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Taller Puertorriqueño to present Merián Soto’s Triangulations: Revisiting OYWPP

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 ProjectOYWPP.  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

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
Merián Soto

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
Sunday closed
Cost: Free
Presented by Taller Puertorriqueño’s Claiming Spaces

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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