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Meet Brenda Reyes-Chavez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenda Reyes-Chavez.

Brenda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My artistic practice was born and raised in my bedroom. Growing up, I spent most of my time writing, drawing, coloring, singing, playing dress-up and sewing. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a fashion designer, so I put my focus towards refining my technical skills. College really changed everything for me, my major (apparel merchandising and management) was not the creative outlet I expected, but I found refuge in the dance studio where I met my friend and mentor Gayle Fekete, Department Chair for New Dance. She taught me to trust the process, ‘stay in the frying pan’, and embrace mistakes. I was invited to join the dance ensemble, which was a small cohort of modern dancers interested in experimentation.

In this ensemble group, I had the opportunity to choreograph and mentor other students in the dance department. During that time, I was also invited to join mechanism dancetheatre collective and have been a part of the group since 2013? my work incorporates dance, installation, visual aids and storytelling. My most recent work’s focus on personal histories which have allowed me to work with my parents on ‘art’. I have also been collaborating with artist, educator and mentor Harry Gamboa Jr. on a few site-specific photographic performances.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There is always going to be a struggle. Without resistance how will my muscles grow?

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an artist. I like to experiment with my body. I like to dance, write, talk, sew, design and edit video/sounds. I am known for my interactive installation performance works. I feel proud to have the chance to share my family history and develop deep connections with others through this. I am so grateful.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First of all, I have to thank my parents. My mother was always there to listen to my poems, she taught me how to sew, and has been a faithful artistic collaborator. My father taught me about architecture, spacial awareness, and the value of craftsmanship.

Gayle Fekete (for awakening this THING in me), Jennifer Gerry & Manuel Macias (for inviting me to join Mechanism Dancetheatre Collective), Gabriela Garza-Vazquez, Santino Lojero, Harry Gamboa Jr., and my close group of friends who are always there to give me constructive critique.

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