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Assistant Professors Dr. Irvin Manuel Gonzalez and Alfonso Cervera Awarded with Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project Grants

April 18, 2024

Assistant Professors Dr. Irvin Manuel Gonzalez and Alfonso Cervera Awarded with Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project Grants

Headshots of Irvin Gonzalez and Alfonso Cervera

Ohio State Dance Assistant Professors Dr. Irvin Manuel Gonzalez and Alfonso Cervera have each been awarded with funding from the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project Grants to help with the development of projects focused on advancing Latine research and representation in Ohio. The Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project encourages “research and teaching on topics directly related to Latino communities of the state of Ohio.”

Dr. Gonzalez’s Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project funding is for the development of “Afro-Latinexperimentations: Social Dance as Social Justice,” a research incubator focused on highlighting connections between (Afro)Latine social dancing and social change. Gonzalez’s project envisions placing (Afro)Latine/Latin American artivists in conversation, artmaking, and practice with the local Columbus community to center social dance practices as tools for activism and direct action within (Afro)Latine communities locally and globally. In this process, makers, dancers, and community members are invited to learn the sociopolitical histories of Latin American social dances and see how aesthetics, techniques, embodiment, and intentions carry epistemologies that are reworked by artists to bring awareness to issues affecting (Afro)Latine peoples.  

Professor Alfonso Cervera has been awarded with funding from the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Project to cultivate a Mexican Ballet Folklórico Dance Collective. Positioned as a dynamic hub, this collective aims to nurture cultural engagement and facilitate community-organized performances in conjunction with entities such as the Hispanic Coalition and Latino Affairs Commission. The envisioned programming goes beyond the confines of the university, with plans to visit local schools and community events to showcase the richness of the Latine experience through Ballet Folklorico. The collective serves as an innovative platform, not only spotlighting the vibrancy of Ballet Folklorico but also emphasizing the significance of cultural exchange and collaborative creativity within the Ohio State community and beyond.

Alfonso Cervera (he/él/they/them/elle) holds an MFA in Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside, and is a first-generation Queer Mexican American performer, educator, curator, and activist. His research and specialization as an independent artist, focuses on the conversation between Queerness, Ballet Folklorico, and Afro-Latine social dances in a contemporary auto-biographical embodied experience that he calls Poc-Chuc. Cervera is known for his emerging and inclusive technique Poc-Chuc, which has been described as a linking between "the sociality of the audience with the isolated frigidity of the concert stage...resulting in a world of untethered Mexican modernity." This inclusive dance technique weaves these cultural dances as a pedagogical, technical, and choreographic tool to acknowledge his lived experience, but to also re-imagine his own hybrid queered futurity. Cervera found Poc-Chuc Dance Collective in 2019 at Cornish College of the Arts and has since invited various practitioners and collaborators to co-create works from various localities.  

Dr. Irvin Manuel Gonzalez (he/él/they/elle) is an artivist, scholar, community organizer, and teacher. Gonzalez’s scholarship analyzes how immigrant, queer, and working-class Latin American social dancers navigate hegemonic forces through feeling and creativity while situating creative constructions of/for belonging. As an artist, Gonzalez grounds his art approaches, strategies, and constructions in rasquachismo, a low-brow Chicanx sensibility, to generate collaborations and new potentials that upend the intended use-value of materials, connections, and being. Gonzalez theorizes the possibility for Latine, working-class maneras de ser (ways of being) to inform new approaches to prison abolition work, migrant activism, and transborder belonging. He is a founding member of Primera Generación Dance Collective (PGDC) and Show Box LA, a non-profit arts organization located in Los Angeles, CA.