In ‘Alice in Rainbowland,’ LGBTQIA+ Artists Ship A Concept With Motion

Dance is the position exactly where art and entire body intersect. It is pure expression: a launch of energy and emotion, and a variety of interaction that transcends language. In Ana Masacote’s “Alice in Rainbowland,” a virtual functionality premiering through the American Repertory Theater’s Just about OBERON sequence on June 10 and out there on-need as a result of the close of the month, dance is the medium by which the traditional tale of a woman tumbling through a rabbit hole is remodeled into a house that holds and celebrates queer joy, discomfort and pride.

Producer and creative director Ana Masacote. (Courtesy Carven Creative Media)
Producer and imaginative director Ana Masacote. (Courtesy Carven Innovative Media)

“What I really adore, in phrases of dance encompassing a social room, is that it seriously connects us with our bodies,” Masacote suggests. “We all shift in the earth in our personal way. Being capable to support persons understand a dialogue in a location that we are all ready to join with has a a lot different influence than just possessing a a single-to-1, talkative dialogue.”

An award-successful Afro-Latin dance specialist and advocate for LGBTQIA+ acceptance in the dance globe and past, Masacote created a dance task referred to as Queer Bodies in Motion that aims to make consciousness about discrimination confronted by the local community even though uplifting and celebrating LGBTQIA+ identification. “Alice in Rainbowland” is the project’s debut creative function, a twist on the unique story that sees the White Rabbit (performed by Masacote) primary Alice into an underground world of rainbows and ballrooms — sites where queer lifestyle is born.

Devised around the study course of six months, Masacote describes the development of “Alice
in Rainbowland” as a collaborative effort and hard work from best to base, involving artists and creatives from Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. With each other, the artists use movement to investigate topics of gender identity and expression through vogue, hip-hop, Afro-Latin dance and drag. As Alice travels through Rainbowland, she stumbles on scenes wherever its inhabitants show that whoever you are or whoever you enjoy, you are normally deserving of respect and acceptance. The present is specifically geared toward people.

“We speak about how dance is not binary, and the way that the intersection of mindfulness and dance intersects with mindfulness and life,” Masacote suggests. “There’s a massive conversation on what does the binary suggest, and how does the way that we experience our earth also intersect with the way that it influences the queer neighborhood?”

Yyoyo Escada as Oracle in "Alice in Rainbowland." (Courtesy Carven Creative Media)
Yyoyo Escada as Oracle in “Alice in Rainbowland.” (Courtesy Carven Imaginative Media)

Neighborhood icons from across disciplines fill the performance’s monthly bill, from ballroom fixture Yyoyo Escada of the Legendary Property of Escada, to vogue historian and trans activist Lilly Rose Valore, to award-successful drag artist and material creator Just JP, and many more. Every single artist brings their personal imprint to the efficiency, respiration new lifestyle into acquainted figures with their unique lived experiences and mediums of expression.

One this kind of illustration is JP’s lip sync functionality to Colette’s “A Mi Manera” in glittering, rhinestone-studded drag as White Flower, who encourages a missing Alice to maintain likely, and to shift via everyday living on her own terms.

“That song has so a great deal indicating to me, it is a music that I’ve been carrying out given that I was 9, hidden away in my bedroom. So it’s good, all those times in which I can bring the most loved factors of drag, and my activism, and they can, like, merge together,” says JP. “My character is a plant, correct? And plants are not acknowledged for currently being dancers or transferring around. But I know that I didn’t need to transfer all over the stage to be capable to fill it, and to be in a position to deliver those more refined movements we have dozens of muscle tissues in our faces. That is why ‘face’ is a classification in and of itself, you know, in ballroom.”

Just JP as White Flower in "Alice in Rainbowland." (Courtesy Carven Creative Media)
Just JP as White Flower in “Alice in Rainbowland.” (Courtesy Carven Innovative Media)

The main notion for “Alice in Rainbowland,” Masacote points out, originated from a discussion between Masacote and Valore that blossomed into a fully-understood general performance.

