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Vatic Kuumba

first performed on August 30, 2019
The streets of downtown Millvale, PA
performed twice in 2019


Providence, RI / New York, NY


Through alternations between folkloric dance and the tedious labor of undoing embroidery, “Ancestres” contemplates our ancestors through acts of undoing, extracting, pulling on, drawing out, retracing, and remembering.

Before the performance, I create a circle-cut cumbia skirt and red scarf to wear in the performance, signifying traditionally coded femme and masc pieces of cumbia dress. I embroider the word “Ancestres,” a gender neutral word for “ancestors” in Spanish, in the the skirt using a continuous piece of yarn.

As I dance this courtship dance alone, un-partnered, I undo the word “Ancestres” and collect the yarn. I carry a tape recorder as I dance. It plays sounds of breath, and then alternates between a recording of the cumbia, “La Muerte,” and Shakira’s “Underneath Your Clothes,” until the end of the tape. As “La Muerte” plays, I dance cumbia to travel. As Shakira plays, I stop to rest in the activity of removing the yarn.

Later, I re-embroider pieces of yarn that I removed into remnants of the fabric used to create the dress. I sell these small pieces back to the public.