Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez

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Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez

Article

´God Save the Queens´

Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez is an independent choreographer and dancer in her native Colombia. Her engagement with dance crosses focuses and contexts: from contemporary dance to flamenco, peppered with dance criticism and developing curricula within institutions of higher education, including the Arts Faculty of the University of Antioch (Colombia).
Her work has been the recipient of significant regional awards including: the 1st Prize for Dance in An Alternative Site (District Dance Festival of Bogotá), a scholarship/residency at the Institute Iudanza in Caracas, and a residency in Mexico’s National Classical and Contemporary Dance School in 2000. Her most recent work, Room with a view (2003-05) evolved with the support of an artistic residency at the Institute ‘Iudanzas’ in Caracas, Venezuela. The work is performed as a site specific dance piece and has been recently reconstructed to be performed at the Gaitán Coffee house in Colombia. The Art Deco architecture of the locale allowed for the itinerant public to interact with the performers sipping cups of coffee. The piece won the 1st Prize for dance in alternative spaces at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in the district of Bogotá. The success of the work led to the establishment of her company “La Prenda” (translated as either a jewel or an article of clothing).
Mejía Alvarez was the recipient of one of the artistic residencies by Visiting Arts Colombia-England 2006/07 Fellowship programme. This three year programme offers “a unique opportunity for artists from both countries to spend three months developing their work. The aim is to “establish an exchange between artists who are engaged in the fields of visual and performing arts that will lead to the growth of sustainable cultural links between the two countries” (www.visitngarts.org.uk/news/06). Mejía Alvarez was in residency with Independent Dance based at the Siobhan Davies Studios from September to December 2006.
The residency allowed for a research and development period into a new work tentatively titled God Save the Queens, an acerbic look into society’s fascination with Queen’s whether those established by heritage and history, or those fabricated for history by Latin American iconoclastic beauty pageants. The work integrates dance, text and song. The research looks into issues of the right to govern over others, and questions whether power bestowed -by inheritance and legacy, or the power given by the media (that makes beauty queens are transformed into queen of hearts as actresses, singers, TV presenters, journalists and fashion consultants) - is sufficient to justify the iconic stature given to these various ‘queens’. Through this project Mejía Alvarez ultimately aims to find commonality within the differences of two nations ruled by two seemingly opposing–yet comparable- ideals.
Author: Ana Sanchez-Colberg

Bio

Maria was born in Colombia on 21 August 1972. An independent dancer, contemporary dance teacher and choreographer, she is trained in contemporary dance, classical ballet and flamenco. She has danced for the ´Objets-Fax/El Contragolpe´ dance company under the direction of Ricardo Rozo (Colombia) and Jean-Claude Pellaton (Switzerland) and for the ´La Prenda´ dance company/creative collective, Bogota. Maria is also a a singer (trained in the respiratory technique by Mirabay Montoya (Medellín))and journalist. Her native language is spanish and she is fluent in English.

Works

GROUP PIECES

Production / Performance,
2006
• 2004 - ´Juegos de Amor´ (´Games of Love´) Choreographed by Newton Moraes, Maria was a singer and dancer in this piece. She won the district award for Contemporary Dance Performer given by the District Institute of Culture and Tourism, Bogotá for her performance. • 2003 - ´Habitacíon con Vista´ (´Room with a View´) Choreographed and directed by Maria. Performed with Maria by the ´La Prenda´ dance company. First performed at the Young Choreographers´ Festival, Caracas, Venezuela. This piece won the Award for Dance in Non-Conventional Spaces at the Contemporary Dance District Festival of Bogotá, 2005. • 2003 - ´Solos en la Ciudad´ (´Alone in the city´) Maria danced in and co-choreographed this piece with the La Vuelta Contemporary Dance Group. Opened in Medellín in 2003.

SOLO PIECES

Production / Performance,
2006
• 2006 - ´La de Adentro´ (´The Woman Inside´) Solo performance which explores the inner world of a woman who has lost something; perhaps a lover, perhaps a parent, perhaps herself. First performed in 2006 with Corporeo Movil, The University of Antioquia´s Dance Licenciature Projection Company. • 2000 - ´Danzada Ciudad´ (´Danced City´) Choreographed, directed and danced by Maria. Explores dance in non-conventional space. Performed at the 5th Festival of Contemporary Dance, Medellín, 2001. Developed in 2000 under a creative scholarship given by the Departmental Mixed Foundations of Colombia and Ministry of Culture 1998-1999.

Merits

• Selected to participate in the Colombia-England Artists´ Fellowship Programme (a joint residency initiative between Visiting Arts, Ministry of Culture Colombia, British Council Colombia and Arts Council England). Maria was in residency with Independent Dance for three months as part of this programme.
• 2005 - Won the Award for Dance in Non-Conventional Spaces at the Contemporary Dance District Festival of Bogotá, for her piece ´Habitación con Vista´ (´Room with a View´) that she choreographed and directed and was performed by the La Prenda Company.
• 2004 - Won the District Award for Contemporary Dance Performer, given by the District Institute of Culture and Tourism, Bogotá for her performance of the piece ´Juegos de Amor´ (´Games of Love´), choreographed by Newton Moraes.
• 2003 - Awarded a two month scholarship with the Dance University Institute ´Iudanza´ in Caracas, Venezuela, as part of the Program of Artistic Residencies Mexico-Venezuela-Colombia, run by the Ministry of Culture.
• 2000 - Awarded an eight month scholarship with the National School of Classic and Contemporary Dance in Mexico DF, as part of the Artistic Residency Interchange Mexico-Colombia, granted by the Mexican Institute of International Cooperation.
• 2000 - Awarded a creative scholarship by the Departmental Mixed Foundations of Colombia and the Ministry of Culture 1998-1999, for the contemporary dance project ´Danzada Ciudad´ (´Danced City´) exploring dance in non-conventional spaces. Invited to the 5th Festival of Contemporary Dance Medellín, 2001.
• Maria was a founding member of the group that created the Dance Licenciature at the Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Colombia-England Artists Residency Programme

(01 October 06 - 31 January 07)
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Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez
Woman Inside (La de Adentro)
Maria Claudia Mejía Alvarez
Woman Inside (La de Adentro)