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, May 10, 2013

Smoke against the glass

I enjoy the movement of something as simple as the swirling of matte-finish smoke against crisp, reflective glass, as I cap a candle in its jar.

I find comfort in the gift that is to write; in my ability to express my thoughts through text. To translate from mind to tongue, and from tongue to hand. To find the thread connecting each thought to my spine, then weave them across a page.

And now, the challenge...and the outlet...far greater than my personal journal can provide:

Luminarium is currently casting its largest production of the year, Secrets & Motion; a production driven by the fluid integration of dance, light, and text. Text in the form of journal entries, notes, admissions, secrets. What is text, if not a series of thoughts we feel deserve the chance to breathe on their own by translating them to paper?

Kim is busy underway with a series of interpretations of her own, all of which I am eager to watch unfold. Yet for me, the theme seems to consistently return to the one above; to the concept of releasing a thought into the world and watching it travel away from you, as it learns to breathe and exist on its own.

The two strongest images in my mind moving forward are ones that involve this integration of secrets and motion in the most literal sense. In the first, a woman sits covered in tiny paper notes that gradually fly off her body, leaving her grasping at the final one to keep. The second image is still a blur, but is deeply inspired by the image below:

The thought of writing a wish on a lantern and sending it out to sea for a journey of its own is oddly striking to me, not just in its visual and symbolic beauty, but in the curiosity of its adventure.

So this is the moment I love and loathe. The moment when I can feel that matte-finish smoke swirling, toiling, inside my mind in an effort to connect the dots. To take these images and discern the voices I'd like to give them through my choreography. And as this smoke swirls beautifully in its mystery, I am ready for the gray to clear. To find my direction through the clarity of that crisp, reflective glass. To begin.