Meet the Co-Directors

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The Co-Directors circa 2006, when Mangos With Chili was a twinkle in their eye…

MWC Co-Founder Cherry Galette, photo by Ep Li.
MWC Co-Founder Cherry Galette, photo by Ep Li.

Ms. Cherry Galette The Dancing Assassin. The girl who puts the cha cha in muchacha.

Ms. Cherry Galette is a  movement artist, choreographer, queer showgirl, performance artist and producer who has earned recognition for creating movement narratives exploring race, power, empire, migration, queer bodies in diaspora, and for presenting genre pushing work based in sultry, sacred, and profane fusions of traditional dance forms and song with queer story, burlesque and cabaret. Cherry’s performance is a collision  – a crossroads of era, tradition, and place – evoking elements of the cosmopolitan cabarets of the golden age of Middle Eastern and Latin American dance, the legacy of movement passed down in women’s kitchens and salons, and the energy, joy, and enthusiasm of collective street dance.

She has has captivated, delighted, roused and stunned audiences on stages across the Americas from La Habana to Montreal, including La UNEAC, Teatro el Sotano (La Habana, Cuba), Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, Tipitina’s, One Eyed Jack’s (New Orleans), Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Brava Theater (SF), Buddies in Bad Times Theater (Toronto), Juste Por Rire (Montreal), Columbia City Theater, (Seattle), Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, The Knitting Factory, Bowery Poetry Club,  WOW (New York), over 28 universities, as well as burlesque and cabaret stages in cities all over North America.

Ms. Galette has danced with some of the Bay Area’s most noted dance ensembles, including Hot Pink Feathers, Ooh La La Belly Dance, and Mr. Ri’s Deceptively Strong Dance Project, . She is proud to have been an Oakland Tribune Timeout covergirl, and has also been featured in Oakland Local, Bitch, Make/Shift, San Francisco Bay Guardian, the SF Chronicle, and other independent media across the US. Cherry was raised by a family of legendary music makers, performers and innovators who centered song and dance as tools for transmitting hope, history, revolt, and the ability transform and lift heavy hearts. She is proud to continue her family’s work by giving audiences quality dance and burlesque performance based in roots of resistance, tradition, and inherited movement and musical legacy. Cherry’s work is grounded in the transformative power of story to make change, creating accessible, community oriented theater and performance, and putting movement and music back in the bodies of the people through creating a dance movement that encompasses all experiences, ages, genders, and bodies. For info on recent projects, please visit www.mscherrygalette.com.



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Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled Sri Lankan cis femme writer, performer, organizer and badass visionary healer. The author of the Lambda Award winning Love Cake and Consensual Genocide and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities her work has appeared in the anthologies Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World.

With Cherry Galette, she co-founded Mangos With Chili, North America’s performance incubator for Two Spirit, queer and trans people of color performance artists, and is a lead artist with Sins Invalid. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ “40 Feminists Under 40 Who Are Shaping the Future” and she is one of the the 2013 Autostraddle Alternative Hot 105. She has taught, performed and lectured across North America, Sri Lanka and Australia and co-founded Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School.. She is currently completing her third book of poetry, Bodymap, and a writer’s manual, Writing the World, to be published by AK Press in 2014.

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