It was a pleasure and an honor to share my research about Victoria Santa Cruz’s transnational rhythmic education philosophy and practice at the international conference “Rhythm in Acting and Performance.” This gathering of international researchers and practitioners took place March 26–28, 2021, organized by Dr Eilon Morris, from Leeds Conservatoire and OBRA Theatre, author of Rhythm in Acting and Performance: Embodied Approaches and Understandings (Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama 2017). The events were hosted remotely from Athens under the auspices of The Makings of the Actor, The Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, The Labanarium, Leeds Conservatoire and Hellinoekdotiki.
I am honored that Araceli Poma chose to interview me about my research toward a biography of Victoria Santa Cruz in the most recent episode of Araceli’s wonderful program about Peruvian music and culture #SinDistancias. The program (in Spanish with English subtitles) also features the inspiring work of Julie Guillerot (International Festival of the Cajón and AFROPERU) and Matt Geraghty (Just Play’s Grammy-nominated The Warrior Women of Afro-Peruvian Music).
Victoria Santa Cruz is one of eleven prominent Caribbean and Afro-Latin American individuals profiled in my online photo essay for the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (eds. Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Oxford African American Studies Center). These eleven individuals were selected from over 2,000 biographies as a “brief tour of the project, highlighting the scope and depth of the Dictionary.”
I am happy to announce my recently published article in the journal Theatre Survey (Volume 61, Issue 2, May 2020, pp. 203–230):
“Staging Public Blackness in Mid-Twentieth-Century Peru: The Repertoires of Pancho Fierro and Cumanana” by Heidi Carolyn Feldman
Extract: In 1951, Victoria (1922–2014) and Nicomedes Santa Cruz (1925–92) attended a performance at Lima’s Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theatre) by the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Dunham (1909–2006), an African American choreographer and anthropologist, pioneered a “research-to-performance” method to study African-derived dances in the Caribbean and stage them in stylized choreographies. Elite Lima patrons walked out of the theatre during the danced African fertility rite in Dunham’s “Rites de Passage,” but the performance left a lasting impression on the Santa Cruzes. Nicomedes Santa Cruz later described the event as the first positive staged demonstration of blackness in Peru—and Victoria Santa Cruz stated that, when they saw Katherine Dunham’s production, they knew they had to do something similar. The Santa Cruzes went on to lead a revival of Afro-Peruvian arts in the 1960s and 1970s.
This article appears for the first time in English with permission of the Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. An earlier version was originally published in Spanish as “Escenificando la negritud en la Lima de mediados del siglo XX: Las compañías Pancho Fierro y Cumanana,” trans. Adriana Soldi, in Lima siglo XX: Cultura, socialización, y cambio, ed. Carlos Aguirre and Aldo Panfichi (Lima: Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2013), 199–234. Some material was previously published in my book Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2006).
I am pleased to announce the online edition of Victoria Santa Cruz’s book Rhythm, the Eternal Organizer/Ritmo, el eterno organizador (trans. Susan G. Polansky, Ediciones Copé, 2004). This bilingual (Spanish and English) book, in which Santa Cruz explains her philosophy of rhythm, has long been out-of-print and was never widely available outside Peru.
I am grateful to Octavio Santa Cruz, Aldo Durán and Ediciones Copé, and Susan G. Polansky (Teaching Professor and Head of Department of Modern Languages), Keith Webster (Dean of University Libraries), and Marcie Hayhurst (Legal Assistant, Office of the General General Counsel) of Carnegie Mellon University for working with me to make possible the broader dissemination of Victoria Santa Cruz’s book via Carnegie Mellon University Library’s online repository of digital scholarship. Thank you also to Javier León for communications translation support.
During Afro-Peruvian Culture Month, 2018, Luís Rodríguez Pastor and Seminario Afroperuana de Artes y Letras organized the second reunion and public conversation of founding members of Victoria Santa Cruz’s Peruvian company Teatro y Danzas Negras del Perú. These four videorecordings (in Spanish) document the public event, which took place at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture in Lima on June 30, 2018.
(Ver la descripción del contenido en castellano e instrucciones para ver subtítulos en castellano a continuación)
Victoria Santa Cruz was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama from 1982 to 1999. This video message from Victoria Santa Cruz to (future) Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama seniors is from a movie for the class of 2002 by CMU alumnus Eric Feldman. This segment was filmed by Eric Feldman in Victoria Santa Cruz’s office at Carnegie Mellon University on December 12, 1999, just before she retired from teaching. In her message, Victoria Santa Cruz explains her approach to the development of interior rhythm.
I obtained a DVD copy of this video from the personal collection of Victoria Santa Cruz in Lima, courtesy of her nephew Octavio Santa Cruz. I have posted the video on YouTube with the permission of Octavio Santa Cruz and Eric Feldman (the videographer). Do not reproduce, redistribute, or modify without consent, but please feel free to share this link with others, especially former students of Victoria Santa Cruz or others who would appreciate her message.
Este mensaje de la profesora Victoria Santa Cruz (1922–2014) a los “seniors” (del futuro) de la Escuela de Arte Dramático en Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Estados Unidos) es de una película para la clase de 2002 de Carnegie Mellon de Eric Feldman. En su mensaje, Victoria Santa Cruz explica su acercamiento al desarrollo del ritmo interior. Victoria Santa Cruz fue profesora en la Escuela de Arte Dramático de la Universidad Carnegie Mellon desde 1982 hasta 1999. Este video se filmó en la oficina de Victoria Santa Cruz en Carnegie Mellon el 12 de diciembre de 1999. Se obtuvo de la colección personal de Victoria Santa Cruz en Lima, Perú, por Heidi Feldman, quien está realizando una investigación para un libro sobre el legado internacional de Victoria Santa Cruz. El video se publica con el permiso de Octavio Santa Cruz y Eric Feldman (el camarógrafo). No reproduzca, redistribuya ni modifique sin su consentimiento, pero no dude en compartir este enlace con otros, especialmente con los alumnos de Victoria Santa Cruz.
SUBTITULOS: Para activar los subtítulos, toque.”CC.” Para traducir los subtítulos al castellano, haga clic en el icono de configuración en la parte inferior de la pantalla de video. Haga clic en Subtitles / CC.Haga clic en Auto-traducir. Selecciona un idioma.