“Our form of storytelling harkens back to the ancestral roots of our griots and shamans.” It invokes our oral traditions and the pre colonial art forms whose legacies our presence gives evidence to. This is not only a ‘punk rock show,’ it is also an homage to our ancestors, especially to our Matriarchs.” Connecting his Puerto Rican lineage to the expanse of the African diaspora, Teo Castellanos, shares “F.Punk Junkies” as “an offering to African/Yoruba Matriarchal lineage and to Matriarchs in the making.”
This ensemble shares sacred connections with each other. They are a cast of educators, scholars, dancers, non-dancers, singers, non-singers, actors, non-actors, mothers, daughters, sons, priests, practitioners, and novices, some having known each other for decades others connecting more recently but/and equally profoundly. Some have taught each other formally and all have taught each other informally. Each person involved in this show enhanced the ways in which Teo and Augusto Soladade initially imagined this work together and what it could do. They realize a natural way of communicating in deep and meaningful ways, not just about the art that they are engaged in producing but also about life, personal interests, experiences and world views. Through the exploration of the funk in punk these creators and performers dig deeper into the roots of the music, the traditions it comes from, and themselves.
University of Florida dance professor and Brazzdance founder Augusto Solodade explains the origins of the piece “starting out with a few phone conversations to exchange ideas and aspirations until we got to a point where the very first basic structure for the work took place: F.Punk Junkies took its first life breath.” From there, each rehearsal/performance/practice begins with the breath. An appreciation for each breath, settling into the body, taking time to allow the spirit to settle inside of the vessel we carry ourselves around in to find its way to the light. That vessel, these bodies, come with stories already inscribed in and on them and it is these stories which bring F.Punk Junkies to life. This cast brings stories of triumph and sorrow, liberation and resistance, permanence and migration to this experience. The stories crafted in body, mind, soul, music, word, sound, power represent a collaborative exploration of how our stories of survival come through us now and into the future. Each rehearsal, each residency, each day with each of the lovely beings who make this show has been filled with a way of going back to go forward. A sankofa cyper… danced, worded, and felt through the experiences of a team of master teachers and performers. An invitation to recall, to remember, to let go, to offer, to learn, to teach, to reach, to let go and grow is what “F.Punk Junkies” and its process of development have offered each person involved. “We became a community of F.Punk Junkies for unwavering support and healing.” (A. Soladade) This feeling and intention permeates all of our ways of working together which makes it possible to learn and share a plethora of cultural traditions from throughout our diasporas. Being surrounded by a group of artists willing to share space and their practices graciously and equitably allows for the presence of trust and the ability to have deep conversations that bring all kinds of trauma to the surface, while the group emanates a strong sense of compassion and empathy.
Miami-born actress, musician and teaching artist, Inez Barlatier expresses what many in the cast also appreciate about this work which is what “an immense honor it is to have been chosen by Teo Castellanos himself, to depict a world of truth, magic and multicultural wisdom.” For Inez, this process is one of “awakening” and “transformative discovery”. For each of these performers there is something about being seen, valued and appreciated as part of the creative process that makes this work extra special.
F.Punk Junkies is blessed by the work of two master choreographers with decades of teaching between them who have influenced thousands of international performers while shaping dance culture in South Florida. This provides an incredible opportunity for each performer to consider the influences on our sense of movement. Senior Associate Professor of Dance, co-choreographer Michelle Grant-Murray explains it best. “The responsibility of sharing truth requires courage, tenacity, and a fearless sensibility of what exists beyond the natural world. F-Punk Junkies deconstructs the seen and unseen of universal truths. Black, Brown, and Indigenous People of Color flow in juxtapositions, dualities, and spherical spaces surviving and thriving the tradewinds of existence. The conjuring within these spaces generates profound brilliance, love, and healing.”
Bridging cultures, ages, and life experiences, this “cast of bridge-walkers at different stages of our individual journeys came together to dig into the messiness of what makes us who we are. F/Punk is about much more than those initial ideas that sparked its creation. It’s about healing, it’s about community, medicina, bruxas and brujos, ancestors, and about so much more,” says somatic educator/artist/researcher, Niurca Marquez. Like Maria “Mercy” Lopez, who “realized how her soul needed this,” each performer expresses how valuable creating work in this way is to “seeing one’s worth as an artist and more importantly as a human being.”
Braiding a tapestry dotted with bantu knots, sprinkled liberally with cowrie shells, and adorned with adinkra and feathers “F.Punk Junkies” makes it clear for all of us that as Nirura Marquez reminds us, “there are still so many more stories to tell. Leaning into the stories that make up ‘F.Punk Junkies’ is a ritual of leaning into joy, pleasure, and the recognition that we are still here, an evidencing of silenced voices and the messiness of our encounters in space and time.”
As a collective we say “Adupe…” (we thank you, we thank you, we thank all who had a hand or a heart in the mix.)
What: Teo Castellanos D-Projects: F.Punk Junkies
When: October 3-8, 2022 at 8 pm
Where: The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse
Tickets: on sale now
Eventz Paul is currently the Technical Director and Productions Manager at Miami Light Project. He has been a part of this organization since 2011. He participated in Miami Light Project’s first class of the Technical Fellowship Program held at The Light Box. He joined this program hoping to improve his existing theater skills. He received training from experts in the industry that mentored and further his theater technical skills. Now, he has successfully used his professional knowledge and has had the opportunity to work with various arts organizations and venues throughout Miami including Miami Theater Center, National Young Arts Foundation, the Colony Theatre and many more. He has become an instructor and conducts audiovisual classes to incoming technical fellows.
Beth Boone has been the Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project since 1998, developing critically acclaimed artistic programs that have asserted the organization as one of the leading cultural institutions in South Florida. These programs include: the establishment of Here & Now, South Florida’s most respected commission and presenting program for community-based artists; premiere presentations of internationally acclaimed; pioneering historic international cultural exchange with Cuba; and the creation of The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, a multi-use performance and visual art space in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. She previously served as Associate Director of Development for Florida Grand Opera, Deputy Director for the Department of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade Community College, Wolfson Campus, co-founded an Off Broadway theater company (New York Rep), and served for six years as a Program Associate in the Arts & Culture Program of the AT&T Foundation. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a MFA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University in Boston, MA.