Photo of the Day: a blast from the past!

Today we received a visit from an old friend: Rachel Anderson, who served as Production Manager (among several hats worn at Milagro) back in 2003-4. A graduate of Reed College, she began as an intern before going on to collaborate on at least 4 productions.

As she was reminiscing with José and Dañel we got to learn she is now a professor at Franklin & Marshall College, teaching directing. Thanks for dropping by, Rachel, it was great to see you!

Photo of the Day: 'Burguesa goes to work

Just another day of work, as Ajai Terrazas Tripathi and the juicy hamburguesa from Sueños de Fútbol head for another performance. (Photo courtesy A.T.T.)

The touring show about Candi, a young girl who discovers her inner champion as she learns ancient Mayan tales, continues making its way to community centers and summer programs around the region. If you are interested in catching a public performance or bringing one of our performances to your community, contact Alida Holguín Wilson-Gunn or call 503-236-7253.

Coming to La Luna Nueva: Luciana Proaño

It is less than two months before the launch of our annual arts festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, but the line-up of La Luna Nueva 2014 is already stirring up the excitement. This year's edition, like almost the entirety of our 31st Season, brings to Portland something seldom (or never!) seen before with a series of premieres. (Visit after Aug. 1 for full schedule of events.)

La Luna Nueva features local and international artists with traditional and innovative perspectives on Latino arts, and the opening weekend (Sep. 12-14) brings back to Milagro one of these talents from our very own city: Luciana Proaño. The renowned dancer and choreographer has collaborated with us in a few productions, beginning with the Touring and Education production, Mi Gente, Mi Vida in 1995. Learn more about this engaging artist in the following excerpt from LUCIANA PROAÑO, THE ARTIST IN SPRINGTIME by our own Olga Sanchez, which originally appeared in El Hispanic News, March 5, 2014:
One of Luciana Proaño’s earliest memories is hearing The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky’s modern classic, on her father’s record player.  She was three years old, living in her native Peru, and Stravinsky’s fragmented music with its unpredictable rhythms stirred her to dance immediately. Again and again, whenever The Rite of Spring was played (which was often as it was her father’s favorite music), she would be moved to dance.  These childhood impulses launched a lifelong relationship with dance, music and art.  She went on to study classical and indigenous forms of dance: ballet and modern, Andean and Afro-Peruvian, as well as anthropology.  She spent years living in different regions of Peru, learning as much as she could about its thousands of classified dances and their history.  

These experiences have formed the foundation of Proaño’s work. Over the years she has generated more than 40 dance performances, each with distinct concepts and styles, drawn from her life events, often inspired by literature that she has distilled and reshaped. She is an eclectic creator, not unlike Stravinsky, this spirit of improvisation and spontaneity remains very much at the center of her creativity influencing not only the dance, but her costumes and scenic design. […]

Proaño finds it interesting that for an artist who is so committed to working in the present moment, her investigation is grounded in the repetitiveness of the life cycle. She explains this as a paradox. 'Our life wouldn’t make as much sense if we only thought in linear time,' she says.  'Our sense of hope might not exist. The past is a validation of the future, but this validation can only happen in the present.' […]

Proaño enjoys reviewing the effects of history.  In Lima she experienced a rich cultural education but also 1000% inflation. She knows that the US has never experienced anything similar.  In circumstances like that, she says, 'all you have is your education and your imagination. You learn to live in the moment.  It doesn’t justify suffering but it teaches you how to survive by being present to opportunities and truth'.  Working close to the renowned Peruvian theatre company Yuyachkani reinforced her philosophy, 'Work with what you have.'

Proaño has been called an Intellectual Dancer for exploring themes of life’s meaning and life’s cycles in her works.  She says, 'I do not perform to be admired, I perform to let you into a new possibility, I dance to open a door.' […]
Luciana Proaño will be collaborating on a fascinating exploration of the history of the Andes from Inca times and beyond, which will be performing during the opening weekend of the 2014 La Luna Nueva festival of Latino arts and culture. Call 503-236-7253 or go online to order your passes for this season and don't miss all the exciting events starting September 12!

Flashback Friday: Who wore it better?

Whew! Just finished with JAM: July At Milagro, our first program in our '14-15 Season!

