Choreographic Work

Premiere: Helsinki-Finland 2020
Production & Venue: Museum of Imposible Forms
Artistic direction and choreography: Mercedes Balarezo
Artistic companionship: varialambo
Choreography, texts, and soundscape: Mercedes Balarezo

“Untitled ritual: Memorial for my lost fat”
My nemesis could not be completely executed because that would mean I have to kill myself… the joke laughs at itself! 2310 is the amount of dollars I invested in a half successful self-murder. In the process of washing off the guilt, this is an attempt to tell a story that is shameful to share. A way to find what is there beneath the shame. In short, a memorial could be the first step to befriend the enemy. By an eclectic collage of invented rituals that revisits the deceased’s last years and our relationship, I am making a point on something that I am not sure of yet.

Premiere: Helsinki-Finland 2020
Production: Vocational College Live
Choreographic direction: Mercedes Balarezo & Maia Nowack
Dance and soundscape: Student from Vocational College Live (Vocational Qualification in Dance)
Photo: Maia Nowack

“All you can do is breathe and hope” was the result of an artistic-pedagogical process created as part of Maia Nowack’s and Mercedes Balarezo’s MA theses in Dance Pedagogy. The piece is a crystallization of the explorations around the relationship between voice and movement. The piece is formed of four worlds, each of which has an atmosphere of their own. Based on the different physical actions, different soundscapes were created with the performers’ voices. “The Voice as a Limb: Sounding Dance Laboratory” was the artistic practice that generated material for the choreographic work. This practice researches the connection between improvised movement with vocal improvisation as one unity of expression.

Premiere: Ecuador 2018
Production: Mercedes Balarezo and Diego Zurita
Artistic direction and choreography: Mercedes Balarezo
Music director: Diego Zurita
Dancers: Colectivo Zeta Danza, Fundación Casa Ochún, Escuela de Formación Afro Kumbaya & Moleko Danza Estudio
Photo: Ricardo Centeno
Original music: Bombanía

“La Tuna” (The Prickly Pear) was a project of knowledge exchange and togetherness. The project sought to challenge the boundaries between dance styles which are related to social division (classism and racism) in Ecuadorian society as a result of the colonial wound. Two groups whose main technique was contemporary dance met two groups of African Ecuadorian dance. Through the rehearsal period, the groups had the chance to attend workshops on contemporary dance and traditional African Ecuadorian dance respectively, sharing their knowledge with the other dancers. Together they created a piece that was a celebration of diversity.

Premiere: Ecuador 2017
Production: Mercedes Balarezo
Choreography, soundscape and dance: Mercedes Balarezo y Diego Zurita
Photo: Ricardo Centeno

“Lazos convergentes” (Converging ties) started with the question: what is possible to do from limitations? How is it possible to create art when our hands are tied?  This exploration came as a critique to the unhospitable environment for artistic production in Ecuador. Hindrances, scarcity and precarity tighten bonds between humans, while demanding a huge amount of creativity and compromises. Relying on each other is the only thing that artists in Ecuador can do. The elements on stage were limited to two bodies strongly tied. There was no recorded music, the soundscape was created by exploration of the performer’s voices, breath, and body percussion. The ties started to become elements of the scene such as rudimentary scenography and musical instruments.

Premiere: Ecuador 2016
Production: Moleko Danza Estudio and Taller de Arte Leonardo Da Vinci
Artistic direction and choreography: Mercedes Balarezo
Creative group: Fernando Arteaga, Luz Fernandez y E. Medina.
Lightening design: Jaime Hidalgo
Participants: Dance students from Moleko Danza Estudio and Visual Art students from Leonardo Da Vinci Taller de Arte
Photo: Pinhole Studio

“En 15 semanas 1 siglo” (In 15 weeks, 1 century) was an artistical-pedagogical project where visual arts and dance students explored the art of the 20th century together. During 15 weeks of participatory workshops they became acquainted with the main art movements from the last century. With the dance students we created choreographies based on cubism, dadaism and surrealism, expressionism, pop art and kinetic art. Visual art students created the scenography, costumes and props for the staging of the performance. This event was open for the students, their families, and to everyone in the community.

Premiere: Ecuador-Mexico 2010
Production: Mercedes Balarezo
Direction and choreography: Mercedes Balarezo y Javier Contreras Villasenor
Dancers: (ECU) Sara Acosta, Gerardo Guerrero y Mercedes Balarezo; (MEX) Marisol Cal y Mayor, Laura Ruiz, Coatlicue García y Marien Perez
Music composition: Javier Sandoval
Photo: Eli Vynk

“Cartas desde los valles” (Letters from the valleys) was a project funded by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador. Two groups of dancers, one from Ecuador and the other from Mexico, collaborated in this process. The piece was composed of three parts: the first and second were the presentations of each group’s exploration on the identity as inhabitants of the valleys: Mexico City and Quito. The third part was an instant composition by the two groups which together created one dance piece. They gathered first in Ecuador and later in Mexico to perform in different cities in both countries. This project started from the need to put in contact two Latin American cultures and reflect on our Mestizo identity.