05 April, 2022


Written by Amanda Piña

‘Frontera | Border – A Living Monument’ is rooted in a dance that emerged from the neighbourhood of El Ejido Veinte of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on the border between Mexico and the United States. The dance is performed by young people at risk from the extremely violent environment associated with this liminal space, a place where drug trafficking, militarisation and an industry around cheap labour prosper.

The dance was originally devised by the Spanish and depicts the Christian victory over the Moors. During the colonisation of Latin America’s it became a racist propaganda tool. The dance continued to evolve and became seen as a form of resistance to colonial and, later, neoliberal forces. By exploring a choreography of borders in which hip-hop culture, colonial tales, native practices and mysticism intertwine, the work I am now creating inspired by this dance reminds us that the border is not only a physical place but is also inscribed within bodies, contributing to their process of racialisation. Thus the bodies themselves carry these frontiers with them – some more than others.

The Danza de Matamoros


Initiated in 2014, ‘Endangered Human Movements’ is my long-term body of work, encompassing various performances and projects which focus on traditional dances and human movement practices which have existed for centuries but are today in danger of disappearing.

In previous production ‘Danza y Frontera’ the co-existence of Indigenous and Western concepts of dance is connected and re-contextualized with the Danza de Matamoros. Staged in relation to the migration movements of racialized people towards the so-called global north, the once ‘Conquest Dance’ is transformed. Indigenous perspectives which historically survived assimilated and disguised in the new imposed order become expressed. This is a dance which belongs to the youth living in the precarious and marginalized context of a working-class at the border between Mexico and the U.S.

‘Frontera | Border, A living Monument’, is a dance and a manifesto about people who dare to cross borders escaping from or searching for different living conditions. The uprooted dance of Matamoros becomes a dance through which new territory is claimed by the bodies of border subjects: the exclusive territories of Fortress Europe.

Interview with Amanda Piña, on ‘Frontera | Border – A Living Monument’

FRONTERA I BORDER, AMANDA PIÑA. Photo: Patrick Van Vlerken

Amanda Piña is a Mexican-Chilean-Austrian artist. Her work is concerned with the decolonisation of art, focusing on the political and social power of movement. Since 2014, she has been developing her long-term project “Endangered Human Movements”, concerned with the re appearance of ancestral forms of movements and cultural practices. As part of this project, she has developed a series of performances, installations, workshops, lectures, films and publications.

Development of ‘Frontera | Border – A Living Monument’ supported by: The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassy of Mexico in Austria; the National School of Folkloric Dance of México; INBA, National Institute of Fine Arts México.