Statement of Purpose

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My experience as an Afro-Latino actor stretches back over fifteen years when I joined the Teatro Escola Macunama in São Paulo, Brazil. At that time, my goal was to become a professional theatre actor. This experience exposed me to different acting systems such as Stanislavsky’s method of physical actions; Brecht’s Epic Theatre and its distancing effect; Grotowski’s experimental Poor Theatre; and Lee Strasberg’s technique of improvisation and affective memory. In the end, the rigor of my training taught me that discipline must exceed the refining of a particular technique, because the maturation of an actor stems from a relentless reflection over the practice. In my case, such premise made me join the legendary Teatro Experimental de Cali (TEC), Colombia; led by the late maestro Enrique Buenaventura.

I worked as an actor for Buenaventura’s company, which was part of the new wave of the Latin American theatre called El Nuevo Teatro. This movement, influenced by Marx’s dialectical materialism, presented two alternative trends. The first was a search for cultural roots and national identity through works drawn from folkloric traditions, popular culture, and historical events. The second was a search for the particular in the general through the exploration of the Western tradition of theatre. That is to say, we performed the classics in such ways that they spoke through the social and cultural scripts of the context where we came from. In doing so, I learned the value of cultural traditions and social practices and joined the effort to preserve our collective memory and cultural identity. Consequently, as an artist, the aesthetic of my artwork must express a creative and critical position with respect to the social and political issu...

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...nterest in cross-disciplinary research on religious rituals and aesthetics of the Black Atlantic drives my desire to pursue the MA program in Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts. NYU’s interdisciplinary educational opportunities coupled with resources such as the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and the access to prominent scholars such as Diana Taylor, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara Browning, and José E Muñoz represent the perfect setting for my pursuit to study the praxes and epistemologies of underrepresented communities whose voices need to be heard in academia. I hope to have the opportunity to contribute my experience and enthusiasm to the program, the fields of performance studies as well as Latin American & hemispheric studies, and to the cultural identity and social practices of communities from the Black Atlantic.

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