This December, the Performing Arts Series at the University of Nevada, Reno presents a refreshingly unexpected performance from San Francisco-based polyrhythmic dance and music ensemble, La Mezcla.
On Thurs. Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Nightingale Concert Hall, La Mezcla will present Pachuquísmo, a multi-disciplinary performance that portrays the lesser-known history of the female experience during the 1940’s Zoot Suit Riot era through tap dance, live jazz music, Mexican zapateado and traditional Son Jarocho.
In this compelling and award-winning production, creator-choreographer-director Vanessa Sanchez and the all-female cast of La Mezcla employ dance, music, spoken word, archival video and percussive dialogue to recount a pivotal part of Chicanx history: the Pachuca Era, punctuated by the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles.
“The Performing Arts Series is committed to furthering dialogue in pursuit of a more connected, supportive and just community,” Shoshana Zeldner, program manager with the School of the Arts, explained. “Pachuquísmo asks each of us to dig into the histories that we have been taught as well as the histories that we haven’t been taught in order to broaden our understanding of our community, our neighbors and our country.”
In a twist, the show focuses on the female, rather than male, experience of Pachuquísmo. This 1940’s Mexican American counterculture in the United States, associated with zoot suit fashion, jazz and swing music, emerged during a time when this marginalized community was fighting for rights and equality in the United States. In portraying the not-often-told history of the Pachucas, Pachuquísmo highlights and juxtaposes the duality of their culture through live music and dance.
Following the performance audience members are invited to stay for a question-and-answer session with director and choreographer, Vanessa Sanchez as well as some of the cast.
The season will continue on Thurs., Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. with the vocal supergroup säje, known for their smooth, jazzy vocals, imbued with gentleness and heartfelt expression.