Ballet Hispánico, the nation’s leading Latino dance organization since 1970 and recognized as one of America’s Cultural Treasures, announces Marielis Garcia and Spencer James Weidie as selected participants of the 2021 Instituto Coreográfico. Instituto Coreográfico gives a voice to young Latinx artists and opens access to the dance-making process for all audiences.
A dancer, choreographer, and educator, Marielis Garcia holds a BFA in Dance and an MFA in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice. Marielis is currently an Artist in Residence at University of Maryland, and is developing work for Alvin Ailey/Fordham School as part of the New Directions Choreography Lab.
“In concert dance, there are very few, if any, female Dominican-American choreographers in the conversation/canon. I hope to change that,” said Garcia. “I use the corporeality of the body to direct and choreograph environments that give rise to curiosity, foster creativity, and kindle transparency and exchange. My work is a manifestation of my colliding roles as maker, performer, and audience; making me invariably dependent on the people, the bodies and the emotions of those who dance, or watch one of my works.”
Native Hawaiian Spencer James Weidie is a dancer, choreographer, and photographer who has studied at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY (B.F.A. Honors), London Contemporary Dance School, Springboard Danse Montreal, and with the Merce Cunningham Trust. Spencer is a current company member of Brian Brooks Dance, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and was a featured guest artist with Gallim Dance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Now in its ninth year, the Instituto has helped to provide an important platform for 11 choreographers. The program provides young Latinx artists a supportive environment in which to explore process, cultural identity, and movement invention through the creation of dance.
When Ballet Hispánico was founded 50 years ago, Latinx artists were invisible to the dance field. Since its founding, Ballet Hispánico has played an instrumental role in changing the narrative; now, generations of Latinx artists have produced art that reinterpret their heritage, bringing fresh perspectives on the Latinx experience. In 2010, Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro launched Instituto Coreográfico, a choreographic institute for Latinx artists to create culturally specific work in a nurturing learning laboratory of dance. The choreographer in residence is paired with an emerging filmmaker to document their process, create promotional materials, and add a layer of artistic collaboration.