The ground-breaking FUN HOME is the latest theater work to explore, dramatize, and otherwise celebrate the family dynamic. As we anticipate the arrival of FUN HOME, we also celebrate real life Bay Area families. To conclude our Family Portraits series, we are excited to introduce the Cordoba family of five from Castro Valley.
Born and raised in San Francisco's Mission district, Nieves and Armando Cordoba didn't cross paths until they were both in their 20s and working out at the same gym. The couple moved to the East Bay 15 years ago and currently resides in Castro Valley with their three kids: fraternal twins Alex and Nate, 11 and Tatianna, 16. Though Nieves admits she sometimes misses living in San Francisco, she says that relocating to a less bustling area has ultimately sparked an interest in the outdoors for the entire family.
The Cordobas have become adept campers and frequently travel to the Sierras for getaways with their 90lb Belgian Malinois, Harley, whose snuggly presence comes especially in handy during chilly nights. "Camping makes us all work together and everyone contributes," says Nieves. "It gives us a chance to disconnect from our electronics and really brings us all together as a family, so it's great."
When the family isn't camping Alex and Nate can usually be found playing sports and are avid baseball players. Tatianna is a student in the vocal department at Oakland School for the Arts and has ambitions of a performance career. Despite her packed schedule, Tatianna carves out time to participate in theater productions outside of school, regularly performing with the Youth Musical Theater Company in Berkeley. "I would say with my daughter she's already decided what she wants to do in life," says Nieves. "She wants to move to New York to be on Broadway and that's that. We're supporting her every step of the way."
In Tatianna's case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Armando has an extensive background as a musician and has been performing salsa music since he was a child. "His uncles would sneak him into clubs to play music with them whenever they got a chance," says Nieves. For over 20 years now Armando has played in a 13-piece salsa ensemble called Avance with his brother Jeff. In 2013 Armando won a Grammy Award with his other band Pacific Mambo Orchestra and recently released his first solo album, Hasta Al Fin. Nieves says that Tatianna and her dad often collaborate with each other. "It's really fun to watch them harmonize together," says Nieves. "They've talked about doing a music project together at some point, which would be super cool."
As a family of five, it's not always easy to make sure everyone's voice is being heard. "In order to manager all the sibling dynamics, it takes a lot of patience from everybody," says Nieves. "I don't know if we've mastered it yet, but we're always learning from each other how to be more patient and compassionate."