Pub date August 26, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionDance

PREVIEW For one reason or another, you still need to have a pipeline into the "ethnic" dance community to find Latino choreographers, and so far few contemporary choreographers have emerged from their midst. That said, the first San Francisco performance by Los Angeles–based CONTRA-TIEMPO, at the very least, promises a glance at how young Latinos see themselves in a contemporary urban context. Like her older counterpart Merian Soto on the East Coast, Ana Maria Alvarez is fascinated with salsa as an expression of Latino identity. A 2005 performance of the company’s signature piece Against the Times/CONTRA-TIEMPO, inspired by salsa’s inherent rhythmic contradictions, presented an ensemble in which the women were as likely to lead as the men. This signature piece is both an edgy examination of what Alvarez has called a look at "the complexity of resistance and struggle for Latinos in the United States" and a joyous celebration of community. Included in the sound score are voice-over quotes by the likes of César Chávez, Che Guevara, José Martí, Pablo Neruda, and Gabriela Mistral. The show opens with CONTRA-TIEMPO’s newest company work, I Dream America (2007), a 40-minute "movement opera" inspired by Langston Hughes. The piece looks at tensions between African Americans and Latinos. Also included is a pure salsa piece, Alba Ache (2007), for two couples: one on screen, one on stage.

CONTRA-TIEMPO Fri/29–Sat/30, 8 p.m., $25. CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF. (415) 626-2060,