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Meet Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Patricia Rincon

Photo caption: Portrait photo of Patricia Rincon, August 2016.

Photo by Ron Stein

Portrait photo of Patricia Rincon, August 2016.

Two dancers enter the stage. One can hear everything. The other is deaf.

Patricia Rincon, a veteran of the international dancing community, was fascinated. They were both dancing to the music, on the music. “It was astonishing to watch how brilliantly they did,” she said of the 2013 Blurred Border performance.

Blurred Borders is an annual dance festival Rincon puts on, through the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective. It’s just one of the programs she orchestrates that led to her being selected as a KPBS Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero.

Her goal with the festival is to blur borders of all sorts — borders of intellect, culture, gender. There aren’t many limits. But there is one tenet to the program she maintains: The artists must stay at her home. “That’s where the art happens,” she says. Rincon finds the most intimate and important connections with the performers happen during seemingly bland home affairs such as sharing a meal, chatting in the living room, or doing the dishes.

Deaf Dancer, Antoine Hunter

For Rincon, her home and dance collective are her laboratories. “I consider myself a dance anthropologist,” she says. Through her labs, she’s able to connect the outside world to her studies at UC San Diego, where she’s a teacher and researcher.

One project she’s currently focused on led to her to central Mexico, where she is studying a group of dancers called Otomí, a native population of North America. She’s been studying them for years now. By the study’s end, she’ll create a “docudance” — a traditional documentary woven with interpretive dance to best memorialize the culture as she understands it. She’ll present these works in San Diego and to the Otomí tribe.

As a child of two parents who immigrated to the U.S. illegally, migration and diversity are topics of fascination for Rincon.

Rincon’s nomination for KPBS’ Local Hero program noted the Rincon Dance Collective has a very high rate of diversity. Although Rincon couldn’t confirm any figures, she said, “As a professor, I always seek out students of color. That’s related to my own story, coming from a low-income family without guidance.

“I’ve made it part of my life’s work to seek out young artists who have talent and dedication,” Rincon said, “and need some guidance and opportunities.”

Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Patricia Rincon

Meet fellow 2016 honoree Robert Rivas.

Nominate your hero by filling out this form.
Questions or comments on this story can be directed to Nate John at njohn@kpbs.org.

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