Climate Action Dance
I think of my work as a service to people and the planet, fostering personal and collective healing and transformation. I have been dubbed by the press as “the New Isadora Duncan of the Environment”, because my projects often have a message of consciousness and transformation to heal and transform our planet
I love to dance. Dance is my passion. It makes me feel alive and happy. Life is pure dance.
Through my healing personal process I discovered dance.
Dance allowed me to fully experience and express all my pain and trauma, and to express through movement what I couldn’t say with words.
Dance restored my dignity, my joy, my connection to pleasure. Through dance I discovered my own power to heal and to lead a happy life.
My creative process stems from a deep listening of the body in a state of complete presence in the here and now, which allows for the emergence of an expanded consciousness, and of a channeling of creativity and healing.
I believe dance can help us transform pain and darkness into beauty and love for us -and for the whole planet.
The mission of my dance is to send a message of healing and transformation that emerges from inside of us and expand to the entire universe.
My name is Raquel Santiago. I am a Climate Action Dancer.
Welcome to my website.
I’m a Climate Action dancer. Through my dance I seek to craft a new language for climate action. Hopefully a new language that helps transform our culture and reverse climate change.
I think it is urgent that we humans fully face the realities of our times, and that we allow ourselves to get in touch with our emotions, so that we can catalyze these into transformative action.
When we connect deeply with the beauty of our threatened planet, strong emotions may well up: pain, impotence, rage… We should not be afraid or embarrassed for feeling like this. These emotions are just expressions of our love for our planet, and of our heartfelt desire to step up and take action.
I also investigate how dance can decode scientific data and information on climate change and make it more understandable; not only at a rational level, but also at a physical and emotional level.
How did I become a climate action dancer? Through a long personal process where movement, dance, and dance therapy helped me connect with my own body and emotions, and to heal the trauma and abuse I suffered as a child.
Through finding love, I found meaning. Meeting my now husband Manuel Maqueda, an environmentalist focusing on plastic pollution and circular economics, sparked in me the need to put my dance in the service of life. Learning from him about plastic pollution broke my heart into a million pieces.
Then in 2017 I became a mother of twins. Envisioning an uncertain future for my children and the new generations due to climate change broke my heart even more.
Through long, sleepless nights I suffered in silence wondering how I could make a contribution to changing our reality and protecting my children. From this place of pain and doubt arose a great desire to focus all my energy and strength as a mother, an artist, and an inhabitant of this planet to create a new form of dance language for climate action.
Dry Tears (2020)
Earth dances in circles and cycles. As she spins, so do I; and as she suffers, so do I.
Tiles of parched earth paint a fractal dancefloor where I whirl. Pinned to my spot in the cosmos, I seek to transmute my grief into active hope. Into an ineffable transformational power.
Each turn brings me closer to myself, echoing the nested orbits of planets, stars, and galaxies, and the spirals of life all around me, and all inside of me.
There is a one-syllable-word that I refuse to utter. A word that brings dry tears to my eyes. It speaks of passing clouds that bear no fruit. Of dry winds that loft plumes of dust into the air. Of shriveling plants and screaming trees. Of fishbones scattered over empty lake beds.
Grandma says it’s never been this bad. At night she sits on her porch and watches satellites fly across the starry night. The old radio announces clear skies and no forecast of rain. Temperatures will be on the rise. She, too, won’t utter the one-syllable word. A word that tastes like wildfire smoke and chapped lips. A word that brings dry tears to her eyes, to my eyes, to millions of eyes.
Tears are invisible from above, let alone from space, let alone dry tears. But these tears can be felt and heard and tasted and smelled everywhere these days.
Earth dances in circles and cycles. As she spins, so do I; and as she suffers, so do I. Each turn brings me closer to the ineffable power that lurks behind every dry tear, echoing the planetary dances, the atmospheric dances, the eddies, the nested whirling of ocean currents and tradewinds.
How many more turns before our grief becomes active hope?
This video was filmed on a dried lake on Sacramento’s river watershed during a severe drought in California (2011-2019).
Dance and Video Edition : Raquel Santiago
Camera: Velcrow Ripper & Nova Ami
Music: Silhouettes by Tambour [Moderna Records]
When I met my now husband Manuel Maqueda in 2009, an environmentalist focusing on plastic pollution and circular economics, sparked in me the need to put my dance in the service of life. Learning from him about plastic pollution broke my heart into a million pieces.
I have performed Dancing for an Ocean Free of Plastics (between 2012-2014) side by side with the my husband Manuel Maqueda in his talks about plastic pollution around the world. Dancing for an Ocean Free of Plastic is a performance dance series that raises awareness around plastic pollution and its terrible effects on our bodies and oceans.
Since 2013 I have collaborated at El Plástico Mata, founded by Manuel Maqueda, a cluster of multilingual websites and social media shining light on the real impacts of the misuse of plastic on the environments and human health.
I have participated as a dance performer and speaker in Mahahual Libre de Plástico Festival in Mahahual, Mexico, (2018-19) organized by Menos Plástico es Fantástico and El Plástico Mata.