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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A few things give me pause: space

There are a few things in this world that particularly never cease to intrigue me emotionally, physically, psychologically, and artistically: Glass, light, water, and space are among them. Tonight I found myself focused on the last.

I think everyone has a moment when they stop to contemplate where they were in their lives the last time they entered a space. Perhaps it's as large a gap as revisiting one's childhood home, or as subtle as contemplating just how many times you've walked by a certain store week after week. Whatever the moment, it is an awakening experience to realize that a "past self" has stood in the same space you now occupy; to compare who you were in that moment with the person you are now.

Driving down Mass Ave in Lexington tonight, I found myself connecting the dots--retracing the breadcrumbs left by my own past selves. I first passed the site of Vinny T's, a high school favorite and a chance to feel like an adult while ordering too much Italian food for our budgets. Fast-forward five years to June 24, 2010. Kim and I meet to discuss the possibility of putting together our own dance company, or maybe just a single show (I mean, who knows how to start a dance company). I invite her to the restaurant I know so well, and as we yank on the permanently sealed door, I realize the restaurant I once thought of as my meeting place is now closed for good. We try various venues and eventually whip out our notebooks while sitting in the window of the local Starbucks across the street. Fast-forward again to February 17, 2012. I'm sitting next door, also in the window, meeting with members of a new dance company I am a part of (in addition to my own now established company, of course) to bear the loss of another dancer in the group.

Fast-forward one more time to tonight. I am sitting in traffic, stopped in time. To my left is the space where the restaurant was; to my right are the two windows of Starbucks and Nourish. I am suddenly struck by the intense proximity of the two, not even ten feet apart, sitting there side by side like two windows into another part of my life. It's moments like this when I can almost see myself sitting in one window laughing with an old friend, completely unaware of the dance adventures awaiting us, and in the other, at a very different point in my life, deeply saddened, but surrounded by people I love and never knew existed when I sat next door two years before.

It reminds me of my fascination with the old black and white Time Machine movie. How it boggled my mind that his machine never moved forward physically, but that all of these different cultures could occupy the same space within different times.

One final realization as the clock strikes 3am... Luminarium's season is now underway, and so far both of the pieces I've presented this year have dealt with this very concept (What seems so is transition (live) and the Celebration of Preservation Project). Why is it so present in my mind?