But today we wanted to go back and kick it old school with this shot from our award winning production in the '11-12 season, Oedipus El Rey, contrasting Nick Ortega and his vatos locos with some hip and stylin' guys from Bangkok who've adopted the Mexican gangster look becoming what our Identity Bootcamp moderator called "identity hoppers", and creating a very interesting subculture.
 So what do you think? Who wears the Mexican Cholo look better? Let us know in the comments, and also take the opportunity to sound off on our 30th season with this simple survey (available in Spanish also)!

¿Qué te gustó más? Dínos ¡y gana!

Por favor, conteste nuestra encuesta.

JAM: Julio en Milagro es el comienzo oficial de nuestra trigésimo primera temporada y ¡tenemos tanto preparado! Pero hoy queremos recordar algunos de los mejores momentos de la temporada pasada, y de paso, ¡pedir tu opinión!

Aún si participaste en todos o te perdiste alguno de nuestros eventos y presentaciones, dános tu opinión y ayudanos con esta breve encuesta. Podrías ganarte dos entradas a uno de nuestros siguientes espectáculos. Y claro, siempre nos puedes contactar en Facebook.

Nuestra Trigésima Temporada presentó producciones que conquistaron a público y crítica por igual:

    • La celebración anual celebration del Mes de la Hispanidad, La Luna Nueva (este año comienza Sep. 12)
    • Corrido Calavera, la producción de Día de los Muertos escrita y dirigida por Lakin Valdez (quien regresa este mes con un taller extraordinario)
    • La conmovedora obra de Milagro Tour, Cuéntame Coyote por la Directora Fundadora Dañel Malán
    • Ardiente Paciencia que trajo al escenario la vida y poesía de Neruda
    • La irreverente comedia que arremete contra los prejuicios con carcajadas, Learn to Be Latina

    También organizamos varios eventos especiales:
    • Exhibiciones de arte y actividades de conciencia cultural en el vestíbulo del teatro durante las presentaciones
    • JAM '13 que incluyó clases para hacer piñatas y máscaras, cocina mexicana y colombiana, y una clase de tango
    • Mujeres, nuestra fiesta y show para conmemorar el Día Internacional de la Mujer
    • Posada, la celebración comunitaria de Navidad al estilo latinoamericano
    • Degustaciones de vinos y mezcal
    • Visitas a los altares y exhibiciones de arte para grupos escolares

    Todo esto y mucho más fue parte de tan sólo un año en la vida de Milagro. Nos encantaría saber cuál fue tu parte favorita, y como hacerlo aún mejor durante la temporada '14-'15.  Y no te olvides seguirnos también en  Facebook, Twitter y Pinterest!

    What did you love the most?

    Please take the 30th Season Survey!

    JAM: July at Milagro officially kicks off our 31st season and there is so much in store! But today we want to take a look at some of the biggest events in the past year, and of course, hear from you!

    Whether you participated in all or missed some of our events and performances, let us know and help us by taking this short survey. It could mean two tickets for you to one of our shows! Of course, you can always contact us through our Facebook page!

    Our 30th Season featured productions that won over audiences and critics:
    • The annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, La Luna Nueva (this year's starts Sep. 12)
    • Corrido Calavera, the Day of the Dead production written and directed by Lakin Valdez (who's returning this July with a unique workshop)
    • The touching production from Milagro Tour, Cuéntame Coyote by Founding Director Dañel Malán.
    • Ardiente Paciencia brought to the stage the life and poetry of Neruda
    • The irreverent race riot that had everyone gasping and laughing, Learn to Be Latina

    We had also had many special events:
    • Art exhibits and cultural-awareness activities in the lobby for every performance
    • JAM '13 included piñata- and mask-making, Mexican and Colombian cooking, and a tango class
    • Mujeres, our late-night Ladies' Night celebrating International Women's Day
    • Posada, a community Christmas celebration in a traditional Latin American style
    • Wine and Mezcal tastings
    • Art and Altar visits for school groups

    All this and so much more were part of just one year at Milagro. We would love to hear what you thought, what your favorite part was, and how we may make our '14-'15 Season even greater! And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

    This summer, have a taste of Colombia!

    One of the best parts of a multicultural society is without a doubt the food, and sharing it with friends makes it so much better! July At Milagro is bringing you a chance to pick up some delicious hot weather recipes from south of south of the border! Sign up for the Colombian Cooking class offered by our own Julieth Buri and get ready to set the table South American style!

