A Place at the Table
Raise Your Voice
Screenshot of Video for A Place at the Table


March 23, 2021


4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Social Justice

CONTRA-TIEMPO Artistic Director Ana Maria Alvarez talks one-on-one with fierce creators about how they work as activists and artists in this world. Providence-based interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and arts administrator Shey Rivera Ríos takes their place at the table for the FirstWorks installment of this weekly series.


ANA MARIA ALVAREZ is a Cuban-American choreographer, born and raised in the Southern and Northeastern United States. A 2020 Doris Duke Award recipient, she has received other numerous awards and recognition from the arts world and beyond, including selection for DanceMotionUSA (BAM and US Department of the State), The Association of Performing Arts Presenters Emerging Leaders Institute and Leadership Think Tank, Mujeres Destacadas from LA Opinion (newspaper), LA City Council District 11, Durfee Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico and Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s Artist in Progress Award among others. She is a five-time grant recipient from the Center for Creative Innovation, a four-time grant recipient from the National Association for Latino Arts and Cultures, four-time LA Department of Cultural Affairs Artist in Residence grantee and was recently awarded a grant from the NEA as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Most recently her new evening length work “Full Still Hungry” was supported by the James Irvine Foundation and United States Artists (through their online support program). In the last few years, Alvarez has been commissioned by Jamie Nichols’ Celebrate Dance, St. Joseph’s Ballet (Now called the Wooden Floor) and CounterPULSE’s Performing Diaspora Festival. Last year Alvarez was invited to choreograph the first of seven plays about Hunger with Cornerstone Theater and Homeboy Industries. Alvarez is regularly invited to speak about her work, and recently spoke at a DanceUSA Annual Conference and at El Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Chile, about “fusion and the use of traditional movement forms in contemporary dance.” In 2012 Alvarez was invited by the LA Department of Cultural Affairs and America Dance Abroad, to represent Los Angeles contemporary dance and CONTRA-TIEMPO at the Internationale Tanzmesse, in Dusseldorf, Germany. Several months later, she was invited back to Dusseldorf to participate in a new choreographers lab called IPAY Kindling/Fresh Tracks. Alvarez was selected from a competitive pool of applicants, as the only North American Choreographer to participate in this new program. The development of her newest work, an Urban Latin Dance Theater version of the Tempest is being supported by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, where she is currently an artist in residence.

SHEY RIVERA RÍOS (pronouns: they/them. pronombres: elle, ellx) is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and arts administrator. Their artistic creations explore the topics of home, capitalism, queerness, magic, and our relationship to technology. Rivera has 10 years of experience in the arts sector intersecting creative practice with urban planning and racial equity. Their trajectory includes 8 years of leadership at AS220, a non profit arts organization and artistic incubator in Providence, RI, and being part of the team of the Community Innovation Lab (MIT CoLab) of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Rivera majored in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR-Rio Piedras), and has postgraduate studies in Culture and Contemporary Media from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico. Rivera serves on the Board of Directors of the Artist Communities Alliance and the Providence Downtown Design Review Committee. Key artistic projects include the LUNA LOBA performance series and the FANTASY ISLAND transmedia project. Rivera’s work has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic and Art Scope New England.

Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. FirstWorks gratefully thanks all our donors, sponsors, partners, and community for their support.

A Place At The Table featuring Shey Rivera Ríos

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