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Celebrate stories of the night sky from around the world in the Charles Hayden Planetarium!
This exciting collaborative performance of dance, light, and science features astronomy-based mythologies from China, Japan, Estonia, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Cape Verde. Constellation Stories comprises contemporary performances by choreographer Merli V. Guerra and performers from Luminarium Dance Company; original music composition and live performance by Madeleine Shapiro (cellist, New York City) and Andreas Bergsland (electronics, Norway); traditional Taíno solos by Chali'naru Dones and Vinny “Tata’niki” Iraheta; and a new work by Henoch Spinola; all honoring the night sky.
Merli V. Guerra’s PLACE Project (Presenting Landmarks through Artistic Community Engagement) is an annual event dedicated to celebrating cultural and historic landmarks through the integration of dance, history, and the arts. PLACE’s 2022 – 2023 project was originally developed to celebrate Seymour Planetarium’s (the oldest planetarium in the country) 85th anniversary at Springfield Science Museum in November 2022. Now, with a Live Arts Boston grant through The Boston Foundation, Constellation Stories expands into a full-evening production inside the Planetarium.
This event is funded in part by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; and a Live Arts Boston grant through The Boston Foundation.
Separate tickets required
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Thursday, May 18 | 7:30 pm
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Recommended for: Visitors 18 years of age and older
Merli V. Guerra (MFA in Dance) is an award-winning choreographer and interdisciplinary artist combining dance, film, art, and design. She is founder and director of PLACE Project, integrating history, dance, and the arts since 2012; and cofounder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Boston, MA (founded 2010), and Princeton, NJ (2017). Guerra has performed lead roles as a modern dancer and classical Odissi Indian dancer with acclaimed companies on tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009). Her artistic works have been presented by 100+ events across the US and internationally in Europe, North America, Asia, and South America, with interactive art installations permanently on view in the US and Portugal. She is a 2022 recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from NJ State Council on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts for her work in screendance, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award for her PLACE Project site-specific productions and community engagement.
Chali'naru Dones is a Borikén Taíno woman, member of the Guainía Taíno Tribe and Liaison to the United Confederation of Taíno People. A devoted mother, human rights advocate, artist, and creative entrepreneur, Dones and her son Tata’niki are often seen throughout New England sharing their culture’s history through voice and dance. Her son, a powwow champion dancer, captivates his audience with his spiritual uplifting energy. Together they will represent their nation with a four directions invocation, an Owl Dance, a Makana (War) Dance, and close with a gratitude chant.
Henoch Spinola, a native of Cabo Verde Islands, began his classical training with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member in 2007. After leaving JMBT, Spinola began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011 to 2012, along with other dance companies in the Boston area. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013 to 2014. He completed the Master of Fine Arts program within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in 2017. He is currently a core member with Boston Dance Theater.
Called a “cello innovator” by Time Out NY, Madeleine Shapiro directs ModernWorks and performs as a solo recitalist throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In addition to her recital work, Shapiro has had residencies at numerous institutions presenting masterclasses and workshops. Her work has been called “focused and cohesive” (Time Out New York), “powerful and commandingly delivered” (The Strad, UK), and “played with great skill and sensitivity” (The Washington Post). Awards include: three Encore Awards from the American Composers Forum, and a Barlow Award, all to assist in the presentation of new works; First Prize in Adventurous Programming awarded by ASCAP‑Chamber Music America: a three-time Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her two solo CDs, Electricity: works for cello and electronics and SoundsNature: works for cello and electronics, appear on Albany records. She has made other recordings for Naxos, New World Records, C.R.I., Mode, SEAMUS, and HarvestWorks. Learn more at madeleineshapiro.com.
Andreas Bergsland is a professor in music technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). His recent research focuses on interactive dance and movement-sound interaction for users with and without disabilities. Bergsland has also been involved in composition and sound design for exhibitions, installations, dance performance, large scale multi-media events, in addition to doing live-electronics performances and working with computer instrument design for motion capture systems. He has also composed several pieces for interactive dance that have been presented in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and the US in collaboration with choreographers like Robert Wechsler and Seh Yun Kim. Together with the MotionComposer team, he received a special recognition award in the 2016 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.