    The cuisine of Colombia is made up of delightful combinations of fresh, tropical ingredients and techniques developed in indigenous, Spanish, African, Arab and Asian kitchens throughout history. Although it features some unique and unusual offerings such as hormigas culonas and chuncullo (roasted ants and chitterlings, respectively), the dishes are just as delicious as their international counterparts while enhanced with the wonderful fruits, vegetables and legumes that thrive in the lush and colorful land of "El Dorado."

    Summer refreshments, however, make the most of fruits whether whole or juiced, and the variety available in the South American country has spawned a plethora of cool and nutritious treats. Some favorite ingredients are bananas (in several different varieties), zapote, passion fruit, guanábana, guava and noni, and the much less exotic strawberry.

    Join Marketing Director Julieth this Thursday July 17 and learn how to prepare some of her own Colombian summer favorites!

    There is much more JAM for you though; check out the full schedule of classes and sign up - including the exciting Fun Family Day, with free admission for children under 12!

    Whet your apetite for some Mexican specialties!

    There's so much fun and learning during JAM with its craft classes and the performance/workshop during Family Fun Day! But don't forget there's also great food to go with the great times!

    Erubiel Valladares, who's currently getting ready to present Sueños de Fútbol on July 12, will be teaching a one-night class for you to learn his secrets in preparing two delicious and popular Mexican dishes, quesadillas de flor de calabaza (squash blossom quesadillas) and ceviche. Read on to learn more about these platillos, and sign up today for this and the rest of the activities during JAM!

    About quesadillas:
    Although the quesadilla is a staple of Mexican cuisine - and how could the simple combination of tortilla and cheese not become one? - there are lots of variations for every taste. 
    Emerging into history during Mexico's colonial period, this XVIII Century invention quickly found itself adapted to the different climates and seasons throughout the country, much like the pre-Columbian enchilada (the native groups did not consume dairy products). In the central regions, the half-moon nest made by tortilla and cheese opened to welcome squash blossom, an aromatic and nutritious part of traditional diets. Although the female blooms of the curcubita pepo turn into the calabacita (or calabacín) fruit, it is the male flowers that produce the best flavor, and are a great source of potassium, calcium, folic acid and Vitamin A.

    About ceviche (also spelled cebiche, seviche):
    Ceviche is far from unique to Mexico, but the regional variants set them apart. In fact, the origins of the dish are marinated in mystery just like the seafood it's made with is steeped in an acidic substance. Although the true roots may be tied to the Polynesian migration to South America or even the Moorish cuisine of Spain (the name cebiche might be derived from either the Latin cibus or the Arabic sakbaj), the common denominators are the cured fish or seafood and the chopped spiced vegetables. From Perú (where the dish first probably made landfall in the Americas) to California and beyond, this delicious and easy-to-prepare concoction, every region has made ceviche its own, and why not?

    Join us for JAM and prepare to delight your family and friends with your new culinary skill, and while you're at it, take a craft class or enjoy a bilingual show! Call 503-236-or write for more information!

    Lo que estaban buscando: Taller de actuación en español

    Milagro junto a la actriz y educadora Nelda Reyes  se unen para la failitación de un curso de técnica de actuación enfocada en la creación de personaje ¡este verano!. El curso va dirigido a todos los aspirantes a actores y actores con experiencia que esten interesados en aprender y/o afianzar su el proceso de creación de personajes por medio de ejercicios teatrales, trabajo de análisis de texto, exploración física y trabajo de escenas de obras contemporáneas de autores Latinoamericanos.

    El taller se impartirá en español y está diseñado para personas cuyo primer o segundo idioma es el español. English speakers with Spanish conversational level are welcome and encouraged to participate.

    ¡Los esperamos!

