Welcome...

A Greater Boston native, I'm a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with talents in choreography, filmmaking, art, and graphic design. I'm co-founder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company (Boston, MA), art director of Art New England magazine, senior contributor for The Arts Fuse, and am the Boston area dance critic for the international Fjord Review. I recently completed a one-year term as co-chair of the Arlington Cultural Council, and am regularly hired as an arts advocate to speak at events ranging from legislative assemblies at the State House to entrepreneurial panels for students at Mount Holyoke College. This blog serves as a behind-the-scenes peek into the life and journal of an interdisciplinary artist. Learn more at merliguerra.com or luminariumdance.org, and thank you for reading my thoughts on setting the visual and performing arts into motion.

Friday, August 18, 2017

From Dusty & Dated to Clean & Current: DIY Hutch Makeover


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When Katie and I first moved into our Arlington MA apartment back in 2013, we found ourselves with a considerable increase in living space, particularly thanks to the addition of a beautiful dining room. With my plate collection spilling out into the pantry, and our cupboards filling up quickly, you can imagine my glee when I came across this beauty at a nearby tag sale for a local cause.

My old and battered hutch, standing in the Arlington apartment, featuring my grandmother's china and photos of both Katie's family and mine.

The owner of the hutch was incredibly kind, offering to not only drive it back to my apartment up the road (when my parents' car turned out to be too small to fit it), but helping my dad carry it up the winding staircase. Had my parents not be there to help me bring it in, my interaction with the seller would have ended there, but—being the ever-proud mother she is—before I knew it, my mom had begun bragging about my recent trip to Indian as a lead performer with a local dance company. "That wouldn't happen to be Deborah Abel Dance Company, would it?" he asked, "My daughter studies at Deborah's school!" From there, the conversation built with laughter and story sharing, as he explained that this old hutch had served its purpose loyally for many years before being repurposed as a storage unit for his kids' arts and crafts. Not surprisingly, I spent the remainder of the day picking glitter out of crevices, and scraping paint off of drawers, while my friend Anna sat in a chair next to me stitching shimmery beading onto her latest dress. An homage to arts and crafts, indeed!

The dark stained hutch stood regally alongside my antique hutch and table, giving our dining room a formal, sophisticated vibe for our three years in Arlington. Upon moving to Sean and my first home in Brighton, it became clear our furniture collection wasn't fitting together very well, and when the news came that we'd be relocating to New Jersey, it seemed like the appropriate time to put certain items out on the street for free taking, while finally treating ourselves to a few new items.

And in the middle of this "out with the old; in with the new" cleansing, stood the hutch. Realizing that new or refurbished farmhouse-style hutches run anywhere from roughly $800 to $2000, I set out to give this poor thing yet another new life on my own—this time with a refreshingly bright and current look.

— BEFORE —

While every item on here was display worthy, their tiny sizes quickly added up to unintentional clutter.

Deep gouges everywhere...

...as well as stubborn paint and glitter!

And some dated, scratched up hardware.


— DURING —

Step 1: Kick out the terrible, warped backing to replace with more modern beadboard.

Step 2: Thanks to our excellent friend Russell, we were able to borrow an electric sander! Looking back at my desk refurb project, I can't believe my week of sanding by hand could have been accomplished in 40 minutes.

Step 3: My first experience with chalk paint! I chose Opera Gown by Valspar (and no, they did not pay me—I'm mostly writing this down for my own knowledge later).

It wasn't until I finished painting (of course!) that I decided I just couldn't live with that old-fashioned valance on the hutch. Solution? Call Russell again and bribe him with a bag of candy to cut off the "frills" and leave it as a simple curve. Thanks, Russell!

Yup, this hardware—while gorgeous on my antique secretary desk—had to go.

Step 4: After staining the top with Minwax Golden Oak (again, wish I was getting free samples, but sadly I'm just an enthusiastic amateur), it was coming across far too orange in comparison to the blue/gray paint. It also looked too bright! So I set out to darken it up, tone down the orange hues, and give it a slightly more weathered feel by layering Jacobean and Weathered Oak.

Success! 

Back outside with the hutch, the freshly cut valance already looks so much cleaner!

Step 5: After cutting, it turned out the original valance wasn't as evenly shaped as I originally thought, so it took some careful sanding to shape each curve to mirror the other.

