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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

As bodies, lights, and melodies blur into motion...

After allowing myself a full 48 hours to digest all of the post-show emotions that came with this weekend's production (Calling To You by the Deborah Abel Dance Company, Music by Lee Perlman), I feel it's time to put to words a few thoughts before life carries me away to the next project.

One of the things I've found most striking since the concert is the full realization that the production I witnessed and now fondly remember is a very different performance than what met the eyes of the audience. This is not said to belittle the experience of the viewers, but rather to emphasize the beauty of the experience I was given each day. The audience sees a finished, polished product. They feed off the energy of the dancers, set, lights, and music. They take it in, just as the rest of us do, but what they see is controlled by the boundaries of the wings and the acoustics of the space.

This is what I see:

In fact, what I "see" isn't so different as a performer backstage, so really, it's what I feel. I feel the sting of the sharp lights, the heat of the air onstage as it hovers in the wings. I feel the pulse of the live music, the audible rhythmic breathing of the dancers onstage. I feel the anxious energy of the performers across from me in the opposite wings, adjusting their costumes, bouncing, settling to watch, then turning their minds back to their upcoming duets. I feel the squeaking of feet across marley, and the relief of a piece well executed as darkened bodies exit the audience's world and re-enter mine. It is such a deeply moving experience, and at the same time, one that I often don't allow myself to enjoy, as I prepare for my own moment in the lights.

So while I look forward to seeing the footage of this performance, and the photos taken the night before, I am currently most grateful for these images to remind me of the production in its most beautiful and raw form. The talent of the other dancers, musicians, and designers involved in this production still astounds me, and I consider myself so fortunate to have been given the chance to work alongside them since October.

And now that 48 hours have come and gone, now that my brain and body have had a moment to relax, I'm no longer asking myself how I will fill this void, because I'm realizing it isn't a void at all. The end of this performance didn't leave a hole in my life the way I thought it would, leaving me anxious to fill it with the many other things on my plate. Instead, I've chosen to view this work, this world we've created and shared with 744 viewers and counting, as an ongoing entity that will continue to exist until the next time we come together, regroup, recharge, and re-emerge. With a tour to India on the horizon, the eloquent and encouraging feedback from Ambassador Rao, the multitudes of heart-felt comments from this Boston audience, and our own ongoing artistic energy, there really isn't any way for this creation to "end" even for a moment!

Finally, my favorite image:

Deborah Abel, watching her company perform the Sadhu piece,
as bodies, lights, and melodies blur into motion.

 To learn more about this production, or to donate to the company's trip to India, please visit www.deborahabeldance.com.