Posted: 2/25/22

The Culture of Love/La Cultura Del Amor Dance Performances Friday, Saturday


The Culture of Love

Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Fine and Performing Arts, in collaboration with Tim Rubel Human Shakes, invites dance aficionados and novices alike to enjoy an evening of exciting, story-driven dance performances focusing on love stories, as told through marginalized, Queer voices.

The performance, “The Culture of Love/La Cultura Del Amor” takes the stage Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. at the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Theater.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. Donations in support of TAMIU Student Dance Scholarships will be gratefully accepted, however. 

Through detailed storytelling, expertly crafted choreography and spoken text, the dance performances seek to creatively examine the levels of equity between LGBTQ+ communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Laredo and Nuevo Laredo border region.

The dance piece serves as part of a larger research initiative that examines the quality-of-life differences between LGBTQ+ communities in major American urban environments and those living along the U.S./México border.

The performances also reflect surveys and interviews collected by Tim Rubel, an assistant professor of Dance at TAMIU, with community members in the San Francisco Bay Area and the border region, as well as his own, lived experiences as a queer resident in both distinct areas.

Rubel received his MFA in Dance/Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside. He has been on the dance faculties of several institutions including San Francisco State University, Mt. San Jacinto College, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Dance Center and the Beijing Dance Festival in China.

His choreography has received support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Texas A&M International University, The Goethe Institut, the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and has been presented on both U.S. coasts and abroad.

The performances feature the choreography of Rubel, in collaboration with dancers from Rubel’s professional dance company based out of San Francisco, CA.

Established in 2010, Tim Rubel Human Shakes combines contemporary dance performance with theatrical spectacle while exploring human relationships through athleticism, choreography and wit. The company has performed in the San Francisco Bay Area  and internationally at venues and festivals, such as Fort Mason Presents, Cal State East Bay’s Queer Performance Festival, Dance Mission Theater and Pfefferberg Theater in Berlin, Germany.

“The Culture of Love” feature the talents of collaborating dancers, KJ Dahlaw, Jess DeFranco, Colin Epstein and Hannah Westbrook, as well as TAMIU dance students María Mendoza-Alva and Valeria Morteo.

Music and sound is composed by Mike Daddona, with poster photography by Maxx Kurzunski.

Prior to the dance performances, a three-day Masterclass Series by members of Tim Rubel Human Shakes is scheduled Feb. 24 – 26 at the CFPA, room 122. The classes are free and open to the public. Space is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Previous dance training is recommended, but all levels are welcome.

Thursday, Feb. 24

Principles of Partnering with Colin Epstein - 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

The workshop focuses on the fundamentals of partnering, including weight sharing and exchange, levers, shelves, and perches. Techniques learned help students develop a toolbox to draw from in creating their own dances.

Choreographic Exploration: Site Dance with Hannah Westbrook - 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.

This exploratory class will use the dancers’ direct interaction with their surrounding environment as a choreographic device. Dancers will be guided through a process of movement creation that pulls from external sources, challenging the codified dance vocabulary that exists in trained bodies.

Friday, Feb. 25  

Falling into Floorwork with Jess DeFranco - 3 - 4 p.m.

Falling into Floorwork will begin with grounded improvised warmups led by the instructor. The class progresses into center exercises and combinations moving across space, focusing on quick level changes, and releasing into the ground with trust while taking care of the body. It will break down the mechanics of floor material, so all levels are welcome.

Shifting States with KJ Dahlaw - 4:15 - 5:15 p.m.

A movement class designed to explore and shift states of being in the body. This class integrates primal movement, mobility training, and  Bartenieff fundamentals with improvisational exploration of being bodied in space. 

Saturday, Feb. 26

Grounded Pelvis, Rooted Feet with Tim Rubel – 1 - 2 p.m.

This class takes students through warm-up exercises, improvised structures, and athletic choreography that uses the pelvis and feet as engines for movement. The result will be a dynamic movement phrase grounded into the earth and free to explore the space above. 

The Culture of Love/La Cultura Del Amor is partially funded by a TAMIU University Research Council Creative Projects Grant.

For more information on “The Culture of Love/La Cultura Del Amor” or the upcoming Master Classes, contact Rubel via email at timothy.rubel@tamiu.edu or call 956.326-2625.