Step 6: Last but not least, the back! Took some finagling to fit it into place, but it's 100 times cleaner, brighter, and more solid than its flimsy, warped predecessor.


— AFTER — 
Ta da! Here she is—adding a warm and inviting touch to our new New Jersey dining room.

Finally, the finished piece!

Sean's "evoo" and "vin" pourers have found their place.

The new hardware came to us by surprise—while wandering the Blueberries & Bluegrass Festival in Peddler's Village, PA, we came across a hardware shop with the perfect knobs and pulls!

Finally, my serving tray and beautiful Merula olive oil have a perfect home, reflecting the colors of the buffet beneath them!

To give the tea kettle a little extra height, we sat it on a box (we quickly emptied) that once held french chocolate liqueurs, gifted to us on one of my dad's trips. A nice reminder of family and our time in Paris.

The teapot and cups themselves are a souvenir—bought on our trip to Napa, and made by local artisans using glazes created from vineyard ashes when the land needs cleansing. Another beautiful reminder of our love of traveling.

Remember what was here before? I removed the old drawer to instead use it as a functional display shelf for our clean white plates!

Sean's the cook; I'm handy with a hammer. We complement each other pretty damn well.

And look at all that storage!

So there it is—my hutch makeover. Enjoy this before-and-after image below, and we hope to keep this beautiful piece for a long, long time.

Dusty & Dated turned Clean & Current

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kinetic Craft Residency: Thoughts on Metal

Before beginning this project, I never could have rattled off the five crafting elements (metal, ceramics, fiber, glass, and wood), yet now I find myself thinking about them all the time. Be it wrapping my hands around a hand-thrown mug, hearing the different pitches of a coin bouncing down a metal grate or enjoying the tactility of a journal’s weathered pages, I am now constantly aware.

While I would love to pair each of these with the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch), I sadly don’t have the sanitation means to encourage our viewers to lick a series of metal spoons, or create the pleasing aroma of a burning wood fire inside the museum, so instead I’ve chosen to utilize the remaining three while focusing on the properties of each element that intrigue me most.

METAL

For Metal, I am focusing on its sound—from tinny tinkling to rich melodic tones. The page from my sketchbook below shows my preliminary thoughts and images for how I eventually grew to envision using metal bars and movement to create a large-scale, dance-propelled wind chime. As always, this project took several conceptual (and logistical) twists and turns through the creation process. Consistent across all versions was my intention to give the dancer a wide space for full-bodied movement, and to create a playable instrument of sorts. Yet getting there took several steps.

Preliminary sketches for Merli V. Guerra's Metal Breathing Installation; March 2017.


I first pictured the dancer in the center of several stationary xylophone-like structures of different tonal qualities, however I soon realized that in order to achieve a clear sound from each, I would need some kind of wooden striker. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that the dancer would likely need to hold the striker in her hand and intentionally move her hand across the chimes around her, which felt far too disconnected to me. How so? I wanted this to be a wind chime propelled by the complete range of the human body, rather than a single limb—regardless of how creative the performer might be as she danced from structure to structure, she would be limited to the use of one hand to ultimately "play" the installation.

Detail of preliminary sketches for Merli V. Guerra's Metal Breathing Installation; March 2017.


This led to the illustration above, in which I devised a way for all body parts to be able to instigate sound as the dancer moved through the installation, yet as I began setting it up, I soon came across another obstacle: delayed resonance. The cords, while clever in concept, actually caused a disconnect between visual and audio. As I moved, my body would push against the cord, pulling the striker away from the chime. It wasn’t until I had already released and moved on that the striker would then swing back into the chime and make its rich sound! The result was a delay of perhaps 1-2 seconds, yet it was enough to make it difficult, as the performer, to feel as though my actions were directly causing each sound, not to mention the visual lag similarly experienced by the viewer.

After trying cords of different lengths, weights, and stiffness, I ultimately omitted them—rehanging all of the chimes and strikers (a tedious task!) on a multitude of levels that now allows the dancer to move through them directly for the instant gratification of correlated movement and melody. I’m eager to set this up in a space larger than my 10 x 5’ living room and allow the dancer’s notes to reverberate throughout the Great Room and likely down the halls as well.

 ...

This blog post is related to Luminarium Dance Company's upcoming one-week Kinetic Craft residency at the Fuller Craft MuseumGuerra's 2017 Cultural Community Outreach Project

Kinetic Craft
Luminarium Dance Company in Residence

April 18-23, 2017  .  10am-5pm, daily
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton MA



 This project is supported in part by a grant from the Brockton Cultural Council, a branch of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hooked

I’m hooked.

