Big Brain 2012 Finalist: Dulce Juarez

You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our Big Brain 2012 Finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award awards announcement and celebration on April 7Chow Bella and Jackalope Ranch will introduce the finalists.

Up today: Dulce Juarez

Photos by Jamie Peachey and courtesy of Dulce Juarez
Dulce Juarez is looking around Fair Trade Coffee in downtown Phoenix and pointing out things she could use in an impromtu performance.

"See that chair, this plant, your jacket, that lamp, that man's tie?" she says. "I could use all of those things ... It's a matter of making something out of nothing."

The 25-year-old performer, activist, and teacher says the word for this style is Rasquache, which is a Spanish term embraced by the Chincano art movement and used to describe an artwork or artist who accepts and deals with their own material limitations.

Erica Mathlin and Dulce Juarez play grieving mothers who cross the veil between worlds in search of peace and power in Lloronas. (Teatro Bravo).jpg
Teatro Bravo
Erica Mathlin and Dulce Juarez play grieving mothers who cross the veil between worlds in search of peace and power in Lloronas. 

Juarez is no stranger to the stage. She got her start in Phoenix playwright James Garcia's Dream Act, and has since acted in his Tears of Lives, and Teatro Bravo!'s Lloronas. 

On the stage, she has costumes, props, and scripts at her disposal. But street is where she says she gets the most inspiration.

In 2006, when Proposition 300 passed in Arizona, university students who were not U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or did not have lawful immigration status could not be eligible for in-state tuition or financial aid. Juarez was enraged. She had plenty of friends on both sides of the issue and saw the impact first-hand.

She joined forces with her best friend, Silvia Rodriguez and formed a small improv group called Teatro Nopalero. Together, they drew crowds during protests, took over sidewalks., and dressed up as police clowns to welcome Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he was at ASU's Downtown campus for a presentation.

Stage for "Alien in a cage" by Teatro Nopalero

Nopalero was (and still is) on a mission to educate the public - with or without a Social Security number - about human rights and cultural awareness.

"It has been a very scary time for the Mexican community," says Juarez. "I've been asked for my ID, I've been pulled over because someone thought I fit a profile ... but I have to stand up to that and I'm not going to pretend it's right or live in fear."

Courtesy of Dulce Juarez

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