January 2019: FLOCK
FLOCK is an international constellation of distinct individuals dedicated to pushing the boundaries of contemporary performance through annual gatherings in New Orleans to create, question, shatter, and unravel together.
FLOCK will be developing performance employing humor and somatic experiencing as tools for re-framing conversation and perspectives around female sexuality, particularly in pre-adolescent girls. Our work will be exploring ways that choreography can be employed as a technology to disrupt the male gaze and allow for alternative modes of viewing female sexuality, sensuality and the female body in motion from the pornographic. It is an exploration of the anarchy of childhood, a time when standards of “othering,” roleplaying, and power dynamics of dominant / submissive are taught and enforced yet have not become ossified into status quo. By returning to the often neglected dark chaos of the pre-conditioned willful state of childhood and gleefully playing in that which failed to become, was lost, missing or didn’t fit, might we find methods for new ways of relating in and to the world?
Development of this solo is one aspect of FLOCK’s on-going anti-disciplinary project The Cassandra Project which translates phrases, chapters and words in Margarita Karapanou’s book Kassandra and the Wolf into transgression practices through various platforms such as a bi-weekly publication of interviews with women creating outside patriarchal standards for NoLA Vie, a short film shot in Kyiv with LGBT refugees, a web-based trilogy exploring sex, gender and power via pop-culture in New Orleans, and seminars, laboratories and retreats free and open to the public dedicated to cultivating eco-sexuality and biaphilia with the body. The piece we will be developing in residency is more than just a solo dance performance, it is a process and practice of transgressing the standards and systems that maintain the status quo and nurturing community and conversation around violence toward women and other marginalized peoples.
This piece will be developed in partnership and through residencies in female run venues in New Orleans LA, Guadalajara Mexico, and Thessaloniki Greece in 2019.
One of our main goals will be to bring these spaces and their communities into more integrated conversation with each other through the performing body and the performance itself.
Meryl Murman hails from a lineage of willful women from Lebanon via Brazil and Eastern Europe. Her queer films and choreographies derived from experiments at the intersection of cinema and dance disrupt popular notions of spectacle, the body, virtuosity and gender. Her art’s been presented throughout the USA, most recently as part of the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans’ 40th anniversary season, and Prospect 4 International Art Biennial. This year she was an artist-in-residence at IZOLYATSIA in Kyiv Ukraine through the US Embassy where she hosted a two-month laboratory exploring embodied cinema with LGBT refugees from Russia, and participated in the research project becoming-Botanicals through the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow Scotland. Internationally, her work has been presented in Spain, Germany, UK, South Africa and France. She is currently in development on her first feature film - a poetic dance essay for queer people who run with the wolves, ways of forgetting. In addition to making dances that are films and films that are dances, Meryl is an active community organizer, arts curator and writes a weekly column, The CASSANDRA Project featuring fabulous feminist killjoys living in New Orleans for NoLA Vie. She is the co-founder and artistic director of FLOCK.
MFA Choreography and Integrated Media California Institute for the Arts, BFA NYU Tisch.
Yanina Orellana is a movement artist originally from Guadalajara, México. She received her undergraduate degree in Dance at California Institute of the Arts. Yanina’s choreographic work has been shown in Mexico, New Orleans, and in Los Angeles at Chicano International Film Festival, REDCAT, Human Resources and Highways Performance Space. She is a founding member of FLOCK; a collective based in New Orleans where she performs dance and theatre for film and live productions with artistic director Meryl Murman. In Los Angeles, Yanina collaborated, as a performer, in the creation of original work with multiple artists including: Critical Mass Performance Group, Jmy Kidd, Dance Aegis and Robbie Shaw, the latter two for Dance for Camera as well. Her professional career includes teaching Modern, Contemporary, Improvisation and Creative Movement to children and adults, including teachers and professionals. As a teaching artist, she has worked with CalArts Community Arts Partnership, Invertigo Dance Theatre, YouTHink, Pieter Performance Space and Heidi Duckler Dance Theater. In 2013, she received a full scholarship to attend the Summer Residency for Teaching Artists at CalArts. In 2016, she was nominated for National Teaching Artists Appreciation Week by the Association for Teaching Artists for her dedication and excellence in work at CalArts CAP and other organizations and schools.