Improv at the border

Dear friends!

We want to share the visit from  our friends in2improv to Juarez (hear a recent NPR report on how our city is recovering from drug violence) , and also to ask for your support in continuing our efforts to bring development to Juarez.

On the second week of March (10th-15th) we had the honor of hosting a series of events involving the Pedagogical National University in Juarez, four NGO (Techo Comunitario, Coaliciones Comunitarias, CCOMPAZ and Organización Popular Independiente), and friends and members of the Fred Newman Center. It was an magical and an inspirational week and it made our dream a reality.

   Daycare center workshop

Both images from the workshops with
daycare workers and other educators

On Tuesday Sandra Paola López and Chris Reyman (both International Class graduates)  joined us in our Juarez social therapy group, on Wednesday night Sandra Paola taught a group to to perform some Latin dances, Wednesday and Thursday morning they inspired two groups of future educators to bring creativity and play to their practice, on Thursday Chris created the conditions for a group of young musicians to  improvise -the young students were surprised at their own ability to create together-, on Friday night we had an intimate workshop exploring how we can create with what we have, Saturday morning in2improv had a packed workshop with over 40 community educators and day care center workers, and two university professors playing and performing, Saturday afternoon a workshop exploring very intimately dance, movement, music, and improvisation. We closed with a PACHANGA (our latino celebration) full of conversation, music and movement.

Pedagogical University Workshop

Pedagogical University Workshop

This week of activities marks for the Fred Newman Center a new era: an independently funded program associated completely with our center, and reaching out to a wider community in Juarez. Achieving this made a dream possible. The dream began at PTW 2012 when we met in person Sandra Paola López and Chris Reyman, of in2improv, at their wonderful and inspiring workshop. We discussed in a conversation afterwards that it would be great for them to visit Juarez. We also met Mary Alice Long whose passion for play and building bridges across disciplines and across nations with people who are passionate about play and who are building playful context for people across lifespans. Mary also was eager to be with us and help construct our work. A year ago it seemed  within reach for both in2improv and Mary to visit us in Juarez. At the last moment, the Education Department from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez was unable to fund their trip and we thought we needed to wait until we found a more secure funding source. And wait we did!

CCOMPAZ workshop

 CCOMPAZ workshop

We waited almost a year, another department at the University of Juarez interested in arts and social therapeutics was willing to fund in2improv and Carrie Lobman and Christine LaCerva´s to come to our city this semester. We were assured that the funds were secured and approved for both their trips, or so we thought. In2improv would arrive on the second week of March, and Christine and Carrie on the third week of May.

A week before the trip, after intense planning with in2improv for several weeks we created a  program full of activities  -university workshops, workshops at a community center, and at the Pedagogical University-  we were informed that due to the university’s bureaucratic structure the funding could not be released in time for in2improv’s trip. We faced a choice: postpone the trip -which we had to do a few months back- or to find a way to make it happen, even though it was a week away. We decided to fund it ourselves, and raise money during the events.

In2improv was truly heroic, supporting our every effort, creatively building with us new options, and giving their time, creativity and passion to the people who joined us in their activities. During the week we managed  to secure 35% of the funding required to bring them here (approximately $500 US dollars), and still need to cover the rest of their airline tickets. We want to ask for your help to continue building the Fred Newman Center by involving our wider developmental-performance community in workshops and activities in Juarez. In terms of reaching out to our wider community and showcasing the developmental power of performance, the “group” and improvisation, we achieved more during this week than what we did in a year. We at the Fred Newman Center have embraced the importance of building internationally to grow locally. In2improv’s visit was our creative imitation of the amazing international effort of the East Side Institute and the All Stars Project. Please help us continue building our center. Soon Carrie and Christine will join us in Juarez, we want to secure their trip regardless of whether the University can fund it or not, and also, we want to be able to invite Mary Alice Long to inspire us with her creativity and amazing effort to make the world more playful.

Here is  how you can help support our efforts.

a) Make the check to Miguel Eduardo Cortes Vazquez

b) Mail it to  7075 Becky LN, El Paso, TX. 79915, United States

c) Send us an e-mail at  confirming you have sent a check, your name and the amount you sent.

d) We will get back to you confirming the check has arrived, and we will thank you!!!

Thanks so much for your time, and we will keep you informed about our future endeavors.

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