This week's TDM Instructor Spotlight features TDM Lecturer in Dance Laura Rodriguez, or LROD (el rod)! LROD is a Performance Artist, Dancer/Choreographer, Radical Pedagogue, Filmmaker, and New Media Designer who is teaching TDM 149: Latinx Movement Practices this semester.
What excites you about working in TDM this fall?
TDM welcomes me into a fantastic opportunity shaped as a beautiful constellation of cultivating, sharing, and expanding knowledge with the communities I am in and entering. This semester, I am thrilled to be facilitating the TDM 149: Latinx Movement course, which rigorously explores the social and communal Latin Diaspora of movement, migration, and music from Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and the United States. TDM 149: Latinx Movement's innovation focuses on decoloniality in dance by embodying the Latin movement history while forming collaborative and individual learning environments. In a short time, I have witnessed the students actively demonstrating their intellectual diversity, utilizing their agency, and offering perspectives with radical tenderness—I am breathless. While on the other end, TDM's leadership around conversations of care, systemic racism, and equity much support the adaptive, engaged, and liberatory teaching methods I am passionate about facilitating. Adelante!
What do you do as an artist? What’s an upcoming project you have that you’re excited about?
As an artist, I facilitate co-creative performance art installations with dance, technology, and material through immersive and transdisciplinary choreographic engagements for social justice. I am a choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, mask maker, and new media designer from the TX/MX borderlands. In all aspects, I am a pedagogue who enjoys disruption, curiosity, and the inclusion of engaged autonomy with the co-creatives I encounter in the courses, rehearsals, projects, and companies.
My upcoming projects look different due to the COVID-era since I cannot tour or travel, but I have embraced the space to virtually design performance, dance, and film, alongside coding, curating websites, and exploring movement in Virtual Reality. I am currently working with La Pocha Nostra to curate and design international performances and film festivals, design LPN’s new digital showcase, and perform via the digital Frontera. La Pocha Nostra just finished a month-long virtual summer school with success while hosting an international live art and film festival for the participants. I am also involved in Livable Futures, alongside founder Norah Zuniga-Shaw to create virtual performance rituals for climate change and crisis with amazing artists worldwide. As an independent filmmaker, I have been working on new short-films for release later this year featuring my alter-egos, new masks, and home installations.
What are some underlying themes in your artistic work?
The underlying theme in my artistic work is—trust. Because I work in immersive designs, I invite people to negotiate their boundaries, borders, and bodies within the larger project or performance. From there, I usually weave together different threads of borderland performance, Mexicanidad surrealismo, and Chicanafuturism, braiding together themes of identity, gender, and race politics around the US/MX border issues with different calibers of abstraction. Right now, trust looks very different in these times with no physical audience to immerse in, the zoom invasion, and virtual censorship boundaries, so I am using this time to incubate in a period of re-imagination.
Learn more about LROD's work here: www.lrod.space