Portrait of Teresa Trujillo

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1937, Teresa Trujillo studied classical dance with the Russian dancer Tamara Grigoryeva and modern dance with Elsa Vallarino, a disciple of the visual artist Joaquín Torres-García (1874–1949). In 1962–63 Trujillo studied in New York with Martha Graham and José Limón. She met the choreographer-composer Louis Horst, from whom she learned the importance of integrating all the arts. Between 1963 and 1966 Trujillo resided in Paris, where she formed a trio with the choreographers Annick Maucouvert and Graciela Martínez. With a unifying concept of the arts in mind, she created in 1964–65 the film-dance Improvisaciones danza I y II (Improvisation dance I and II) together with the film director Mario Handler. In 1965 at the American Center in Paris, she participated in Efímero pánico (Ephemeral panic), a ritual and interdisciplinary happening by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

In 1965 she was invited to participate in the 4th Biennale de Paris, where she presented Eryximaque, a dance for film with choreography by her, painted objects by the German sculptor of Lithuanian origin Myriam Bat-Yosef (b. 1931), and texts by the lyricist poet François Dufrêne. In 1966 she presented her works at the Teatro Odeón and at the Book and Print Fair in Montevideo. At the historic Teatro Circular de Montevideo, Trujillo and the painter Federico Vilés performed Liquidación de una platea (Liquidation of an audience, 1966), with music by Conrado Silva, in which Trujillo and Vilés dispersed white mice, distributed Coca-Cola and tortas fritas (fried bread), and cooked cauliflower—a work meant to be seen, heard, smelled, and eaten. A consequence of this performance was that inspectors of the Dirección Municipal de Espectáculos Públicos prohibited future stagings of happenings in Montevideo.

Trujillo actively participated in events surrounding the May 1968 protests in Paris. When she returned to Uruguay in 1969, she found a country that was very politicized, with students organizing marches and workers being oppressed. The performance Escalada (Climbing, 1969), which involved a metal structure created by Osvaldo Reyno, referred to the increase in violence in Montevideo during the presidency of Jorge Pacheco Areco (1967–72), a boxing enthusiast, whose politics were oppressive, specifically against the Tupamaros guerrilla group. Trujillo presented Qué hacer con la danza en estos tiempos de mudanzas (What to do with dance in these times of changes, 1970), in which she began the performance by wearing a donkey's head and boxing gloves hanging from her body as if they were testicles. This type of dance-satire reflected the political movements of the time.

In 1972, after being detained for three days, she began a self-exile of twelve years that led her to Santiago, Havana, Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Madrid, where she performed Caleidoscopio (Kaleidoscope), in which she danced with a broom. In 1984 in Montevideo, Trujillo presented at the Teatro Circular Vueltayvuelta, a dialogue between an actor from the insilio (internal exile) and a dancer who returns from exile. She joined the feminist group Cotidiano Mujer, formed in 1985, and in 1991 she co-organized the Primer Encuentro Mujer y Teatro at Teatro El Vitral in Buenos Aires. Between 2002 and 2005 Trujillo worked tirelessly to integrate dance as an academic major at the Universidad de la República, Uruguay's public university.

—Andrea Giunta (translated by Marcela Guerrero)

Selected Performances

1964–65 Experiencia II, Schola Cantorum de Paris

1965 Eryximaque, 4th Biennale de Paris

1966 Liquidación de una platea, Teatro Circular de Montevideo, Uruguay

1969 Escalada, Alianza Francesa de Montevideo, Uruguay

1970 Qué hacer con la danza en estos tiempos de mudanzas, Platense Patín Club, Montevideo, Uruguay

Selected Bibliography

"A escena con los Maestros / Ciclo 2011—Teresa Trujillo." YouTube video, 48:38. Posted by INAE Uruguay, June 26, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_OAS43itqM.

Gilbert, Isabel. "Del Odeón al Sodre: Salto de medio siglo." Marcha (Montevideo, Uruguay), August 1967, unpaged.

———. "Teresa Trujillo, bailarina y coreógrafa." Cuba en el Ballet 3, no. 2 (1972): 36–39.

Lopez Ruiz, Angela María. "Improvisación I y II, un espacio de encuentro para el cine-danza." Aproximaciones al estudio de la danza en Uruguay: Miradas interdisciplinarias (blog), September 2, 2015. http://estudiosdeladanzaenuruguay.blogspot.com.ar/?view=flipcard.

Trujillo, Teresa. Cuerpo a cuerpo: Reflexiones de una artista. Montevideo, Uruguay: Trilce, 2012.