Activist Dance Theater

At Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church
Pittsfield, MA: Feb 20 - Feb 23

Event Dates

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CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater

Tuesday 2/20 — Free Dance Party and Workshop
Fri 2/23 — Free Performance

Part of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival

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Get ready to dance! On Tuesday, February 20, Los Angeles-based activist dance theater company CONTRA-TIEMPO will host a community dance party and workshop (“Sabor Session”). Then on Friday, February 23, the company perform an excerpt from their full-length work ¡azúcar!, which brings to life the vibrations of Cuban musician Celia Cruz. The Tuesday dance party and workshop as well as the Friday performance are both free admission, and will be held at the Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church on First Street in Pittsfield.

Walk-ups are welcome at both of these events; however, free registration in advance is recommended, as space is limited.

CONTRA-TIEMPO is a bold, multilingual Los Angeles-based company that creates communities where all people are awakened to a sense of themselves as artists and social change agents who move through the world with compassion, confidence, and joy. The company dances and educates using a physical, visual, and sonic vocabulary that combines Salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip hop, and contemporary dance with theater, compelling text, and original music.

CONTRA-TIEMPO most recently appeared onstage at Jacob’s Pillow as part of the 2021 summer festival, wowing audiences of all ages with their passionate and high-energy approach to dance and storytelling. Families and participants of all ages are invited to come dance, watch, and learn.

This event is part of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, a city-wide event featuring dozens of events, in partnership with Mill Town Foundation. Go to for more information.

Sabor Session and Dance Workshop

Tuesday, February 20 at 6:30pm
The Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First Street, Pittsfield, MA

Get moving and grooving with a “Sabor Session” (from the Spanish word for “flavor”) where CONTRA-TIEMPO will guide participants in Afro-Latin social dance forms that are rooted in radical joy. In the artists’ words: “Together we embody joy as a form of resistance and a tool to build community.” No prior dance knowledge is necessary. Bring comfortable shoes and an open heart. 

Performance of ¡azucar!

Friday, February 23 at 6:30pm
The Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First Street, Pittsfield, MA

This excerpt from the full-length work ¡azúcar! brings to life the vibrations of Cuban musician Celia Cruz, as artists explore ancestral wisdoms about a plant that once aided in our healing, sweetening medicinal concoctions, now extracted, refined, and used as weaponized poison. The development of ¡azúcar! is driven by unearthing the history embedded in the artists’ bodies to courageously name, confront, and intentionally obliterate the often unspoken undercurrent of anti-Blackness in Latinidad. This courageous work is rooted in our Afro-Latine movement languages, the sacred feminine, personal narratives of food, labor, community, sabor, and explorations of ‘familying’ and healing as practices. Join artists for a Q&A following the performance.

Online pre-registration has closed. Tickets are available at the door. Questions? Contact or 413.243.9919 x167.

This performance culminates CONTRA-TIEMPO’s two-week residency in the Pillow Lab, a year-round program that supports U.S.-based and international dance artists during crucial development, research, and technical stages of choreography-driven projects. To learn more about this residency program, click here.

What to expect:
  • Arrival: The venue for both the Feb. 20 Sabor Session and the Feb. 23 Performance is the Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church, located at 74 First Street in Pittsfield (next to The Common). Doors open a half hour prior to each event. Guests will be checked-in at the door; walk-ups are welcome, pending capacity. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.
  • Parking: Parking is available in the public parking lot on First Street between Eagle Street and Fenn Street, across from the Zion Lutheran Church. Metered street parking is also available.
  • Attire: If attending the Sabor Session on Feb. 20, please wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Accessibility: Jacob’s Pillow is committed to creating accessible spaces and experiences. Please contact with accessibility questions or accommodation requests. The Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church is wheelchair accessible.
  • Seating: Please note that seating is limited and general admission. Please arrive early to secure your seats. Standing room and floor seating is also available. Accessible seating can be reserved at
  • Liability and Media Release: By participating, you agree to Jacob’s Pillow’s liability and media release. Please review this information before the events.

About CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater

Artistic Director Ana Maria Alvarez is a prolific choreographer, skilled dancer, masterful teaching artist, and movement activist. A 2020 Doris Duke Artist, an inaugural Dance/USA Artist Fellow, and a two-time grantee of NEFA National Dance Project, Alvarez has achieved multiple accolades for her dynamic works. In 2005, Alvarez founded CONTRA-TIEMPO, a Los Angeles-based activist theater dance company that draws upon salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip hop, and contemporary dance to awaken audiences and create communities. In the Fall of 2022, Alvarez joined the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Theatre and Dance Department as a tenured dance faculty. Through her research and work with CONTRA-TIEMPO and in collaboration with her colleagues and students, Alvarez is imagining and designing a new future for embodied performance and practice at UCSD. The company has been celebrated by the Los Angeles Times as a company that “represents the kind of socially aware contemporary work that only a few dance artists such as Bill T. Jones reliably provide.” Alvarez and CONTRA-TIEMPO were invited for multiple tours in Central and South America as cultural ambassadors through the U.S. State Department and have toured their work for almost 2 decades. | @contra_tiempo