by Alexis Saenz
My name is Alexis Saenz I am a member of the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) and a professional dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles, CA. I moved out here 7 years ago for college. I attended California Institute of the Arts and got my Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. Since then, I have pursued a career in the professional dance industry and have since been fortunate enough to book commercials, live performances and music videos.
What has really fueled me in between jobs has been my ability to create. I've been fortunate enough to present my work in LA's top choreographer showcases such as Club Jete and Choreographer's Carnival. The project I am going to share with you, called HOME, is a dance-for-camera project that I created back in 2016 around the same time my brothers and sisters were fighting in Standing Rock. This piece will always ring true to my life.
What does home mean to me? Home is all the places that make me feel my most pure form: dance, nature and Colorado. These are the places I’ve buried my heart. What does it mean to feel present and one with yourself within your environment? Can we find this place? What helps us find this. These are all questions I was curious to explore and feel presently. I believe that the feeling of being present with yourself and within your environment is something that is hard to find, especially within our day to day lives. Most of the time, when we find this place it’s when we are away from our lives, on vacation, or going on a walk or run, which usually involves nature.
Nature is the most natural and pure thing we have in life. It’s beauty is immense and helps us find ourselves in our most pure form. It is what keeps this planet alive. It is what helps us survive. Like nature, our souls are the most beautiful when we can tap into their pure, raw, organic state. It takes a lot of internalization and nature can be a place to help find this state of mind. When we are in nature, the silent, calm, aliveness that surrounds us is where we can find peace. Everything that is alive, the trees, the ocean, the animals, us, we are all the same, we are all related, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. We all have the beauty that flows through the universe. Nature is what keeps us close to the Infinite Divine, where we were created. This piece is meant to invoke the feeling of being home with one’s self and finding natural and true inner beauty. The movement created for this piece came from a very pure place and every gesture and body of movement has a meaning, a purpose.
“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.” –Wayne Dyer
The music I chose enabled me to see my vision come to life, with its ebb and flow of voice and beat. There is something so open about the music behind Sylvan Esso’s lyrics and as I listened to ‘Play it Right’ all I saw was nature and open space. My piece was meant to be created to this song. The ending of the piece is in retrograde, suggesting that I was not in these beautiful nature places. It then shows me sitting in these places after the fact. When all is said and done, even if I am not there physically, my heart and soul still are.
Earth is my home. Colorado is my home. It’s where I was born and where I grew up.
Even when I die, my body will remain here on this Earth and become one with nature. While my soul will travel the Universe to find the next infinite part of nature. This piece is my most pure form of home, my soul and my art form. Earth is a beautiful place and we must take care of her and protect her now more than ever. It is a part of who we are, we must Protect Mother Earth.
The Process of Remembering
I am in the process of gearing up for my next big project which is called the, The Process of Remembering, and is all about self-love. In this 7-part visual I will be collaborating with some amazing artist, colleagues and friends. This is very close to my heart as I will be exposing some very vulnerable parts of my soul. Essentially, all the version of me and what I hope to become.
The IIYC is currently building a self and community health and wellness program called Mi Vida Su Vida, or My Life, Your Life. This program provides culturally responsive prevention, intervention and treatment methods that are done in tandem to build capacity for individuals, families and communities to gain self-efficacy, confidence and knowledge to become informed healthcare consumers. We focused on Curanderismo and BodyTalk, culture, de-colonization, sexuality, harm reduction (education around HIV prevention and other STDs as well as substance abuse), building healthy relationships, food as medicine (diabetes and heart health) mental health (depression, anxiety, PTSD, violence), and arts & culture activities (ceremonies and community events). This training really helped me learn, grow, understand and cope with some of the things I deal with and it inspired some of my visuals for The Process of Remembering.
One of the other IIYC members, Marleen and I got to discussing about who we are during the training. I told here I've always felt like as a mixed-raced womxn, it has been hard for me to find who I am, know who I am, stand in who I am and love who I am. She explained that before we are born we know who we are and where we come from. When we are born, we forget and this life is our process of remembering who we are. This made complete sense to me as I had already had a few visuals in my head for this project. I am going through a transitional period in my life. I am trying to understand and find myself, while completely loving myself for who I am. This moment laid the foundation for The Process of Remembering.
I have created a GoFundMe to help create this new piece around the 7 visuals. Like HOME, paying professional videographers to film and edit, renting space to rehearse and costumes, can cost a lot of money. I am asking for your help! If you can donate please visit my GoFundMe page.
ANY AND ALL SUPPORT IS ACCEPTED (including prayers, love and positive energy).
This is a struggle I have bared for many years. The IIYC and dance have been there to guide and help me along the way. I’ve begun to create pieces such as HOME, trying to understand who I am and what makes me feel the most pure. This is a life’s journey. The Process of Remembering is a glimpse into that journey and piece of my heart.
Always love yourself. Embrace the beautiful, raw, organic, vulnerable, and pure state that makes you, YOU and takes you home.