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.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hitting "pause" - A successful third season

Kate Digby once choreographed a piece on students at Concord Academy's Summer Stages program that involved a fantastically frantic and well-timed chaos of dancers running on and offstage, all while tuned into their own headsets to a song we (the audience) never heard. As the piece came to its end, the shouted command of "stop" broke the silence, and all went to black as the dancers paused their iPods in sync.

This year has felt like a real life run of that piece. From start to finish, Luminarium's third season has kept Kim, myself, and our dancers running, dancing, jumping, catching, all in perfect sync with one another as we hurtled ourselves towards the finish line, and while keeping our audience members, community, and supporters pleasantly unburdened by the driving melody running day in / day out through our heads. Now, with Luminarium's final production of Secrets & Motion completed, we can finally hit "stop." ...Or at the very least, "pause."

Merli V. Guerra at the BU Performance of Secrets & Motion
Photo: Ari Adzhigirey, Courtesy of Mount Holyoke Alumnae News
Click here to view the accompanying video interview.

SECRETS & MOTION HIGHLIGHTS

"It’s no secret that the LUMINARIUM DANCE COMPANY is one of the most intelligent and innovative dance troupes in Boston."
Empowering words coming from Beverly Creasey of the Boston Arts Review! Her review of our production (Poetry in Motion) is both beautifully written and rewarding to read. So, too, is Mike Hoban's review (Luminarium Closes Season with Illuminating 'Secrets & Motion'), written from the viewpoint of a self-declared non-dance viewer, and giving our production an exciting 4 Stars!

Below, then, is a compilation of press quotes about the work I created for this year's large-scale production Secrets & Motion. It was a fantastic and well-received performance, and I can only hope Kim will compile a similar list of her own, as her works were equally highlighted by the press:

Merli V. Guerra in Left is Loss (or "The Prelude")
Luminarium Dance Company's Secrets & Motion, 2013
Choreographer: Merli V. Guerra
Photo: Ryan Carollo

"Guerra gives a tour de force (both performing and choreographing), inhabiting the language of the poem, “burning” and “falling through the floorboards” so that we truly listen to the verse, not just the rhythm of the poetry, absorbing every word."
BOSTON ARTS REVIEW


l. to r. Jennifer Roberts and Katie McGrail in Hush
Luminarium Dance Company's Secrets & Motion, 2013
Choreographer: Merli V. Guerra
Photo: Ryan Carollo

"Hush was the evening's most ambitious and surreal number, with five opaque, illuminated 3.5' x 3.5' boxes, each containing one dancer with another performing outside of each box. Each outside dancer then helped/encouraged/drew/re-animated the inside dancers out of the boxes, and it was fascinating to watch the work unfold."
BOSTON EVENTS INSIDER
"Hush" was the evening's most ambitious and surreal number, with five opaque, illuminated 3.5' x 3.5' boxes, each containing one dancer with another performing outside of each box. Each outside dancer then helped/encouraged/drew/re-animated the inside dancers out of the boxes, and it was fascinating to watch the work unfold. - See more at: http://bostoneventsinsider.com/2013/11/luminarium-closes-season-with.html#sthash.RSWpbnwr.dpuf


Jess Chang in The One I Keep
Luminarium Dance Company's Secrets & Motion, 2013
Choreographer: Merli V. Guerra
Film Still

"Special mention, too, should be made of Guerra’s ingenious video (The One I Keep) of Jess Chang awash in tiny bits of paper, snippets of sentences which fall like snow, then fly up like a swarm of insects, ending in a joyous coup de theatre with Chang savoring the last fragment…"
BOSTON ARTS REVIEW 

"A pretty brilliant video"
BOSTON EVENTS INSIDER

"[The One I Keep] reveals Guerra to be a pretty talented film maker as well. The short shows dancer Jess Chang seated in a chair with a cascade of confetti falling upward (an effect produced by reverse camera motion) and it's just really cool to watch. It was a terrific ending to the multimedia show."
BOSTON EVENTS INSIDER