Sunday, February 28, 2010
LatiNegr@s Project: Sylvia del Villard
Ten years ago today Sylvia del Villard, activist, dancer, choreographer, actor, and performer, died of lung cancer. Growing up in Puerto Rico, Sylvia atteneded and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and traveled throughout the US performing. She, like many of her contemporaries, found herself in NYC. It was here that she founded the Afro-Boricua El Coqui Theater.
Her goals during her adult life was to incorporate elements of African identity, tradition, rituals, symbols, dance, and movement into her Puerto Rican training and performances. When she died, in her early 60s, she was said to be working on a piece entitled "Africa Puerto."
In NYC there is the Sylvia Del Villard Hall Program, a part of The Roberto Clemente Center, named after her that provides mental health services to people living in the Lower East Side. A film was created in 2003 calle Ocho Puertas that features her. However, in the trailer, I do not see her in the images nor have I seen the film.