Ani/ Malayaworks engages in decolonial resistance work by using multidisciplinary modalities to dismantle colonial practices and narratives.
Ani/MalayaWorks Dance is a collective of Filipina/x movement artists working to empower the Filipino-American voice by imprinting our stories into the ether of American contemporary performance art. In the Tagalog language, Ani translates to harvest and Malaya translates to being in a state of liberation. Thus, our mission is to harvest and resurrect stories of our ancestors and celebrate the ever-evolving Filipino identity as a path to our personal liberation.
Ani/Malayaworks began as a mother/daughter, project-based dance theater company founded in 2014. She started the company after giving birth to her daughter Malaya, now 13, as a way to teach her about her native Philippine Islands and its many beautiful traditions. Since then, they have performed in many places, recalled many stories, and created new ones.
Whats in a name?
My name carries evidence of my people's colonial past--a combination of Annie from my paternal grandmother's name, Leandra, and Lille from my maternal grandmother's name, Lilia. I am honored to carry my grandmothers' names. However, I also feel weakened by it as it evidences colonial control of Spain and then the US. To pursue my work on decolonialism, I changed my name. Ani, the root word of Anihan, meaning to harvest. And in 2022, I renamed myself again as Anito, meaning Spirit in Tagalog, manifesting a honing in of spirit as a portal to the ancestors by way of artmaking.
"Your name is power. Your name is your shield." Thus, when I gave birth to a Filipinx girl, I fought to name her a name from the lineage of my ancestors. I gifted her the name Malaya, which in the Tagalog language means freedom. Surely, Malcolm Little knew of this when he renamed himself Malcolm X....
Throughout Malaya's childhood, we used art to express and unpack who we are as Filipinx in America. Ani/ Malayaworks is a merging of our stories as we navigate the complexities of being an immigrant living in far away lands. By sharing our own lived experiences and collaborating with our Filipino-American family, we aim to find spaces of freedom.