Mariana Valencia premieres Originators over three performances, January 29-31 at Abrons Art Center. Commissioned as part of ISSUE's Artist-In-Residence Program, Originators is a choreography and lecture shaped from the language of history and dance. This dense activation of content doesn't claim itself to a genre— rather, Originators proposes a new space where blended mediums meet without a hierarchy of value in a time-based work.
Originators is a collection of travel logs and personal anecdotes that reveal an analytic and humorous subtext for Valencia's work in choreography, ethnography and installation. This frame of reference points to her dance work's origination story. Originators blends identity politics with cultural histories from a recent trip to Mexico, where Valencia conducts an ethnography of Sonidero Dances. Mashed against these ethnographic observations are anecdotal revelations from Valencia's personal history and identity as a queer Latina woman born and raised in Chicago. With these subjects as root material, Valencia observes her past and draws direct links to where her work begins.
Three other performers help bring Originators to life: Elsa Brown as a domestic worker who makes seltzer, Lydia Okrent as a dancer guiding Valencia through complex dance routines, and Kate Brandt as a mother figure, calling the performance in stage manager fashion, and keeping everyone on track. Told in a personal tone, Originators is a cosmogram of marginality, class, and life that is dependent on the collective experience to physically and spiritually lift each other up.
With performers Mariana Valencia, Lydia Okrent, Elsa Brown and Kate Brandt; script, costume and set by Mariana Valencia; lighting design by Elliott Jenetopulos.
Mariana Valencia is a dance artist, whose work has been presented in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. During 2014, Valencia was Artist in Residence at Chez Bushwick, New York Live Arts, Show Box L.A. and Pieter Pasd. Valencia's choreography and research have been supported by funds from the Yellow House Fund of the Tides Foundation from 2010-13 and she is a Jerome Travel and Study Grant fellow for 2014-16, Mariana has costumed for Jen Rosenblit, Vanessa Anspaugh, Geo Wyeth and Lauren Bakst. As a performer, she has collaborated with musician Jules Gimbrone, dance artists Kim Brandt and robbinschilds and video artists Elizabeth Orr and Kate Brandt. Valencia has a BA from Hampshire College in interdisciplinary performance.