings together polyrhythmic movement and an original score to look at the (ongoing) years of systemic exploitation of labor while highlighting the power and joy of collective resistance.
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Director Biography – John Jota Leaños, Vanessa Sanchez
John Jota Leaños is a Mestizo (Chicano, Chumash) media artist and animator focusing on critical convergences of history, memory, social space, and decolonization. Leaños’ animation, installation, opera, performance and public media fuse traditional practices and aesthetics with new technologies and contemporary reconfigurations. His work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Short Corner, PBS.org, the Whitney Biennial, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and a variety of other art and public contexts. A Professor in the Department of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Leaños is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow and Creative Capital Foundation Grantee who has received the United States Artist Fellowship, National Association for Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) Master Artist Award, the San Francisco Art Commission Individual Artist Grant, the MAP Fund Award and the Creative Work Fund Award. He has been an artist-in-resident at the Center for Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, the Center for Arts in Society, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. He is a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA 100 Fellow.
Vanessa Sanchez is a Chicana-Native dancer, choreographer and educator who focuses on community arts and traditional dance forms to emphasize voices and experiences of Latina, Chicana, and Indigenous womxn and youth. Based in SF, she is a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. She works to ensure accessibility to arts training and performances while mentoring youth and young adults of color. Sanchez’s work is rooted in community engagement, creating choreography and accessible events to tell stories of collective resistance. Her production “Pachuquísmo’’ received the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Production. She received a Hewlett 50 Arts Commission grant with Brava Theater for upcoming work “Ghostly Labor.” Sanchez is currently a Dance Lecturer at UCSC and a resident artist at Brava Theater.