“When Ana [Masacote] questioned me to participate in Alice, I was a minimal fearful and shook, simply because I have hardly ever finished traces. I by no means was an actress and more of a dancer,” suggests Valore, who portrays the titular heroine. It was her notion of a dance centered about Alice that inspired Masacote to convey the notion even more. “To see it convert into this wider production was an remarkable instant for me due to the fact it pushed my artistry. The crew and every person else in the community reminded me that we are accomplishing this jointly. It is really not just you performing this activism. You can breathe, reside in the position, and have a very good time.”

What commenced as the approach for an in-individual wide variety show required to be reworked to be wholly digital because of to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. But the challenge soon turned a blessing, as the inventive team recognized that performing remotely produced it feasible to collaborate with artists irrespective of their physical locale, and that producing a filmed effectiveness as a substitute of a live a single allowed for superb visuals that could not have been doable to recreate onstage. Past creation capabilities, Masacote is also grateful for the amplified accessibility to the system that a digital presentation delivers.

“When you have an in-man or woman performance, you might be minimal to the amount of money of ticket profits that you can have and the bodies that you can get into the area. When you do a little something virtual, you can get people from around the world to tune in,” Masacote claims. “That’s these a exceptional possibility to be ready to distribute this sort of a throughout the world message into distinct parts of communities.”

A virtual effectiveness also makes queer nightlife available to folks who have historically been excluded by bodily areas that weren’t made with a range of experiences in mind.

“Doing some thing digital signifies that folks who are homebound, people who won’t be able to go out mainly because of curfews, people who won’t be able to go out because of price tag [can attend],” says JP. “It opens up the possibility of entertainment.”

Lilly Rose Valore as Alice in "Alice in Rainbowland." (Courtesy Carven Creative Media)
Lilly Rose Valore as Alice in “Alice in Rainbowland.” (Courtesy Carven Imaginative Media)

Generating “Alice in Rainbowland” accessible to as several people today as doable is vitally essential, as the clearly show is committed specifically to LGBTQIA+ youth. Favourable representation is needed at a time when youth are witnessing a lot more anti-trans expenses turning into regulation in 2021 than in the earlier 10 years put together. Meanwhile, 2021 is on track to surpass 2020’s history of anti-trans deadly violence. And even though vaccination quantities continue on to increase, the ongoing pandemic has seriously restricted lots of folks’ capability to obtain queer neighborhood in physical spaces to have that potential to be witnessed absolutely, and to be embraced in the unconditional love of a group.

“I definitely take pleasure in the point that it’s age-correct and that it’s going to reach youth, for the reason that I’ve been really pushing for normalizing queerness in more youthful areas,” claims Valore. “I think men and women have misconceptions. Mothers and fathers only base matters off of what they see at Satisfaction. Personally, I imagine at Delight everyone should be no cost to do what they want, it really is a fantastic factor. But, you know, this is in the form of a kid’s e book, and I imagine it can be ok to permit the kids see that.”

This passion for reaching vulnerable youth and carving out house for unity rallied the creative workforce, Masacote shares.

“I believe so lots of of the men and women that ended up included in the project were being also included, not just since they preferred to make art, or they thought in this, but they also considered in the concept and in the operate that we’re trying to carry ahead — the transform of standpoint that we’re hoping to make in the community,” she claims.

Even though “Alice in Rainbowland” carries a message of resilience and a get in touch with to motion to bear witness to a person a further and, in Masacote’s terms, invite additional enjoy into our lives, the performers are also fired up to foster yet another critical facet of celebrating Satisfaction: fun!

“Do a check out occasion. Have your bubble appear in excess of, you know, do a potluck!” states JP. “Just to have exciting, due to the fact we also made this with a lot of really like. It has a concept, a incredibly crucial information, but it is also very superior, higher top quality enjoyment.”


A.R.T.’s “Alice in Rainbowland” premieres on June 10 at 7:30 p.m. and will be readily available on-demand till June 30. Tickets are spend-what-you-can and are accessible now.