Taller Puertorriqueño to present Merián Soto’s Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPPNov 29th, 2012 | By Steven Weisz | Category: Archived Articles
Taller Puertorriqueño presents Merián Soto’s Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPP at the Lorenzo Homar Gallery, from Dec 7, 2012 – January 19, 2013. Triangulations is presented as part of Taller’s 2012-13 series of exhibitions titled Claiming Spaces. The opening reception will take place Friday Dec 7 from 5:30-8PM. Admission is FREE. The Lorenzo Homar Gallery is located at 2721 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133.
Triangulations, Soto’s first one-person exhibition, features two, three-channel video works created from performance-documents of the award–winning One Year Wissahickon Park Project, OYWPP. All videos were generated through a self-documentation process wherein the performer documents her/his own performance. Triangulations recaptures the intersection of movement, sound and place/time in OYWPP.
The videos screened in two sections of the gallery are shown in continuous loop. The public is encouraged to sit or roam to each presentation, in a similar fashion experienced in the live performances. Soto describes the dancing and movement in each piece as an, “attentive and kinesthetic experience of nature both for performers and audiences.” This performance series is an outgrowth of her Branch Dance series in 2006, “a meditative series of performances that involved moving into stillness, the investigation of gravity as an essential force and the detailed sequencing of movement through inner pathways.”
OYWPP was a series of branch dance performances in Wissahickon Park throughout 07-08, featuring dancers Shavon Norris, Olive Prince, Jumatatu Poe, Noemí Segarra, Merián Soto, and percussionist and composer Toshi Makihara. It was designed around the concept of four: four seasons, four sites, four performances in each site for a total of 16 performances. Performances lasted 45 minutes and were held Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM, to take advantage of the crisp morning air and angled sunlight. The 16 performances were completed in all sorts of conditions including temperatures ranging from 20 to 98 degrees, rain, snow, sleet, high winds, and bugs. OYWPP was awarded a ROCKY (Greater Philadelphia Dance & Physical Theater Award) in 2008.
Branch Dance Series History
“Connection is at the center of the branch dance practice. You connect by sensing the shape, weight, and flow of the branch. You maintain connection as you observe (compose) your response in connection with the particular moment in timespace. Riding the edge of balance, you move seamlessly, moving into a “zone” of expanded consciousness. The performances, as captured in the videos, anchor visuo-aural-kinesthetic-poetic intersections.” Merián Soto
Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPP continues Soto’s Branch Dance Series that began in 2005. The series has included dozens of solo “guerilla” performances in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park (2005–06), the award-winning year-long seasonal project One Year Wissahickon Park Project or OYWPP (2007–08), critically acclaimed staged works, the performance/installation Postcards From the Woods (2009 Live Arts Festival), two year-long “sister” projects of four seasonal performances: Wissahickon Reunion in Philadelphia, and Branch Dances at Wave Hill in New York City, and most recently the monumental and critically acclaimed SoMoS.
The branch dances are simple, yet powerfully communicative, works centered on consciousness in performance and in practice. They are grounded in a meditative dance practice involving the detailed sequencing of movements through the investigation of gravity through a dynamic shifting of balance and alignment. The placement of the body in nature, either real or simulated, triggers a recognition of ourselves as nature.
Merián Soto’s art begins in her body. Since 1999 she has been an associate professor of dance at the Esther Boyer College of Music & Dance at Temple University. She creates dance performances that are rooted in the body as the vessel and connector to the mind, spirit, and culture. Her work is about transformation and empowerment through embodiment. This mission has informed a professional artistic practice of choreography, interdisciplinary performance, and teaching for over 30 years.
The Branch Dance Series, first imagined in 2005, has represented a return to nature as source of Soto’s work. Growing up in Puerto Rico, Soto developed love and affinity for flowing forms and the polyrhythmic patterns and baroque diversity of the sea, wind, tropical reefs, and rainforests. This series has included the critically acclaimed stage works Three Branch Songs (2006) and What is Love? (2008), commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the interdisciplinary works States of Gravity & Light #1 and #2 (2006, 2007), A Song of the Heart (2009), Postcards from the Woods (2009), Winter Dance (2011), and SoMoS (2012)
Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPP
Opening Reception: Dec 7, 5:30-8PM – FREE
Lorenzo Homar Gallery, 2721 North 5th St, Philadelphia 19133
Exhibit Runs: Dec 7, 2012- Jan 19, 2013
Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and special events
Presented by Taller Puertorriqueño’s Claiming Spaces