History Portfolio

Established in 2007 DHPCo. celebrated 13yrs as a leading dance organization in San Francisco.   The company creates dances that are influenced by the Latinx diaspora in the United States.  To date the company has tackled issues of racial identity, immigration, DACA and forced family separations, religion as culture, cultural poverty, concepts on death, skin color, colorist  queer identity in the Latinx community, and "idolized" Americana.  Some selected few are: 

Resurrection of Everyday People

Premiere: 2019

Z Space, SF

Performers: 5 

Light Design: Ray Oppenheimer

Music/Composer: D. Riley Nicholson 

Costumes: Liz Brent

Time: 45 minutes

 

Resurrection of Everyday People began as a questioning of the cultural & political struggles affecting the country and the loss some communities experienced in social spaces. However, before rehearsals began, David Herrera’s father passed away and the element of loss took on yet another layer of meaning; a more personal one. Returning to the studio, the dance morphed into personal explorations of overcoming, healing, perseverance, and relationships. The power of empathy as a tool for healing and connection to others became the focus. How does life altering loss (be it political, cultural, personal, emotional, or physical) help us gain empathy to others? Can empathy heal the cultural divide affecting the nation by reminding us of our shared humanity? Does empathy serve as a practice to rebuilding ourselves whilst helping to build bridges, rather than walls, between people from different walks of life?”

Photo: Natalia Perez

The Least of Them

Premiere: 2016

Z Space, SF 

Performers: 6

Live Violinist: Colm O'Riain

Music: Adam Starkkopf, Colm O'Riain, Joshua Roberts

Costumes: Keriann Egeland 

Set: Evan Brownstein 

Spoken Word: Flavia Mora

Time: 55 minutes

 

Presented in an audience immersive setting, The Least of Them is a frank conversation of the personal & cultural clashes in current social and political news. In particular, the dance work dissects the way in which race and skin color are used to attack or discredit certain communities. At the start of the performance, audience are labeled into “perceived” racial categories, immediately confronting the workings of racism and stereotypes.  

We ask, which people are sacrificed, which are valued, and when? Events such as the Rachel Dolezal controversy, Donald Trump’s fear agenda against Mexican and Muslim peoples, Black Lives Matter, and the ongoing caught-on-tape beatings against black citizens by white officers, all color the choreography in this poignant and in-you-face performance. 

Photo: Marisa Aragona

TOUCH

Premiere: 2015

Z Space, SF

Performers: 9

Lighting Design: Ray Oppenheimer

Music/Composers: Kevin Dusablon & Michael Forst

Set: Evan Brownstein 

Costumes: Keriann Egeland

Spoken Word: Melisa Bañales 

Time: 45 minutes 

 

As a company who centers the diverse experiences of Latinx people living in the United States, David Herrera Performance Company sheds light to the struggles lived by families torn by deportations, ICE raids, and the experience of immigration.  The dance is inspired by Herrera’s own family, the work of organizations such as United We Dream, which arranges for the children of deported men and women to reunite with their parents at the U.S./Mexico border, and I.D.E.A.S. at UCLA, a student led activist group comprised of DACA recipients and their supporters. TOUCH tells these untold stories, giving visibility to people under the radar of American popular culture; making their stories as real and tangible as the ability to touch itself. 

Photo: Marisa Aragona

the Stranger (Part 1)

Premiere: 2013

Dance Mission Theater, SF

Theatrical Director: Jean Johnstone

Light Design: Meghan "Moe" Beitiks

Music/Composer: Rob Reich ​​

Costume: Keriann Egeland 

Time: 43 minutes

the Stranger is inspired by Herrera’s experience growing up poor in Hollywood, CA. Using the personal stories of the director and cast, “the Stranger” presents the journey of finding and defining oneself through one’s inclusion and exclusion from different communities when class, culture, and media images overlap. In this current episode DHPCo. reveals how a person’s position within America’s class system affects their paths of self and community identity, and the consequences those chosen paths may have. 

Photo: Marisa Aragona

SLUMBER

Premiere: 2012

Dance Mission Theater, SF 

Performers: 9

Theatrical Director: Jean Johnstone 

Light Design: Meghan “Moe” Beitiks

Music/Composer: Kevin Dusablon

Cotumes: Keriann Egeland 

Set/Media: Ben Flax

Time: 60 minutes 

 

Slumber, a traveling installation dance influenced by Dia de los Muertos traditions and loosely following the Greek Orpheus myth, is a theatrical feast for its audience.  The show moves from room to room, transformed to be a living room, the river Stix, a cabaret, and more.  The audience is guided by a most unlikely usher (Death) who invites them to witness the “crossing over” journey.  As they travel, the audience becomes a living set and environment which the performers inhabit. Site specific and effortlessly interactive, the show treks through the place where Life and Death meet. Slumber references various cultural myths and beliefs about death and the underworld including those of Latinx, pan-Asian, Ancient Greek and Native American folklore. Dark but tender and often funny and colorful, this original full-length work challenges many boundaries, including those of theatrical form. 

Photo: Weidong Yang 

American Layercake

Premiere: 2011

Dance Mission Theater, SF

Performers: 7

Theatrical Director: Jean Johnstone

Light Design: Meghan “Moe” Beitiks

Music: Joshua Roberts 

Media Design: Olivia Ting

Time: 43 minutes

 

American Layercake invites the audience to question the definition of the Nuclear Family & American Dream through the lens of a culturally mixed modern family unit: white father, Latina mother, and their lesbian daughter. An omnipresent Chorus directs our focus and guides both characters and audience as we attempt to recognize some of the deep pull these ideals continue to hold, and the enduring need to find a way to feel at home with oneself and one's community. Sometimes humorous, other times raw, always energetic and intensely felt, American Layercake, in its attempts to both shake off and climb beyond the present moment with it's rough-shod immigration laws and it's Mad Men addiction, becomes unwittingly aching and beautiful.

Origins of Flight / Origines de Vuelo: An Immigration Story 

Premiered: 2009

Performers: 9

Light Design: Meghan “Moe” Beitiks

Music/Composer: Joshua Roberts

Time: 50 minutes 

 

 Origenes de Vuelo/Origins of Flight: An Immigration Story was the culmination of DHPCo.'s residency at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. The work presents the harsh realities of immigrating and the on-going struggle immigrants face to maintain their cultural identity in the United States. Origins is based on Herrera's mother's personal immigration experience as a woman. The plot follows the flight of a young Mexican girl who encounters love and loss, cultural backlash, and consequently is forced to look to the unknowns of "El Norte". The evening also spotlights the relationship formed between Mexican mother and her American born son. Origins speaks to the difficult journey where many immigrants sense of identity is defined not by what you have/own, but by hardship, history, and perseverance. 

Photo: MCCLA/Adrian Arias