Jun 2nd 2023

Ofrendas en Sinestesia; experiments in shared dance rituals
Curated by Marcela Torres
part of Links Hall’s Co-MISSION Curatorial Residency program

Ofrendas en Sinestesia; experiments in shared dance rituals, considers how communities in Pilsen and Little Village practice spirituality as ancestral technology and create contemporary storytelling through transcendent dance ceremonies. The artists will blend together different cultures and their forms of ancestral connection.

In Pilsen, they will curate an outdoor ceremony, inviting artists–including Izayo Mazehualli and Kinniari Vora–to present traditional dances and assist in fire services and sacred objects. Indoor performances at Links Hall include dance and storytelling rooted in ceremonial research and practice. Members of the public are invited to join the artists, exploring how diasporas living in the U.S. create new viewpoints and new genres of performance.

Marcela Torres

is an artist, organizer, and educator that uses strength-building exercises and community rituals, to propose forms of reparations. Using self-care methodologies to share reparative tools with others and to exorcise the intergenerational trauma of colonization. Their physical research builds on Mesoamerican Indigenous rituals, racial struggles within the United States, and contemporary Mexican American diaspora. Torres received a BA in Sculpture Intermedia and a BFA in Art History from the University of Utah, continuing their studies in MFA in Performance form School of the Art Institute Chicago. Torres has performed at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), The Momentary (Bentonville, AK), Fringe Festival (Detroit, MI), Experimental Actions (Houston, TX) and Time Based Arts (Portland, Oregon). Torres has exhibited work at Recess (Brooklyn, NY), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL) UW-Parkside University (Kenosha, WI) , Tropical Contemporary (Eugene, OR), Petzel Gallery (NYC, NY) In 2022 Torres was a Chicago Dance Maker Forum Lab Artist, a Art/Industry resident at John Michael Kohler Arts Center and a Fellow at Franconia Sculpture Park. In April 2023, they will be performing at Performance Space New York.


Izayotilmahtzin Mazehualli

Izayotilmahtzin Mazehualli (Nahua / Purepecha), also known as Izayo, is an Indigenous/Chicanx cultural educator, dance instructor, martial artist, environmentalist, mental health advocate, and visual artist. He has spent over a decade learning from elders of the Mexican Nahua oral tradition, especifically learning the disciplines of Nahua martial arts, Mihtotilistli dance, and Kauhpowalli, Toltec time-keeping. Based in Chicago, Mazehualli has been teaching classes and conducting Nahua ceremonies since 2017, both in-person and online. Mazehualli shares mindful movements with people of all ages and abilities, emphasizing the integration of mind and body to bring greater self-awareness and understanding of emotional, physical, and mental health. He frequently travels to Mexico where he conducts anthropological research on Indigenous cosmogony, dance tradition, and oral history.

Kinniari Vora

Kinniari Vora shares stories of universal human conditions and emotions through movement, meditation, and theatrical practices. Her movements are rooted in Bharatanatyam (disciple of Sarmishtha Sarkar, India), various Indian folk dances and kalaripayattu martial arts. Her work is guided by ancestral energy, wisdom of nature, and collaborative communion. Kinnari is Co-founder and Artistic Co-chair of Ishti Collective and a dancer collaborator with Surabhi Ensemble.

Partner Organization: El Paseo Community Garden

El Paseo Community Garden’s mission is to strengthen environmental stewardship and civic engagement while protecting equitable green space on behalf of the community. Their governance and leadership structure allows for anyone with a desire to make an impact to do so, growing not only healthy food, but community leaders as well. The outdoor space has become a community center and partner for anyone willing to share accessible community resources. Their goal is to Empower through Nature. Since 2009, El Paseo Community Garden (founded as Growing Station) has been fostering community and wellness for Pilsen residents through stewardship, conservation, placemaking, partnerships, programming, and community gardening. The garden is one of many NeighborSpace protected and community managed spaces in Chicago, with over an acre of equitable greenspace maintained by volunteers and donations. The garden is a converted brownfield site and sits along a path with a native prairie and permaculture food forest on one side and raised beds and an apiary on the other.
Links Hall’s Co-MISSION Curatorial Residency program supports independent, Chicago dance curators, producers, and social practice artists in presenting new and existing performance by their communities, for their communities. In collaboration with Links Hall and a local organization in their own Chicago neighborhoods, the 2022-2023 resident curators will invite artists from their communities to present new or existing performance work at both Links Hall and a neighborhood location. Projects include engaging community events outside of the formal theater environment. Residency awards include artist fees for curators and participating artists; direct funding for neighborhood-based partner organizations; and administrative support, rehearsal space, marketing, and technical production services.

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