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Merian Soto
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Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
United States
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MERIÁN SOTO DANCE & PERFORMANCE - New Work: Three Branch Songs and States of Gravity & Light - AT HOSTOS CENTER FOR THE ARTS & CULTURE - November 2 & 3, 2006

by Merian Soto
October 17, 2006
Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
450 Grand Concourse at 149 Street
Directions to Hostos Community College: #2,4,5, Bx1, Bx19 to Grand Concourse/149St.
Bronx, NY 10451
(718) 518-4455
(New York, NY â€" October 10, 2006) Merián Soto Dance and Performance presents an evening of "dances with branches": Three Branch Songs and States of Gravity & Light which will be presented at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in November 2006. In two parts, "dances with branches" is slow, meditative work with live music, designed as performance frames for an improvisational movement practice that Ms. Soto, an award-winning dancer and choreographer, has been developing over the past two years.

Working improvisationally and with attention to connecting somatic, energetic, and mental processes, Soto's "dances with branches" are centered on consciousness in action, in performance, in practice. The work involves the investigation of gravity as an essential force; the detailed sequencing of movement through inner pathways, constantly shifting into balance and alignment; and the investigation of speed including very slow movement approaching stillness. These pieces also continue Soto's extensive investigation of movement work with live music.

Performances will be held on Thursday November 2 and Friday November 3. Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture is located at 450 Grand Concourse at 149 Street in the Bronx. Performances begin at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $12/regular and $8/student and can be purchased by calling the Hostos Community College box office at (718) 518-4455 or by logging on to www.hostos.cuny.edu/culturearts. Directions to Hostos Community College: #2,4,5, Bx1, Bx19 to Grand Concourse/149St.

Three Branch Songs and States of Gravity & Light come from a performance practice Ms. Soto developed in at Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia for the past year. The works are a departure from Soto's recent works centering on Salsa. Here the focus back on the body itself and the detailed articulation of movement and energetic directives.

Three Branch Songs, a duet for Ms. Soto and pianist Elio Villafranca continues the collaboration between Ms. Soto and Elio Villafranca and intensifies Ms Soto's career-long investigation of dance with live music into a new level of improvisation.

States of Gravity & Light, features dancers Noemí Segarra and Jumatatu Poe, lighting by Dave Overcamp, and costumes by Christine Darch. It is set within a videoscape of images of Wissahickon Park, shot by Soto in a hand-held style that emphasizes the relationship of the gaze and movement of the body.

Merián Soto's fusion of choreographed and improvised movement transforms everyday life experiences, memory and history into innovative work. For more than 20 years, she has been creating and presenting solo, group and collaborative pieces. Her approach to choreography is a metamorphosis of the purely physical and mundane, accentuated by intense drama and passion. Soto's choreography is grounded in post-modern structures she calls energy modes â€" punctuated movement outbursts that unfold organically from one energy state to another. Her precisely sequenced energetic transitions elicit powerful performances and encourage movement that is highly sensorial.

Merián Soto is one of the Founding Artistic Directors of Pepatián, the Bronx-based, multi-disciplinary Latino arts organization. In that capacity, she developed, curated and produced numerous projects featuring new works by emerging Latino dance and performance artists.

Bessie Award winner Merián Soto's work has been presented across the US and internationally since the mid '80s. She is Associate Professor and MFA Coordinator of the Department of Dance at the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University.

Cuban-born Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca is a graduate of the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the US, Villafranca has been deeply involved in the Latin Jazz scene as an innovator and preserver of Afro-Cuban traditions within Jazz ensembles and has performed with such illustrious artists as Lenny White, Jane Bunnett, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, Terell Stafford, Ralph Peterson, Cándido Camero, Bobby Sanabria & the Afro Cuban Jazz All-Stars Big Band, Eddie Henderson, Sonny Fortune, Johnny Pacheco, Juan Pablo Torres, Charles Gayle, and Pat Martino. His debut album Encantaciones was selected by the prestigious Jazz Times Magazine among the top 50 best albums of 2003. Mr. Villafranca is resident professor at the University of the Arts and Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) in Philadelphia.

The creation of Three Branch Songs and States of Gravity & Light was made possible with major support from Temple University and the New York State DanceForce. Three Branch Songs and States of Gravity & Light is made possible by New York State Council on the Arts, Altria Group Inc. and Harkness Foundation for Dance. Assisted by Pepatian.

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Contact: Jane Gabriels, Tel. (917) 903-7651
Merian Soto

Merian Soto

Photo © & courtesy of Marisol Diaz


Merian Soto

Merian Soto

Photo © & courtesy of Marisol Diaz


Merian Soto

Merian Soto

Photo © & courtesy of Marisol Diaz

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