Luna Negra Dance Theater brings Latin talent to CSUN

The Luna Negra Dance Theater is bringing contemporary dance to CSUN.

Veronica Guadalupe, dancer and rehearsal director, said the mission of the Chicago-based company is to promote Latino and Hispanic choreographers.

“We might not always use music that’s of Latin origin but all of our choreographers are Hispanic or Latino,” she said, adding that dancers represent a range of ethnicities.

courtesy of Cheryl Mann

There is no typical performance for Luna Negra and different choreographers have different preferences, Guadalupe said. She added that some may incorporate a video into the piece or include theatrical elements.

Luna Negra will perform in the Plaza Del Sol on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets for students are $24.

The dance theater was founded in 1999 by Eduardo Vilaro. He chose the name ‘Luna Negra,” which he defined as ‘dark moon,’ to represent the way the moon looks at various times during the course of a month, Guadalupe said.

The moon can be full or as small as a sliver during that time and can have different shades of color and this mirrors the wide variety of skin tones seen in those of Hispanic descent, she said.

“Some can look very white or very dark and everything in between and still be Hispanic or Latino,” she said.

Guadalupe has been with the company since 2002. She previously worked with Vilaro, the original artistic director, and is now working with his successor Gustavo Ramirez Sansaro.

She said Sansaro’s European background will enhance the cultural flavor of the company.

“He has really interesting and unique movements as well as ideas, so I have all faith in him,” she said.

Sansaro moved to Chicago in August to assume his new role as artistic director. He said he makes decisions regarding all artistic aspects of the performance, including choosing dancers and choreographers and organizing outreach programs.

Luna Negra brings dance to Chicago neighborhoods and schools through outreach programs, especially to those who would otherwise never see a performance, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the dance, it’s about the communication,” Sansaro said. “It’s amazing how dance can change the perception of a student.”

Monica Cervantes, dancer and rehearsal director, compared a Luna Negra performance to the way some people feel after watching a powerful film.

“When you go to see a movie sometimes, it will really touch you and it leaves you with emotions,” she said.

Sansaro said Luna Negra dancers must be able to perform a variety of dance styles.

“They have to be really versatile,” he said. “What they all have in common is the capacity to adjust.”

He said he wants to show people that the production is about the art of movement.

“Latino is not just salsa or flamenco, Latino is a lot of things that we still have to discover,” he said.