NOCTURNA is choreography for inhabiting the night, consisting of carrying out walks through areas or specific neighborhoods of the cities addressed. The walkers are women of different ages who create safe, accompanied, and joyful experiences by fostering supporting group care on each route. During the walks there are suggestions of actions using the body; these trigger play in the spaces, and explore caring and nonviolent ways of relating to, and occupying these.
The routes undertaken and shared here were designed through mapping and by talking to women who live in, and/or use the areas in question. They relate to the architecture, urban infrastructure, and the use inhabitants make of the streets and other spaces, focusing on the space a body occupies within them and possible derivative trajectories. Each route design was influenced by questions such as, How much space is there on a street or sidewalk? How well lit is a certain street? What sort of activity usually takes place in those spaces? Every route includes an open space, however—a park, plaza, or courtyard—where the women involved in reenacting the project can play or dance together. It has not always been possible to do this in every case, due to urban infrastructure conditions.
NOCTURNA seeks to be an essay of freedom in the night. Walking slowly; contemplating the sky, a tree, or a building; or lying down in the park, are all actions historically denied to women, a denial considerably emphasized in the context of violence and death Mexico has been experiencing for over 20 years. In this sense, it seemed imperative to practice other ways of being in public spaces, in less of a rush, with less urgency, with less fear. NOCTURNA activates a space for care rooted in bodily self-acknowledgement and the acknowledgement of other women, because it is based on the principle that group care also implies self-care, and vice versa. Each part of the process needed to bring about this gathering takes time, observation, and dialogue.
Proposing NOCTURNA happen as large-scale choreography is important to Ámbar, to foster dialogue between bodies and the city. So far the project has taken place in Mexico in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (Chiapas), and in Lagos de Moreno, San Juan de los Lagos, and Guadalajara (Jalisco). In 2020, the walk in collaboration with the Chopo University Museum (Museo Universitario del Chopo) in the vicinity of Santa María la Ribera, the Mexico City neighborhood home to this venue, had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Accompanying this text are accounts of the experiences of some of the women who took part in the walks. If you would like to re-create this exercise at a specific location with other women inhabitants of the area, please place your bodies in situations that encourage group care / self care, and share the experience with us at [email protected] for publication. If you would like to organize a walk but do not know where to start, write to us at the above email address and we will send you some useful tools.
Dancer, choreographer and performing arts researcher. Director of ASTROLABIO. Performing arts in context. They are interested in generating contextual research and creative processes, as well as the use of spaces and territoriality in choreography, seeking to weave relationships between the body, the political, urban spaces and affections. A degree graduate of the National School of Contemporary Dance (Colegio Nacional de Danza Contemporánea), they have trained in workshops, courses, and master classes with Meg Stuart, Thomas Lehmen, Xavier Le Roy, and Kazuko Hirabayashi, among others. Luna has worked on creative, collaborative, and management projects since 2009. Since 2015 they have been developing Tenderness Practices (Prácticas de la Ternura), related to the body and movement. They have held numerous grants: PECDA (2012, 2019), APOYARTE (2012, 2015), PADID (CENART, 2014), and FONCA (2013, 2019). They have participated in festivals such as the International Cervantino Festival, Territorios del Arte, the National Dance Festival, Festival MEDIARTE, and Movimiento Sur, among others. Luna has undergone creative and management residencies in Uruguay, Spain, Germany, and Chile. In Mexico, they are part of the Practices for being together collective (Prácticas para estar juntxs), the Network of Mexican Women Choreographers (Tejido de Coreógrafas Mexicanas), and the feminist collective Clitómanas (‘Clitomaniacs’).