On what?, you might ask. On glass.

There are so many elements of glass that excite me: How its texture can vary from silky to rough to sharp; how it can take a beam of light and dissolve it into an array of colors; how it can magnify or minimize; how it can encapsulate air bubbles; and how it’s actually an amorphous solid. All of these properties captivate me, and have for years.


Marblehead, MA.
My brother shows off the perfect gradient rainbow of colors he's found in one afternoon, including the ever-sought-after red sea glass. 

In trying to pinpoint when it began, I realize now that I can’t quite find a start. Was it when playing with my dad’s case of telescope lenses, overlapping the different circles of colored glass while carefully avoiding touching the surface? Or was it while looking for sea glass on the beach with my family in the summer, learning the chemistry (and more importantly the history) behind every color, every piece? Or maybe it was watching it being worked with for the first time, sitting on a bench in the sweltering studio at Simon Pearce in Vermont, studying skilled artisans as they turned glowing orbs into smooth, crystalline stemware.


Now we are here. Co-choreographed by Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman, 2012. Photo: Jim Coleman.

Throughout my professional career, I’ve used glass as both a medium with which to work and an inspiration from which to conceptualize—from the glowing bulbs of Andromeda to the finger-smudged window panes of Now we are here. Now, as I head into a new project with the Fuller Craft Museum, I have been given an opportunity to create a "breathing installation" of dance and art that revolves solely around glass itself.

In an effort to research this topic up close (and because she knows me and my interests better than nearly anyone), Kim surprised me with possibly my favorite gift to date: A glass blowing class for two, and a scribbled note about how the person I brought didn't have to be her. (Please! As if it wouldn't be.)




Three months later, there we were: standing awkwardly in a class of four as our chill instructor casually meandered through us with a slowly dripping glob of molten glass on the end of a metal tube. As beginners, we were given the options of garden ball, paperweight, or pumpkin. I found myself staring into the intricately detailed swirls of color trapped inside each paperweight, as if tiny planets sitting on a shelf, and knew I had to create one. So did Kim, though her interest seemed to be focused more so on the satisfying feeling of rolling the paperweight around in her hands. (Again, as if this wouldn't be the case.)






Having both chosen to create a paperweight, I was struck by the heat I felt not only from the ovens but from the glass itself. My knuckles felt uncomfortably close to burning as I held a board against Kim's glass to help her shape it into a sphere, much like reaching just a little too far into a campfire to toast that last marshmallow.




As for color, we were surprised to find large buckets of tiny colored chips that we would roll our clear glass through. Our instructor helped us determine the right proportion of chips to give us the different looks we were aiming to achieve. Taking mine out of the kiln, I was a bit over zealous when told I could add air bubbles and twists with a large pair of tongs next to me—I was just so eager to witness for myself how malleable it was! Cooling quickly, the glass went from feeling like a chewed piece of gum to crystalized honey, and it took surprising effort to pry it into shape.

Two days later, it was time to head back to the studio in search of our fully cooled paperweights. The results speak for themselves:

Kim's "Ursula-the-seawitch-the-paperweight."

Merli's "Earth, as seen from the atmosphere."




So here we are, a few weeks later, and I'm still thinking daily about what could be next in my glass explorations. I'm 100% smitten with the medium, and only half-joking with Kim that one of us should build a kiln in the basement (perhaps the one who doesn't currently have a security deposit?). From broken on the floor, to fully formed on my shelf, to washed ashore as glowing pebbles, glass always catches my eye with beauty, light, and intrigue.





Till the next time, Glass...



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Friday, January 27, 2017

2017: Off and Running!

As a reviewer for the Fjord Review, my weekends often involve press releases, packed theaters, and notes scribbled in the dark.


Here we are—just four brisk weeks into the new year and already my plate is full with new projects, culminating events, and guest invitations now through April (and then some, but let’s focus on the next three months for now).

First, a recap of what these projects are:

Voices From the Future: I’ll be participating in Voices From the Future with a voice from the past. Luminarium company member Alison McHorney will perform the one-minute solo from my 2016 work The Grass Never Grows, set to a score of spoken poetry, at this event celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Concert at Longy Hall: Friend and colleague Mel Fitzhugh—a composer whose personal story and professional work are equally intriguing—has invited me to once again perform an improvisationally-inspired choreographic solo alongside cellist Christien Beeuwkes, this time for an afternoon performance of Mel’s musical works at Longy Hall. The concert will take place February 26, 2017.

