Gina Cornejo

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Gavin Stewart and Vanessa Owen are rehearsing with two other dancers inside a studio at the Wortham Center for Performing Arts. Everyone is masked.  

 

“OK Janice, so can you lift your eyes when you do that?” Stewart asks one of the dancers while watching a sequence of movement. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s juicy.” 

 

They had such grand plans for their collaboration with Asheville storytelling poet Gina Cornejo. They would have seated the audience in the middle of the dance floor, as if inside the hole of a donut, and performed the piece around them.  

 

Instead, as they have done so often during the pandemic, Stewart and Owen have improvised. They had planned to perform a piece called “Dirty Laundry” in front of an audience. They’re now converting it into a video production that will stream online to ticket-holders, premiering Feb. 12 through the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Whether on stage or on the page, Gina Cornejo has always brought a focus and fluidity to her identity. For now, she uses the pronouns she/her and they/them. 

“This is me in my own transition of, not only in this time of coming into my own voice within my work, but coming to my own very gentle identifying as queer, identifying as a queer female, even Latina,” Cornejo said. “I’m very much coming to terms with all these identifiers. I just want to keep it open and available.”