    Edades: Adultos, adultos mayores y jóvenes mayores de 14 años.
    Lugar: El Centro Milagro, 525 SE Stark Ave. Portland, OR. 97214 — En el estudio del teatro
    Horario: 8 sesiones entre semana de Lunes a Jueves.  6 a 9 pm. Agosto 4 al 15.
    Costo: $100, incluye instrucción y materiales.
    Depósito  de $50 al inscribirse. El resto a pagarse el primer día de clases.
    Cupo Máximo: 15 personas.
    Más Información e Inscripciones contactar a Olga Sanchez llamando al 503-236-7253 ext.117 o a traves del correo electronico:

    Acerca de la Instructora
    Nelda Reyes se graduó de la Maestría en Teatro en Portland State University y es educadora y actriz profesional. Nelda es originaria de México D.F. y ha estudiado en la escuela de Teatro de Moscú de la Universidad de Harvard, en México con el maestro Luis de Tavira y Teatro Línea de Sombra además de trabajar para la Compañía de Teatro de La Universidad de Guadalajara. Ha sido asistente de dirección y directora escénica en varias ocasiones para ópera y teatro en México y USA. Además de fungir como dramaturga y traductora de piezas teatrales, canciones y poesía para la escena. Recientemente ha trabajado  como actriz en múltiples producciones en el Miracle Theatre Group tales como Entre Villa y una Mujer Desnuda y  Dance for a Dollar)  y actualmente se prepara para la producción de Sam Shepard´s Festival of One Acts. en Profile Theatre.  Nelda Reyes es actriz y co-creadora de Leyendas de Mexico- Legends of Mexico, un programa educativo bilingüe de cuentacuentos y música prehispánica actualmente en gira por Oregon y Washington y es miembro fundador de Nuestro Canto, agrupación dedicada a la transmisión del arte y cultura mexicanas a través de la educación.

    Explore "Theatre of the Sphere ©" with Milagro and Lakin Valdez

    The lazy days of summer are nothing of the kind at Milagro: we continue working to bring you more great ways to celebrate or learn about Latino art and culture. This July, the nationally recognized director, writer and performing artist Lakin Valdez returns to Portland with an innovative workshop.

    Join Lakin Valdez, writer and director of Milagro Tour's next production for this unique opportunity. Created from authentic stories from los líderes del movimiento, "Searching for Aztlán" will focus on the roles that women have played in the history of Chicanismo and los MEChistAs and into the future of Latinidad.  Join us in exploring the physical, cognitive, and spiritual processes of developing an ensemble-based approach to theatre making that will be applied to the creation of the play, so share your heart, mind and body -- and gain insight into this unique Chican@ theatre methodology. Monday July 28th from 6:30 – 8:30pm Only  $30 per person!  Limited enrollment. e-mail for RSVP

    “The Vibrant Being/Theatre of the Sphere Workshop ©” is a theatrical and motivational workshop designed to enhance the natural learning and communicative abilities of each individual.  Physical, emotional and mental exercises designed to unlock both individual and group awareness will draw parallels to other world systems of meditation and movement.  Among the many learning outcomes of this workshop, three ancient Mayan precepts are key and central: 1) In Lak’ Ech, which means You are my other self-if I love and respect you, I love and respect myself; 2) Menyah, which is the Mayan work ethic, meaning To Believe is to Create, to Do with Love and Pain; and 3) K’ukulkan AKA Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent or Enlightened Being of the Americas, as the Link between Popular Art and Spirituality.

    The ball (bol) will be the anchoring device in the workshop. Through the use of the ball, literally and metaphorically as a symbol, the workshop participant will come to identify and understand the associative holistic qualities of the body, heart and mind. Through theatrical group exercises, participants will discover how to effectively channel the complexity and depth of their experience into the fabric of their lives.

    WORKSHOP MATERIALS: please bring your own soccer ball, and be prepared to move and explore the space with your body and mind. 

    You will need:

    •    Soccer Ball
    •    Journal and writing utensils
    •    Movement Attire: e.g. sweat pants, yoga pants, T-shirts, dance shoes (leather soles) or bare feet (no socks)

    Lakin Valdez, director, writer, and performing artist, was born and raised in the extended family of El Teatro Campesino.  He served as the company’s Associate Artistic Director from the years 2000 to 2005. Since 2004, Lakin has written, directed and performed in more than a dozen plays, culminating in work that reflects the rich history and vibrant culture of the Latino/Chicano community. His body of work has been described as “Powerful” (L.A. Times), “Consummately engaging” (Variety), to “Hauntingly intense” (San Francisco Chronicle). He is the recipient of two NPN Creation Fund Awards, a Zellerbach Award and NEA Access to Excellence Award for his generative work.

