Los Angeles Artists Named 2022 Dance/USA Artist Fellows

Dance/USA, the national service organization for dance, announced today that the second round of Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists (DFA) will award $905,010 in funding to 30 dance and movement-based artists with sustained practices in art for social change. Each Fellowship includes a $30,167 grant that may be used at the artist’s discretion. DFA is made possible with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). Of the 30 Artist Fellows, two are based in Los Angeles: Gabriel “MoFundamentals” Gutiérrez and Gema Sandoval. 

The 2022 DFA cohort features artists from across the U.S. representing an array of modalities rooted at the intersection of social and embodied practices. These include community-building and culture-bearing practices, healing and storytelling practices, activism and representational justice practices, and more.

As society grapples with unprecedented challenges and increasingly recognizes systemic inequities and injustices, Dance/USA is reaffirmed that the work of supporting artists who engage in art for social change is pivotal and overdue. The goals of DFA include offering unrestricted financial support for individual artists, building a peer cohort among the Artist Fellows, and facilitating cohort spaces that are emergent and honor the artists’ choices and desires.

As part of their Fellowship experience, the Artist Fellows will have the option to participate in an emergent programming process that honors the Fellows’ choices around connection, rest, and desire. The facilitated process will be self-led by artists and administratively supported by Dance/USA. DFA will compensate the artists for the time spent on this initiative and resources will be provided for the facilitation and prototyping of the ideas generated. 

Artist Bios

Originally from Chicago, Gabriel “MoFundamentals”Gutiérrez (he/him/el) is an adult adoptee, first generation street dance artist, founder of MoFundamentals, and artivist dedicated to highlighting the resiliency of the foster and adoptee community. His work centers around disseminating his knowledge of street dance, as well as the lessons of manhood derived from his experiences in homelessness, being his own financial safety net and foster care. Through university lecturing, collaborating with other foster and adoptee artists, and performing, Gabriel brings important ancestral practices from his P’urhépecha lineage into his work. His contributions at the intersection of hip hop, education, healing practices, and foster care advocacy have earned him the invitation to train at intensives hosted by Rennie Harris, a nomination for the ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Fellowship to represent Los Angeles City District 1, and recruitment into the pilot reentry programming funded by the California Arts Council. Follow his work on Instagram @mofundamentals.

Gema Sandoval (she/her) is devoted to illuminating her Chicano heritage through dance. She creates work that uses her art form, Mexican folk dance, as a vehicle for change in her community. In addition to the traditional regional dances of Mexico, over the past nineteen years, she has staged theme works using the creative tools of her chosen art form: foot work, skirt work, rebozos and Mexican iconography. Examples are: Si Se Puede / Yes You Can, inspired by labor activist and United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez. Her rendition of internationally renowned Chicano author, Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me, Ultima, entitled, Alma Lllanera / Spirit Of The Plains, and Gema’s most recent full evening production, Immigrant Stories, An American Journey.

Currently being planned is a work entitled Mujer Ayer, Hoy Y Siempre/Woman, Yesterday, Today And Always. The inspiration for this production is the choreographer’s deep cultural connection to her roots as it filters through the generations and interacts with the realities of today’s world. At a time when gentrification, pandemic residues, and economic and social inequities prevail, she uses her work to highlight the strengths within communities and becomes a mirror to discrimination in order to help bring about change. For more information about Gema Sandoval visit https://danzafloricantousa.org.