First time we worked with the Zebras was with Ciudad Feliz! A performance we created for them and Bafopaz for “La Noche Larga de Museos” in La Paz. Since then we really enjoy working with them. “The Zebras” of La Paz are pretty much everywhere in the centre of La Paz, an amazing project led by former modern dancer/ choreographer Kathia Salazar, also known as “La Mama de las Cebras” Since more than 8 years she has focused all her attention on creating a save haven for the mainly adolescents, giving them work and developing their skills for the street work. She developed a vision of positivity and openness for this project while in first place the zebras were not very welcomed by the traffic in the streets at all. But with the effort and persistence of Kathia, now the zebras are respected and loved by all La Paz citizens young and old! After 8 years they are the modern icons, heroes of the City of La Paz and by introducing the zebra project in other cities like Sucre and Tarija, they could soon become an icon of Bolivia as well we belief.
Part of her vision is that working as a zebra should be totally by free will. They of course get some minimum wages, but they can stop and enter whenever they want. Therefore the zebras are like a big family, where they keep up to date with each other and supporting each other in their live situations. The cultural director saw Ciudad Feliz! and got interested in us working on a few Zebra – Flashmob’s on several places throughout the city. The project counts with +/- 200 zebras, who work in three shifts per day. So we came to rehearse with 200 adolescents in three days, morning and afternoon and with every rehearsal a different group. After that they learned each other the different parts of the choreography and right before a Flashmob we rehearsed with the group that would dance in the one to come. We have to say to workout the choreography was only possible because of the enthusiasm, concentration, eagerness and “professional” attitude of that kids! Without being dancers they moved very well with the material that we gave them. They came in time every rehearsal and already before we started they would rehearse the choreography. Besides that they are very kind and respectful with us and with each other. Great to be with them!
To our disappointment the organisation behind the zebras project was less organised than the zebras themselves! Mails unread, changing dates all the time, not communicating, no clue of what is realistic or not etc. We wont talk too much about that, because we enjoyed the work and we would do it again for the Zebras! For their energy and love! Thank you!
In the end the choreographies were performed in special locations and occasions like for the book presentation of “Los Imperdonables”, the Governor of La Paz and his guests. The highlight was “La Verbena” the celebration of the freedom in La Paz in front of 30.000 people on the “Plaza San Francisco”, together with famous Bolivian Rock band “Octavia”, who especially wrote a song dedicated to La Paz. Octavia liked the choreography a lot and invited the zebras to take part in the promotion of their new album and video. You can imagine that after that the Zebras probably will like us forever ;0). Probably every adolescent in Bolivia would love to perform dancing with Octavia….