    Tina Harris, one of JAM 14 instructors

    We are super excited for our upcoming summer camp for adults, J.A.M.! Learning traditional crafts, recipes from different Latin American countries and more!
    Read on to learn more about the instructor on deck to teach you how to make your very own
    cajita de muertos (Day of the Dead shadowbox), and sign up for a class today!

    I have been creating a variety of Mexican art for about three years. My interest grew when I started making simple magnets with the images from the Lotería, or Mexican Bingo. I grew up playing Mexican Bingo with my mom and sisters and the images have always been so appealing to me, especially La chalupa! I also gained a great interest in making shadow boxes of various types, while using iconic images of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Creativity with Mexican arts and crafts has allowed me to learn so much more about the culture and to inspire others to keep it alive!

    This workshop will focus on making a variety of shadow boxes while utilizing famous Mexican art images. Color will be highly emphasized, as the boxes will be painted with many different colors that will fit ones taste and creativity. The boxes will represent individual uniqueness, while maintaining traditional aspects of the vibrant culture.
    — Tina Harris

    Join Tina for a two-session workshop on July 9th & 10th.
    Only $10 per class which includes materials! Register today by e-mail,  calling 503-236-7253 or following the link

    The Brief Story of a Long-Lasting Milagro, Part III

    As we gear up for a party three decades in the making, our own Vicente Guzman-Orozco gives us a glimpse (for some of us, a memory) of the lasting legacy and accomplishments of the unique institution that is Milagro. 
    Join us on June 24th for a sangría (or Deschutes beer) toast, delectable tapas from Mayahuel Catering, and the passionate flamenco of Mark Ferguson. Buy your ticket to Milagro's 30th Cumpleaños today!

    The company’s growth led to finding its own home away from the Northwest Service Center in what would become El Centro Milagro in 1995, and as its inaugural event it organized one of the most iconic Latino celebrations in the city: the annual festival around Day of the Dead, complete with ofrenda exhibits and an original production. The celebration continues to draw participants from near and far, with the most recent edition featuring a play written and directed by Lakin Valdez, who grew up as an integral part of El Teatro Campesino, the company founded by his father, Luis.

    Audience members are not the only ones impressed by the results of Gonzalez and Malán’s hard work. In addition to attracting artists to participate and collaborate with the company, critics have also taken notice, and Milagro has won 27 Drammy acting and technical awards since 1999, and garnering the support of foundation and corporate supporters such as Nike, Inc. and the Northwest Area Foundation.

    The connection to the local Hispanic community has also prompted collaborations with health, housing and education organizations to produce everything from summer camps to creating entire outreach campaigns preventing smoking, breast and cervical cancer and HIV/STIs. While the touring component continues to perform for young children to encourage interest in the arts and literacy, the reach of the educational efforts is grown, touring nationally and even participating in international events, such as Mexico’s Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato. This summer, Malán will be a presenter at the Oregon Association of Bilingual Education.

    Milagro established itself as a reflection and representation of the professional artistry in the Hispanic community, and it continues to serve as a beacon for people seeking to present and experience the immense variety of Latino art and culture. At its 30th Anniversary mark, it is remarkable what it continues to contribute to Portland's cultural landscape: commissioning and exhibiting visual artists; developing local performing talent; hosting international musicians in a rich panoply that encompasses Flamenco, classical, hip hop and folk musicians; presenting and promoting Latino playwrights whether emerging or established, the company stands strong . “Always irreverent, never irrelevant”, Milagro's most recent production was the Northwest premiere of “Learn to be Latina”, a scathing comedy skewering preconceptions and the winner of the first “Great Gay Play” contest.  

    Milagro proudly continues its evolution into the future, utilizing social media, creating interactive projects such as Mujeres, and making green improvements to El Centro Milagro. From dream to reality, what Gonzalez and Malán created is as much a part of the history of Portland as its Hispanic population, and the Latin beat keeps pulsing in Central Eastside.

    Walk down memory lane with us as we celebrate three decades of the best of Latino art and culture in the Northwest and help set the stage for many more! Get your ticket to Milagro's 30th Cumpleaños today!

    Help us to do what we do better! follow the link and fill out our  anniversary season survey, you can win tickets to any of our 2014-2015 season productions!