3,002 Matches for Oscar Gonzalez

Oscar Gonzalez, folkloricotopia

Communities change, they grow and become more diverse and then give rise to new groups that aggregate into new communities. As humans it is a natural impulse to look for our place in society and to find ways to contribute. We also reflect on the experiences of our ancestors, and the ways in which their outlook and values have been affected by their own experiences. What were once settlements of varying sizes inhabited by Native American groups changed as they come into contact with outsiders and new settlers, giving rise to displacement but also to a new mestizaje, a coming together or fusion of different peoples, ideas and ways of life. A small rural settlement on the Southwestern frontier can grow dramatically to eventually become a major world metropolis on the Pacific coast. Mexican mestizos were pioneers in this dusty region in the 18th century, a this legacy remains not in the place names of so many settlements but also in the survival of many of these communities. Others came as well and with the growth of the region we saw new communities take root. For example, we saw Italian and French and Portuguese and Jewish communities spring up, among many others, and settle into the nascent metropolis of Los Angeles. The names of our streets gave testament to these communities, as they carved out ethnic neighborhoods from Chinatown to South Central Los Angeles. These places and settlements shift like cultural tectonic plates, and traditional ethnic and social groups morph into something else. Even the barrios of East Los Angeles and enclaves such as Boyle Heights and Highland Park and the valley, that vast region known as the "Valley", will change and become something else. For now, in the first decades of the 21st century, I take note of the vibrant communities that call this place home, communities that look evermore for new expressive forms. I am particularly fascinated by ethnic dance and roots music, and I document folkloricos because of the historical memory they encapsulate. It may be that this art form is motivated by nostalgia and the sense of loss, as it evokes over and over an idealized rural past that is an invention. Whatever the motivation, many Mexican-Americans assert over and over that it makes them feel “closer” to Mexico even as they experience a sense of loss. The settle into life in their communities on this side of the border, they intermarry and their children no longer speak Spanish nor identify with a Mexican outlook. Yes, folk dances are rooted in nostalgia and the need to recapture something, and this need to re-connect may also respond to a search for a balance. It fills an emotional need, and we recognize that folk/ethnic dancing is a vibrant community expression that continues to develop, and is not geared only to tourists, as the famous critique that is leveled at the model provided by Amalia Hernandez's Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, but also addresses a need to consolidate our communities wherever they are found. In the end, we have to take note of the fact that ethnic dance, even in its modern expressions, is once again fundamentally based on the idealization of a rural past that is no longer a part of our active experience. The overwhelming majority of us no longer know what it is like to grow up in small agricultural communities, for we grew up in the cities or in suburbs and are not familiar with the rhythms and the challenges of agricultural life. Folklorico dance incorporates a heavy degree of stylization, which refers to the transformation of traditional structures, movements, technique and wardrobe, to regularize them for repetition in alternate forums, such as stages, and exalt certain movements or themes that attract attention and provide entertainment value. They are no longer the formative ur-dances that were enacted in village plazas or in small family reunions. Our Mexican ancestors in their pueblitos and ranchos did not have “folklorico competitions” with awards ceremonies, although who is to say they didn't compete in their dances? Folk dance performances are consumed by a wider audience than the traditional wedding or village or courtship rituals which they reflect, and they have become part of political discourse as well, as was evident in the incorporation of folk dance and its symbolism in the Chicano protests of the 60s and 70s, or the way protest groups signal out that the Guelaguetza should reflect modern problems. These dances respond to a need our communities feel to build a sense of community that is based on shared values, to obtain recognition for a platform and a need to find a heart-felt and personal expressive language. By practicing folk dances we assert a separate identity and presence, and establish a foundation for expressing other concerns, for as noted above, folk dance also accompanies political expression and organization. This movement may change in the future as our communities become more diverse and we become more intermingled. We may not have a Chicano community per se in a hundred or two hundred years, because our children will be so intermarried with members of other communities that ethnic origin will no longer serve as a basis for organization. Our communities change, but for now, I work to document and record the activity of as many of our groups in the local area as I can, wishing as I do to leave a memory of these expressions, one of many adopted by our communities (dance, visual representation, language, dress, music, literature, ceremonies, holidays such as Dia de los Muertos and others).We were here, and this is part of what gave us our identity. Who can say what will be in 100 years? Ways of life change, but we can leave a testament through art of our presence and our struggles.

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Oscar Gonzalez, racso.gonzalez.92

Saltillo, Mexico

  • Aeropostale
  • cecytec saltillo sur

Oscar currently lives in Saltillo, .
Oscar works at Aeropostale.
and studied at Cecytec Saltillo Sur.

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