Merián Soto/The Branch Dance Series
The branch dances are simple, yet powerfully communicative, works centered on consciousness in action, in performance, in practice. They are grounded in a meditative movement practice involving the detailed sequencing of movement through inner pathways; the investigation of gravity through dynamic shifting of balance and alignment; and the investigation of a spectrum of tempi. The simplicity of the performance task — to connect/harmonize (body/mind/place/) while approaching stillness always results in heightened consciousness and a sense of centering for both dancers and viewers.
The dancer practices observing relational connections between breath, nerves, bones, viscera, heart, sound, memory, the present, ideas; the focusing of the mind; how light, temperature, sound, and vision affect experience —how the sensory organs can pull the body into action; how gravity determines structure; how relational structure in the body has inherent expressive possibilities; how thought leaves pathways in the body; the experience of performance — how this informs dance/life. Maintaining energetic balance and flow in the body as it responds to
weight, place, temperature, sound, light, etc., allows the performer (and the viewer) to sense, imagine, and experience, conceptual and poetic relationships, meanings, and potentialities.
Since 2005, Soto has created dozens site adaptive works in in parks, the stage, as well as installations. These have includes the critically acclaimed Three Branch Songs (2006), States of Gravity & Light (2007), Postcards from the Woods (2009), the award winning SoMoS (2012) and yearlong seasonal projects such as the One Year Wissahickon Park Project (2007-08) and Branch Dances @ Wave Hill (2011-12).
One Year Wissahickon Park Project
Branch Dances @ The Barnes
Photo: Lindsay Browning
"The glacial pace of their transformations forces the viewer to disconnect from whatever momentum they blew in with, to settle... Time being our most precious resource, how powerful to craft a dance that gives it back to us." --Lisa Kraus, Dance Critic