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(Your) Room for pedagogical development with Mercedes Balarezo Fernández

*Cuerpa is a symbolic reappropriation of the female form of the Spanish word for body: “cuerpo”. Welcome to join this workshop to experiment together with an eclectic selection of popular Latin music and dance improvisation scores. The prompts aim to focus on movement patterns present in Latin dances, while drifting away from too coded and gendered movements.

Mercedes will facilitate the third session of the (Your) Room for ped­a­gog­i­cal de­vel­op­ment series on Saturday, December 18th, at 18:00-19:30 (Finnish time, UTC/GMT +2:00 hours). Participation in the sessions is free of charge.

Sign up to the online session by sending an e-mail to: nora.varga@uniarts.fi. You will receive a link to the session to your email. 

About Mercedes Balarezo Fernández

I am an Ecuadorian woman who enjoys her salsa, cumbia, bolero, mapalé, marimba and even reggaeton (not the sexist but the empowering kind) and many other Latin music genres. Despite my concert dance education as a dancer, like the majority of the people in Ecuador, I learned to dance this kind of music from friends and family in the parties: first imitating and later improvising, experimenting and playing. In my personal practice I combine this music and my “contemporary dancer” language of movement. Flattered by the interest in the Latin culture that I have perceived in Finland, I have been desiring to share these explorations. How else can we move to this music? Can we challenge the coded movements attributed to certain dances? What does the popular Latin music bring to dance improvisation? Is it possible to deconstruct the Latin dances through an improvisation practice?

About the workshop:

During spring 2021, I have worked with these questions with a small group of colleagues (Impropias Collective). As a result, we created the dance installation “Cuerpalatina” that was premiered this last summer in Helsinki. I am looking forward to extracting the core of these experiments and sharing with a broader audience in a workshop format. I hope this endeavour helps us all to enjoy the music and movement without the hesitation of appropriateness, to come closer to each other and dance, dance, dance.

Lately, I have started to think of my practice as a dance pedagogue as a bodily experience designer. I have enjoyed playing with this concept because, to me, it describes quite accurately what I am in search of. Since my studies in the Dance Pedagogy program, I have developed a deep interest in improvisation and a passion to find the architecture of a bodily experience that leads to extra quotidian movement. Even for dancers, for whom dance improvisation is quotidian due to their practices. I have been researching, for instance, the relationship between voice and dance improvisation in my practice The Voice as a Limb. However, an interest that emerged since I moved to Finland is the popular Latin music and dances. Why? As a migrant the question of identity is something that helped me to hold on to something that reminds me who I am.

Living art pedagogy

A blog of dance pedagogy and theatre pedagogy master’s programmes in which teachers, students, and alumni talk and write about performing arts pedagogy, studying and teaching. The blog contains texts and podcasts.

Elävää taidepedagogiikkaa

Tanssinopettajan ja teatteriopettajan maisteriohjelmien blogi, jossa ohjelmissa opettajat, opiskelijat ja alumnit puhuvat ja kirjoittavat esittävän taiteen pedagogiikasta, opiskelusta ja opettamisesta. Blogi sisältää tekstejä ja podcasteja.

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