"It would be an understatement to label Merli V. Guerra a Renaissance woman."

 

ANNE LEVIN TOWN TOPICS

Merli V. Guerra is an award-winning choreographer and interdisciplinary artist based in Princeton NJ & Boston MA.

—Biography—

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MERLI V. GUERRA (MFA in Dance, Rutgers University) is a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with a background in ballet, modern, and classical Odissi Indian dance. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance Company, an award-winning contemporary dance company based in Boston, MA, and Princeton, NJ. As a professional dancer, she has performed lead roles with acclaimed companies on tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009), while her choreographic works, screendance films, and installations have been presented by 80+ events across the U.S., and abroad in Argentina, Canada, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Spain.

 

Guerra is a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award for her work with site-specific dance and community engagement—a topic which she presented on at the National Dance Education Organization’s 2020 National Conference. She most recently presented on her work with merging dance and history through AR/VR/XR technologies at Our World Heritage International Globinar 2.0 (2021), and Harvard University Virtual/Augmented Reality (2021). Guerra has served on multiple Boards, most recently Dance New Jersey (a state-wide resource), as a thought-leader for new public programming.

 

Beyond choreography, Guerra is a freelance graphic designer and arts journalist who served as Art Director of Art New England magazine for five years, followed by her work at Princeton University Press. As a writer, she is Senior Contributor to Boston’s The Arts Fuse, and a dance critic for the Toronto-based Fjord Review and Vancouver-based Dance International magazine.

 

Guerra frequently acts as a guest choreographer, artist, panelist, teacher, and advocate for the arts. She now continues her work in Boston in addition to her more recent work in the Mid-Atlantic, where she is a Part-Time Lecturer.


—Selected Awards & Honors—

2021

Presenter, "The Time Traveler's Lens: Using AR/VR and Choreographic Tools to Enliven Historic Ruins" – Harvard University

Presentation of Guerra's work in merging dance, history, and technology for Harvard University Virtual/Augmented Reality.

2021

Presenter, "Heritage in Motion" – Our World Heritage, International Globinar 2.0.

Presentation of Guerra's work in merging dance, history, and technology at this international conference.

2020

Presenter – National Dance Education Organization Conference

Co-presented "Community Engagement: Exploring Benefits from Historical, Practical, and Social Work-Based Approaches" with Kimberlee Gerstheimer and Amber Hongsermeier. Presented on Guerra's work with dance and community engagement.

2021

Award Recipient, Teknochat Festivals’ VIP Fest: Best of 2020 – Barcelona, Spain, and Resistencia, Argentina

For you, to mentor me

Winner: “Best Art Narrative of 2020” Award

Finalist: “Best Script;” Finalist: “Best Music, Dance, Art Film”

The One I Keep

Winner: “Best Experimental of 2020” Award

Finalist: “Best Art Direction;” Finalist: “Best Music, Dance, Art Film”

2020

Award Recipient, SounDance Film Festival – Barcelona, Spain, and Resistencia, Argentina
“Best Choreography” and “Best Narrative Dance” Film Awards for For you, to mentor me

2020

Award Recipient, Europa Film Festival – Barcelona, Spain, and Resistencia, Argentina

“Best Experimental” Film Award for The One I Keep

2019

Featured Filmmaker; Panelist, Screendance – Women in Dance Leadership Conference, Philadelphia PA

Screening of Guerra's The One I Keep and What seems so is transition; panelist on Screendance Panel.

2019

Award Recipient, Mary Lyon Award – Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association

Given to young alumnae (15 years or less since graduation) who “demonstrate exceptional promise and sustained achievement in their life, profession, and community, and whose work embodies the humane values which Mary Lyon exemplified in her life and inspired in others.” Awarded by the Alumnae External Achievement Awards Committee.

2019

Award Finalist – Festival Cinematica: Immagine in Movimento, Ancona, Italy

Synchronic, one of 14 award finalists at international screendance festival.

2018

Featured Artist – WomenCinemakers, Berlin, Germany

The One I Keep is featured in a special edition of periodical WomenCinemakers highlighting artistic films by noteworthy female artists hailing from Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Athens, among others.

2016

Choreographer, TEDxCambridge – Boston Opera House

Commissioned by TEDxCambridge to choreograph the opening act for its Spring 2016 TEDx Talks. Held for 2,600 viewers—the largest TED event in history, worldwide.

2016

Panelist; Choreographer, Local Cultural Council 2016 Statewide Assembly – Massachusetts State House

By invitation of the Massachusetts Cultural Council – panelist advocate for funding of the arts, alongside distinguished colleagues Ben Taylor (musician), Scarlet Keys (Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music), and keynote speaker Sally Taylor (musician and Consenses founder). Also invited to present choreographic excerpt from Guerra’s Phoenixial Cycle.

2015

Award Recipient, Gold Star Award – Massachusetts Cultural Council

Innovated and championed Night at the Tower (Arlington MA), largest Cultural Community Outreach Project to date. One of three projects out of 5,000+ candidates to receive the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Gold Star Award.

2014

Panelist, Breaking Barriers: (Re-Defining) Entrepreneurship Conference – Mount Holyoke College

Invitation to speak on the Innovation in Art & Design entrepreneurship panel. Keynote speaker: Alicia Stewart, Senior Producer of CNN’s In America.

2013

“Unsung Hero” – Improper Bostonian Magazine

Praised as an “unsung hero” in the Boston arts scene in the Spring 2013 issue of Improper Bostonian magazine.

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For an expanded resume that includes teaching experience, public programs, choreography, and recent performances:

Download Merli V. Guerra's C.V.