Your first reaction to hearing a bleak story of murder and dictatorship may not be to dance. But local dance company Eveoke tells such a story in one of its most popular pieces, “Las Mariposas.” It focuses on the Mirabal sisters’ resistance to Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, for which three of the sisters were murdered in 1960.

The company took a year and a half to adapt Julia Alvarez’s novel, “In the Time of Butterflies,” into the dance piece. The dancers intended the piece for a local audience, reprising it this fall at the La Jolla Playhouse. But when they performed it for Alvarez at the University of San Diego last fall, the author got an idea.

She began writing letters to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic pushing them to invite the dance group to perform the story for Dominicans. This weekend, the troupe left for a weeklong tour to three cities in the Caribbean nation. We visited their rehearsal to learn what the dancers and company leaders were thinking as they prepared to take their story to its original setting, where the surviving Mirabal sister will watch one of the performances.

In the clip, you’ll hear from Ericka Moore, Eveoke’s resident choreographer; Erika Malone, the troupe’s artistic director; and Nikki Dunnan, executive director.

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I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

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Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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