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.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Three Months, Nine Photos, One Direction: Forward

Life has a way of pushing itself to a speed just faster than your own. A race? Not necessarily. But we all have moments when we pause at the top of the road to look back down the hill at all of the events that have unfolded within a certain stretch of highway.

Below is a journey in photographs marking my most favorite adventures since March. A brief look at the marks in the pavement behind me as I keep traveling forward.

Luminarium Photoshoot
Shane Godfrey Photography
As March emerged, so did I! Pulling myself out of the darkness I'd crawled into during my weeks of head-trauma recovery. The first weekend provided a 12-hour (yes, literally) photoshoot for Luminarium. A bonding experience with Kim (as if we need more of those), and a chance to meet a gifted photographer, Shane Godfrey.

A bright flower enjoying the unexpected hot summer air in my room...in March!
The end of March brought with it an unexpected stroke of heat--a dash of summer in the dead of winter. With my concussion finally beat and my body (and mind) pushing itself back into shape, this wave of warmth was an all too welcome aid.

"Calling to You" - Deborah Abel Dance Company
Duet with Joe Gonzales
Liza Voll Photography
The big week: Tech tech tech, then the first and final Boston performances of Calling to You... or will it be? A beautiful production, wonderful musicians, inspiring choreography, and dancers I trust and admire.


April truly flew by. I don't believe it had a full 30 days this year, yet some of its days also felt like 2 in one! Confusing? Yes. But let me give you an example of one day in mid-April.

 Kim picks me up at 8am. Thank goodness we decide to swing by Starbucks (little did I know that would be my only food for the day: A slice of banana bread and a grande passionfruit iced tea), as we race across state to speak at a Senior Seminar at our Alma Mater, Mount Holyoke College. One fantastic class later, we spend a moment or two chatting with some past professors before my phone rings. Can I shift my interview with the Concord Journal up an hour? Sure! Kim, get in the car!!

"Merli Guerra, a native of Concord, will be performing a dance
at the Orchard House on May 27 during Orchard House’s
centennial celebration in Concord." - The Concord Journal
We race back across state with enough time to change cars, send Kim off to her job, and me off to an interview with the Concord Journal about my "Celebration of Preservation" Project, funded by a grant through the Concord Cultural Council, presenting new work with Luminarium on the grounds of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in May. Didn't catch the article when Luminarium promoted it? Well, here it is!
To Turnquist, the project is a perfect blending of so many things that are important to her personally and to the mission of the Orchard House.

“The Alcotts were very creative people,” she said. “They loved music and painting. Visual arts and performing arts were equally important to them. Merli is taking that creative energy and applying that to a home now beloved by millions of people all over the world. It’s a wonderful convergence.”
- Kim Hooper, The Concord Journal

Matt Johnson & Amyko Ishizaki rehearsing the
"Celebration of Preservation" Project
Most of May was spent keeping up the pace with rehearsals for my upcoming show in Concord, which involved sifting through 44 recordings, creatively forging a stage, borrowing sound equipment, and (of course) finishing the movement!

Boston in the Rain...
In the middle of the month, I found myself sick with a cold and greeted with a last-minute text from nationally-acclaimed Jordan Matter of the Dancers Among Us project. A more detailed post to come on this later, but within a few hours, Joe and I found ourselves leg-deep in the Boston Gardens duck and goose infested pond. Delightful! Hanging upside down, soaked by the rain pouring down, but encouraged by the photographer on shore giving us direction, I couldn't decide if it was stranger to feel my head dunking in and out of the dirty Boston water, or to feel my makeup dripping upward as the rain rolled down my face! A fantastic experience that, oddly enough, seemed to shake my cold. Looking forward to seeing the final image...

A face-painted family watches the performance unfold.
Concord, Mass.
Finally, the month ended with a healthy dose of beautiful weather and an exceptional turnout at the Centennial Celebration of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. Everything came together beautifully. I could not have been happier with the performances. More on this event to appear on this blog soon, but for now, view videos and photos on the Luminarium blog instead.

The end of the day. Leaving Boston behind
as I head to the Cape for Memorial Day.
I don't care about the holiday.
I don't care about the destination.
I just care about the people I'll be with,
and the moment when I'll stop driving and just close my eyes.
So there it is. My past three months in the review mirror, as I keep heading...well...somewhere even better!