Mad World: Aurora Borealis has selected Luminarium to be its Guest Artist for its Spring concert Mad World on March 11th, and has specifically asked us to bring my Phoenixial Cycle duet, last presented at the State House in Boston.

Five College Dance Department Careers Panel: I’m thrilled to be representing Mount Holyoke College’s impressive array of Dance Department alumnae at this event. On March 31st, one alum from each of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, UMass, and Hampshire) in the five-college consortium will speak about their careers, advising current students studying in the field. I feel honored to represent my alma mater, and look forward to connecting with future choreographers (hopefully coming to Boston)!

We Create Festival: I’ve been a part of the 2016-17 cohort since September and have been developing new work with the guidance of my project mentor (and longtime friend) Jenny Zuk, developing an art installation exploring the theme of “hidden stories,” as it pertains to those with physical and/or mental disabilities. The culminating performance and exhibition viewing will take place April 8, 2017.

Kinetic Craft: For my annual Cultural Community Outreach Project (which is now in its 6th year), Luminarium will be in residence at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton for the entire week of April school vacation (10-5pm Tuesday, April 18 through Sunday, April 23, 2017). I’m constructing a series of “breathing installations”—a concept I first developed back in 2011 with Luminarium’s fabric installation at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Movement at the Mills—highlighting the five crafting elements: Textiles, Ceramics, Wood, Glass, and Metal. I’ve invited Kim to join me by creating the Ceramics installation, while I continue to develop the other four, each of which will have a dancer performing inside as part of the installation, around the clock.

Boston New Music Initiative’s Spring Concert: Last year, Luminarium was commissioned to create two new choreographic works to accompany two of the musical scores selected from BNMI's international call to artists. I’m excited to be working on a new work, set to John Allemeier’s The Devil’s Turn. This performance of live music and dance will take place at the Armory in Somerville, MA, on April 22nd.

...

That’s the update for now. This quarter is packed with projects and events that lend themselves to interdisciplinary creation and collaboration—AKA, my favorite kind of work! As we speak, my bag contains a notebook full of thoughts and sketches, a 21-page musical score, a crumpled Groupon from Kim and my recent glassblowing adventure (research for Kinetic Craft), and a planner full of upcoming interviews and casual conversations scheduled with mentors and artists (often outside my primary discipline) to further enhance my work.

If this first quarter is any indication, 2017 is going to be an intense and invigorating year. Bring it on!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 10 Professional Highlights of 2016

As a “doer” / “go-getter” with an always active creative brain, I often feel I’m running a race—trying to keep up with the many projects and ideas speeding past me, just out of reach. The result? I find it extremely difficult to acknowledge the ground I gain each season. Despite priding myself on being a deeply introspective person, I cannot seem to translate “completion” into “accomplishment.” That translation comes instead from those around me, who are able to look at the big picture. And while I frequently find it difficult to agree with those outside eyes, once each year I force myself to sit down and reflect: To allow myself the opportunity (though I view it more as a reluctant task) to pinpoint my top 10 accomplishments of the season.



1. Speaking, Presenting, and Performing at the State House

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Luminarium had the honor of performing in one of the most important buildings in Massachusetts. As a regular recipient of LCC grants, and a 2015 winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's (MCC) Gold Star Award, Luminarium was invited by the MCC to join its staff and prominent state legislators at the State House in Boston for the Local Cultural Council (LCC) 2016 Statewide Assembly, a private biennual event celebrating the LCC program. LCC volunteers from across the Commonwealth gathered at the capitol to explore arts and culture beyond their individual perspectives, connecting with community leaders and legislators to discuss the impact of projects that build creative communities through the arts.

Not only did I feel privileged to have my Phoenixial Cycle duet presented to such an artistic and high-powered audience (and to perform, myself, in Kim's Getting There is Half the Battle trio), but I was additionally invited by the MCC to speak on a panel at the event alongside distinguished arts colleagues Ben Taylor (musician), Scarlet Keys (Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music), and keynote speaker Sally Taylor (musician and founder of Consenses). And if those names sound familiar, yes, Sally and Ben are the children of famous musicians Carly Simon and James Taylor—an impressive panel to be sure! View photos of the event here.



