“It was the dance form that spoke most closely to my idea of artistic expression,” said Pesata. “Through that forum, I’ve been exposed to a lot of different places on tour and the company has a lot of reach in different parts of the dance world.”
She’s a part of the company Dancing Earth which combines contemporary dance with Indigenous roots and influence. Fellow dancer Raven Bright says the method of dance is how he branched out in the New Mexico community.
“It was like my introduction to communication skills,” said Bright. “It helped me open up more as a human being.”
Together, along with other performers, they’re not only dancing hip-hop, but also exploring how it merges with Native and Indigenous styles of dance. Pesata is Jicarilla Apache and Bright is Diné.
“They decided to highlight the merging of hip-hop and Native or Indigenous styles of dance,” said Pesata. “Albuquerque is a really unique spot for that because we have such a huge intersection of Native people with the pueblos and tribes that are in the Southwest area.”
Others are taking notice. An award-winning Bay Area series “If Cities Could Dance” is highlighting Albuquerque for this hybrid, specifically featuring the talents of Pesata and Bright.
“It makes me feel good about what I’m doing,” said Bright. “We’re able to develop these different processes of dancing and understand where the roots come from and build upon those roots.”
Both say the experience with the series is surreal. They hope it opens up others, not only to the community’s indigenous history, but also to the experiences Albuquerque’s dance community can bring to the table.
“It’s such a welcoming space from beginners to advanced dancers, all ages, all styles,” said Pesata. “Even though the highlight is on hip-hop, there’s so many sub genres within that.”