Choreographer: Christine Suarez
Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:
In 1998 I founded SuarezDanceTheater, a New York-based not-for-profit, ensemble of dancers, actors and musicians that were committed to collaboratively creating original dance-theater that is rooted in rigorous dancing and compelling narrative. Since relocating to Los Angeles, I have been invigorated by making dances in unexpected places as an independent choreographer. Each new project evidences my faith in the collaborative process and belief that this generosity spills out to create an intimate and shared space with the viewer. I am committed to finding new ways to see and experience dance in particular bringing dance to public spaces. I want to not only push the boundaries of how we experience dance but also what are we experiencing, in essence loosening the confines of the container that dance inhabits.
Short Artist/Company Bio:
Christine Suarez is a Los Angeles-based performer, choreographer and educator. Born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana, she lived and worked in New York City for twelve years: training, performing and creating new work for dance and theater in and with downtown venues and artists. Her choreography has been presented at various venues including P.S. 122, Dancespace Project and HERE in New York and Anatomy Riot, REDCAT, and Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles. She was an Artist in Residence at Tribeca Performing Arts Center from 2003-2006. Touring work includes performances and residencies in Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana and Tallinn, Estonia. She has been awarded grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Puffin Foundation, Meet the Composer, JP Morgan Chase Regrant, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. She has been a guest teacher at Emory University, Indiana University, Southeastern University of Louisiana and Louisiana State University. She holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department and a BA in Theater and English Literature from Emory University. She is currently developing a dance program at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital and making a series of dance that will be performed in Los Angeles area parks and playgrounds.
Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:
(in no particular order)
I left my life in New York City and moved across the country to Los Angeles, had back surgery, got divorced, completed the MFA program at UCLA, received a grant from Hispanic Scholarship Fund McNamara Family Creative Arts Projects which fulfilled my dream of producing Wet Spots in three cottages, fell in love, got married, had a baby, and toured to Eastern Europe. I perform, create new work, curate, collaborate, teach and am in the process of developing a dance program at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital for veterans with severe mental illness. I say all this because I have found more and more that my life feeds and inspires my dance-making and visa versa.
What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?
I am eager for the opportunity to exchange with other artists whose work is new to me. I am looking for chances to have my energies completely focused on myself as an artist: giving and receiving, free of the distractions of my regular routine.
Christine will be bringing two works to the Festival.
Number of performers: 20+
Title: a beach dance
Brief Description of the Work: a beach dance is a mobile, public, community-based dance. I invited dancers and non-dancers from all walks of life to learn a simple phrase and join me for this guerilla-style performance. Performers were scattered along the shoreline for about 2 miles. A dancing mob slowly accumulates as we progress. My intent was to spread the joy of moving in a public space, reminding all that anyone and everyone can dance and, much to my delight, many of the beach-goers along our route spontaneously joined in. I am proposing this to happen on the beach at some point during the festival. I would invite all the participants from the festival to be in it. It would be an exciting opportunity for us to move and celebrate together while connecting with the public in a public space.
Choreographer: Christine Suarez
Number of performers: 1
Title: Wet Spots: Solo
Length: as a work in progress: 5 minutes
Brief Description of the Work: I am using this solo as the beginning structure to continue my investigation of the piece. My intention, with both form and content, is to dig deeper. I asked several women to tell me about their first and most memorable orgasms. Using one woman’s answers as the score, I created a physical and theatrical landscape. We hear about her youth that was abundant with big and crazy orgasms and then her present-day difficulty in finding that ‘right’ spot. Where did it go? Why did it leave? These questions are the foundation that I will build upon in the next incarnation. In May 2010, I presented the beginning workings of Wet Spots: Solo at the Imagining Bodies Symposium in Tallinn, Estonia. My first step toward creating a safe, easy, shared space with the audience is to take the uncorked Champagne that appears at the end of the piece and share it with the audience. We will drink and I will become “The Orgasm Historian”, sharing bits of female orgasm history. This character has done all of the research, seems to have all of the answers, but we will learn that pleasure eludes her. Ultimately the “Historian” becomes “The Woman in Search of an Orgasm.” This characterization will be built with both words and physical choreography. As with the work sample, I want to continue to use humor as an approach, but also reach beyond it to uncover the anxiety that lies beneath the joke.
Completed Work Sample (This is NOT a submission. This is support material for my work-in-progress submission)
Number of performers: 9
Title: Wet Spots: The Story Project
Length: 35 min
YouTube Link (if it is up on YouTube):
I produced Wet Spots: The Story Project in May 2008 at the Venice Beach Eco Cottages. Audiences of 4-6 people were led through these three picturesque cottages to encounter a series of orgasmic portraits of women in search of their pleasure. Each room offered an intimate and sensual experience of dance, micro-theater, audio installations and food. I collaborated with eight women who embodied the youthful, the post-menopausal, the queer and the pregnant (I was seven months pregnant when we performed.) I did a large amount of research about the history of female orgasm and also did my own interviews with women about their orgasm experiences. What grew from this study was a performance that created an alternative way to view and experience dance. My intention with this work is to create an intimate and shared space with the audience allowing all of us the opportunity to talk about a subject that is often unspoken.