2. Co-Chair of Arlington Cultural Council

2016 kicked off with another act of arts advocacy and local politics. A mere three months into my term on the Arlington Cultural Council (ACC), I was humbled to be voted into office as co-chair. During my year-long term on the ACC, I led council meetings alongside my equally impassioned compatriots, and acted as the ACC representative at events both small and large throughout the town, including: speaking in front of hundreds at Town Meeting; attending conferences and forums regarding the Cultural District (and instigating the movement for involvement from the ACC); introducing the Massachusetts Cultural Council's grant program opportunities to local artists through Arlington Town Day and other events; and speaking on behalf of the ACC on Arlington Public News. It was a challenging yet gratifyingly productive year, ended only due to my move into the city and my desire to refocus my efforts on the Boston arts community—my home now both in business and living address. Still, I continue to keep an eye on Arlington's ever-growing arts scene, and hope to one day return in a new capacity.



3. Modeling and Performing in a Retail Promo Video

Things not typically associated with me: hip hop, and modeling merchandise. Yet at the start of 2016, I found myself doing both for Empower Fitness—a company whose merchandise is sold under aliases at major stores such as Target, Walmart, and TJMaxx. Performing hip hop routines choreographed by the talented Gabby Pacheco, the two of us spent an aerobic morning showcasing the company's new product line for a promo video that would soon be pitched to the Target headquarters in Texas. Not a bad way to spend a morning, especially when leaving with both a healthy paycheck and swag!



4. Being Invited to Write for the International Fjord Review

I was absolutely delighted this Spring when founding editor Penelope Ford reached out, inviting me to write for the Fjord Review—an international online magazine for ballet and contemporary dance. Writing for the Fjord Review complements the work I do for The Arts Fuse as a senior contributor and selector of the weekly must-see dance picks (as well as my own independent writing as an artist) while expanding my peer base to across the globe. Canada, London, Italy, New York, Paris, Australia and Glasgow are just some of the regions covered by the publication's skilled writers. I have so enjoyed reviewing major productions as the Fjord Review's Boston-area critic, and look forward to sinking my teeth in further in 2017. Take a peek!



5. TEDxCambridge Commission and Performing at the Boston Opera House

Already high off our performance at the State House in February, Kim and I were further elated when, just days later, we were contacted for another prominent event at an equally famous venue. Luminarium was commissioned to create a new work as the sole opening act for the prestigious TEDxCambridge, performing in one of Boston's most noteworthy theaters (and home of Boston Ballet), the Boston Opera House. The new work, co-choreographed by Kim and myself, featured the full company along with imagery projected across a 50-foot screen created by animation artist Samo. The event on June 9, 2016, was the single largest TED Talks event in the world (even larger than the original TED Talk in Vancouver), with an audience of 2,600 viewers. Luminarium was honored and humbled to have been hand-selected for this position from the wealth of options comprising Boston's vibrant performing arts scene. I've always felt lucky to have stood on many important stages through my career, but this particular stage—this particular experience—left me, for once, speechless. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the day.



6. "300 Years": Celebrating the Wayside Inn Through Music, Film, and Dance

This year's annual Cultural Community Outreach Project (CCOP) took me back to my childhood—and for company member Melenie too, for that matter! Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA, is a beautiful historic site known for being the setting of Longfellow's popular story collection Tales of the Wayside Inn. The event was perfectly timed, syncing up with the inn's 300th anniversary, and though rain held us back from our original date, the final event was sunny, warm, and well attended. This marked my fifth CCOP with Luminarium, and thanks to a grant from the Sudbury Cultural Council and book sales from last year's CCOP, I had the funds to include live music, three outdoor dance performances, and a film projected on the grist mill's walls. While Kim's piece explored the land, mine honored the mill and the history of the inn. As a special surprise, my aunt brought my Noni to the performance. I can't remember the last time she saw my work, and it made the afternoon especially memorable for us both. View photos, videos, and testimonials from 300 Years here.



