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Cabaret prehispánico: El ombligo de las diosas (2005) Photo/Foto: Lorie Novak
  • Title: Cabaret prehispánico: El ombligo de las diosas
  • Alternate Title: Navel of the Goddesses: Prehispanic Cabaret
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 00:50:08
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Date: 15 Mar 2005
  • Location: Teatro Francisco Nunes; part of the Hemispheric Institute's 5th Encuentro in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, entitled Performing Heritage: Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices.
  • Type-Format: performance
  • Cast: Jesusa Rodríguez, Liliana Felipe
  • Credits: Jesusa Rodríguez, creator, writer and director ; Liliana Felipe, creator and songwriter ; Hemispheric Institute, producer ; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, producer ; Diana Taylor, introducer

Cabaret prehispánico: El ombligo de las diosas (2005)

"Prehispanic Cabaret" is an act of protest against multinational agricultural biotechnology corporations (such as Monsanto) whose introduction of genetically-modified corn into Mexican agriculture severely threatens the country's intangible cultural heritage by all but eliminating natural corn. "We are corn people," says writer, director and performer Jesusa Rodríguez, who has been politically active in in the uphill battle against the government-backed corporations. This cabaret, unlike most of Jesusa and Liliana's work at El Hábito, is largely non-verbal; it is Liliana's mordant lyrics that give voice to Jesusa's symbolic body onstage as she becomes an indigenous woman, a character in a codex, a peasant, and finally the figure of Death. "Cabaret Prehispánico" was performed at the Francisco Nunes theater in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as a part of the 5th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, titled "Performing 'Heritage': Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices." The performance is followed by a Q&A session, where Jesusa tells the audience that the Death character, besides throwing handfuls of corn up into the air and onto the stage, was also supposed to throw (fake) hundred-dollar bills -- except they were stolen at the airport. Jesusa also reveals that this show (performed only once before, in New York) marks the end of their 15-year trajectory at El Hábito. "There is an abyss behind us and an abyss before us, and we need to take a break to think about where we go from here," she says.