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Hope is the Thing with Feathers...

Sandra Rivera reflects on Michelle Manzanales' new choreography for the Paul Taylor Dance Company which premiered at the Joyce Theater in New York City, June 2022

Photo Credit: Ron Thiele


Posted January 22, 2023

By Sandra Rivera


I was left with the desire to see this dance again. A sign that something is good. It resonated. There is a mystery to Michelle Manzanales’ dance making. One is pulled into a world that she creates throughout. The beginning pulls you in and one never lets go with the ending giving us a sense of resurrection. The line from the iconic Emily Dickinson poem, Hope is the thing with feathers is embedded and reflected throughout and layered with cultural markers that come from carefully chosen songs, music, and of course movement.

In putting English songs next to Spanish songs, it gives a sense of cultures coming together. We live in a land, the United States, where these two languages live side by side. In a particular striking moment we hear the iconic Mexican 1954 song Cucurrucucú Paloma. Another language moment came with the dancers speaking out in Spanish. I was struck by the strength and conviction that the dancers embodied. I was moved by a joy and conviction that I picked up emanating from their declarations.

As in other Manzanales dance works, there is a strong sense of community. In this dance a community of dancers embodied through the Paul Taylor Company, a community of young people who have lived through a pandemic. A community that has survived, still thriving and aiming to move forward. La vida sigue.

I need to see this dance again, I want to see this dance again, I need to keep hoping…

About the Blog

I was there también... is a blog imagined by Michelle Manzanales, a platform for the Latinx community to share their viewpoints on all things dance and further visibilize our voces in the field.

Please note that LXDEA is a free-resource site, and this is a non-compensated opportunity. Writers of all experience levels are welcomed and encouraged to contribute to the blog. Interested parties should e-mail pitches with the subject line, I was there también… to latinxdanceeducatorsalliance@gmail.com.


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