7. Performing "Phoenixial Cycle" at the Outside the Box Festival

Luminarium was thrilled to be selected for this monumental Boston festival, resurrecting my 2015 work Phoenixial Cycle outdoors on the Tremont Street Stage. Out of all the works we submitted, I'm glad it was this one the festival chose. Not only did it give me an opportunity to revisit the work as a choreographer, but it pushed me as a performer to step into Dream's lead role due to scheduling conflicts. I created this piece with the goal of making a work that physically tired its soloist in reality—not just through acting—as the work revolves around the concept of "burnout." Well, it seems I succeeded. For all the times I watched the company patting Dream on the back for a show well performed (drenched in sweat and breathing heavy), I couldn't fully commend her until performing the role myself. How demanding! Now add hot stage lights under a tent on a 100 degree day on the Boston Common... Was I out of breath? Yes. But was the experience worth it? Always.



8. The Sheep Shoot

Dancing in the countryside... Each year, Luminarium performs in the Wiscasset Art Walk, and in 2015, the company was dancing alongside several beautiful sheep photos in Sylvan Gallery when the artist, Nina Fuller, approached us with the possibility of doing a photoshoot with her sheep in the future. I followed up earlier this year, and on the way home from the 2016 art walk, Luminarium stopped at Nina's farm, where the company mingled with its inhabitants on and off camera. I can't say I've ever done a dance photo shoot quite like this one before. While most of the sheep were skittish, Brenda (seen above) and Emma helped ease our way into the herd. With 30 sheep, two horses, a rooster, a donkey, and a mini horse, Kim and I had a blast performing on Lily Brook Farm, while giving our company members a new experience for the books. View the full series here.



9. Collaborating with Composer Mali Sastri on "The Hostess Diaries"

With an abundance of funding for this year's CCOP, I decided to take on a new challenge: Creating a work that would debut at the Wayside, but that would also be relevant beyond that specific venue. Reading through the inn's old journal entries known as "the hostess diaries," I became acutely aware of history repeating itself. From fires, to wars, to harsh New England winters, many of the old entries ring true for modern times, yet even when describing challenges and moments of sadness, the journals also continuously reference beautiful flowers adorning the rooms, joyous new meetings of strangers telling stories by the hearth, and excitement as celebrities stopped at the inn on their travels.

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with the wildly talented musician Mali Sastri (of the Boston-based band Jaggery) on this project. My original intent was to choreograph the work, then have Mali create a soundscore to match, but, as luck would have it, my choreography had to be put unexpectedly on hold as Kim and I turned our focus to our new commission for TEDxCambridge instead. Mali and I met for coffee on several occasions throughout these months, during which she did her own research for inspiration, and in the end, her music was created first. We went back and forth a little, tweaking it as needed, before I dove into three intense rehearsals leading up to the Wayside Inn event to finish what I'd started. The end result was a deeply collaborative new work that seemed to resonate with its viewers.

The challenge (and excitement) came when bringing it indoors to the Boston University Dance Theater later in the season for Luminarium's feature production Portal: Stories from the Edge. Suddenly lighting, sound amplification, and staging became a larger focus. Giving cellist Jonah Sacks his own light and space upstage so as to highlight him (not hide him, as is often typical with live music at dance performances) and hooking Mali up to a lapel mic, the dancers and I tweaked the choreography to incorporate both musicians as active performers onstage. Mali wove in and out, calmly inserting herself into the choreography as if the symbolic keeper of time, all while singing her lyrics with gritty strength and honey-like fluidity. In the end, this work is the piece I'm most proud of this season (aside from the work Kim and I co-choreographed for the Opera House, of course!). Thank you to Mali for being such an inspiring collaborator, and to the dancers (Amy, Katie, Dream, Alison, and Melenie) for being open to discussion and input while making this historically-relevant work. (And for joining me with giddy enthusiasm to dance in hoop skirts!)



10. "We Create" 2016-17 Cohort

This final 2016 accomplishment is one that will continue to expand into the new year. My days are typically focused on creating new work for Luminarium, freelance writing assignments, and graphic design for work. Sadly, there are projects that find their way into my journal that don't necessarily fall into those categories. For this reason, I'm beyond grateful to have been chosen for the 2016-17 cohort of We Create—"an annual festival in Boston that features the works of a selected group of the most talented women artists in Massachusetts," founded in 2013 by Puerto Rican artist, Marsha Parrilla of Danza Org├ínica. For this festival, I'm working with long-time friend and Harvard PhD candidate Jenny Zuk to build an installation piece celebrating the vibrancy of those with disabilities. With the theme of "hidden stories," it has been a moving experience to connect with my fellow cohort artists, as they each dive into their respective works.


Those are the highlights of 2016. Here’s to another fruitful season for all of us in 2017!