ROSA DANCES WITH WOLVES
Rosa Dances with Wolves is a community production created by Barrio Alegria to engage community members that are not usually involved in the community. This is the third annual community production we are producing, and the second year of our partnership with the Reading Public Library. In past productions, we had the opportunity to see community members experience life-changing events in their lives. For example, one of the participants said that prior to getting involved in our production, he didn’t feel comfortable with the way he looked and the way he danced. These feelings changed after being part of the production. "I started to love myself and become more confident after discovering that there were people out there who did not judge me."
Each year, our community productions have touched social justice themes. The first year we took a look at the immigrant experience in the US, and the second year we looked identity stories inside the immigrant community. This year we decided to explore the topics of Toxic Masculinity and human trafficking. Toxic Masculinity is an important topic because it shows us that there are ways in which we can start to create a more just environment for all genders. We decided to explore a human trafficking story because the majority believes that this is a problem that happens elsewhere, but in fact, it has allowed for us to be more vigilant because it is happening in our own community.
BCTV Interview about Rosa Dances with Wolves
Reading Eagle Video of Clips from Performance
To explore the changes that our participants are experiencing throughout the production, we decided to employ a survey tool. Some of the participants said that they chose to be part of this production because of the amazing experiences they had in past productions. Others said they are taking part because they feel welcomed at Barrio and want to make a change in the city. When asked, "where were you one year ago?" One participant said, ''last year at this time I felt stuck and I didn’t believe I could continue to grow.''
We also wanted to know if there was something they feared as part of being part of this production. The most common answer? Being challenged to do something that they have never done before. Overall, participants from this production hope to gain confidence in leadership skills, speaking and acting in public, make new friends, but the common theme was the hope to build community by getting to know about each other.