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Cara Hagan is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is informed by movement, words and digital space. Ms. Hagan has the pleasure of sharing her artistic pursuits across the United States and abroad. Most recently, Cara has set choreographic works on students at the UNC School of the Arts, Missouri State University and on professional dancers at the Dance Barn Festival in Battle Lake, MN. Her recent guest residencies have included Thirak India, where she taught, performed and lectured across the north region of India, and at James Madison University, where she taught a series of workshops on dance film. Further, Cara has made recent performance appearances at the Asheville Wordfest, the Taos Poetry Festival, the On Site/In Sight Dance Festival, and the Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh. A recipient of several grants and awards, Cara recently received a 2014-2015 NCAC Choreographic Fellowship Award, a 2015 Sustainability in the Arts Grant and a 2015-2016 University Research Council Grant. Ms. Hagan serves on the dance studies faculty at Appalachian State University, as well as serving as director and curator for ADF's Movies By Movers, an annual, international dance film festival that hosts events at both the American Dance Festival and Appalachian State University. Cara's scholarly and creative work can be found in various publications, including the Snapdragon Journal of Art and Healing, Headwaters Journal of Expressive Arts, the International Journal of Screendance, and in the book, Dance's Duet with the Camera: Motion Pictures, edited by Telory D. Arendell and Ruth Barnes. Currently Cara is under contract to complete her first solo authored book through McFarland Publishing.
Very early in life, she experienced numerous challenges. Growing up in a poor home with a single working mother in Guadalajara, Mexico, she was drawn to the companionship and lessons of several hardships in life like childhood sexual abuse by an abusive step father, the use of drugs and surviving in the hard streets of Guadalajara Mexico as a child. Maneuvering her uneasy way through separate worlds of family, school, gangs, and LGBTQ friends, she fell into a deep cycle of drugs, crime, juvenile institutions and later, after immigrating to the US, prisons and constant street violence. Repeatedly facing her mortality, and amid many reversals, she committed herself to treatment for her addiction to work on herself and learn the root cause of what was leading the life she was living.
She then slowly began to experience, build and imagine a different and better life for herself. But Bamby’s improbable survival also inspired within her a sense of duty to help others as she recovered her life. One by one, she began to transform each challenge and each issue of her early life into the substance, basis and gravitas for her current extraordinary work, activism and life. Even now, she is always ready to credit others who assisted her transcendent rise. Bamby often speaks of herself as a “Community Investment”.
After receiving an award for her continued fight for justice for Trans Latina community, Bamby reflected a humble and authentic gratitude for just being alive and having somehow been given an improbable second chance in life.
Her unassuming warmth, transparency and playful character coexist with the seriousness of her determined commitment. Bamby is fortunate and grateful to be alive; this is expressed in her life through her wide and unique smile. Her work and in her signature dance moves that are always ready to spontaneously erupt.