my name is marion and I am a dancer, choreographer and educator currently living on the land of the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie peoples, known today as Brooklyn nyc.
My parents are both from Latin America -- Caracas, Venezuela and Ancón, Panama (part of the formerly occupied Panama Canal Zone) -- and they are both Mesoamerican Archaeologists, so I was raised in many places. My tiny body felt as small and insignificant as an ant surrounded in wonder by massive remnants of the first civilizations in the Americas, hearing my parents passionately tell me stories about the people who lived in these cities, the little witch in me already sensing the ghosts and their spells.
As a child, I often felt uncomfortable in my body—I never felt like I quite fit in or belonged in any of the places I grew up. Some of my first experiences of my body in this world included learning the discomfort of being other—being the only white person riding a public bus in Oaxaca, dreaming about civilizations, ancestors and lineages that were not my own; navigating how to situate my body in my white latinidad; my skin crawling amidst the difficulty of learning and switching between two languages, feeling like I had two left feet because I looked different or lived differently than my friends and community; and, experiencing my gender and femininity as a young girl in Latin America, the heat bubbling up under my skin from receiving frequent sexual taunts by men in public before I was a teenager.
My heart felt like a heavy rock as I witnessed incredible poverty around me while learning that my family was lucky and privileged to not experience that hardship. My white privilege has never been misunderstood; my latinidad remains a source of home and grounding in my bones, paired with confusion, shame, and the ping ponging feeling like I want to be both quiet and loud in my expression.
I grew to be grateful for the feelings of discomfort and otherness I was raised with—it has given me invaluable patience and perspective. I was raised in multiracial, international community, amongst people who look, think and believe differently than each other, and I believe multiplicity makes community grow stronger.
These lived experiences have shaped the person I have become, the work I make, and the community I surround myself with. I graduated with honors from Vassar College in 2009, where I studied Geography-Anthropology and was a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre for four years. Raised with the values to take risks, listen, learn and make home in environments outside my comfort zone, I have been lucky to call Honolulu Hawaii, Boulder Colorado, and New Orleans Louisiana home before landing in New York City in 2014. I began my career as an artist while living and learning in New Orleans from 2011-2014. I choreographed, performed, taught dance and participated in building a grassroots community dance organization out of my friend’s living room when there were no viable spaces in our neighborhood to take class, rehearse or share work. Beginning my career as a white, transplanted artist in a majority Black city taught me the importance of white artists being allies to, learning from, and being in active solidarity to their Black and Brown community.
I believe this work of growing is an ongoing practice. Since moving to NYC in 2014 I have become a member of ACRE (Artists Co-creating Real Equity) and have participated in the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond’s (PISAB) Undoing Racism training as one piece of a lifelong journey of antiracism.
These collected experiences teach me to constantly push my growing edge, to sit with discomfort both in life and in my creative process. And, I still make arepas every Sunday evening in my Brooklyn apartment, because it will always be my comfort food and the way that I find grounding in my body.
about my work/
Watching my archaeologist parents get dirty and exhausted from working in the sun all day, I grew up understanding work to be an intersection of the body and mind. This informs the artists who inspire me today, who all exist at the intersection of deep embodied intelligence and conceptual vitality. They are diverse, interdisciplinary and multigenerational: Jennifer Nugent’s and Kendra Portier’s postmodern release technique; Bebe Miller’s nonlinear, multimedia creative process; Miguel Gutierrez’s soundmaking and collaged text; Michelle Boulé’s conversations with the absurd; Samita Sinha’s fierce embodied vocal practices; Joanna Kotze’s world-building; Anna Sperber’s somatic physicality; James Turrell’s light environments; Robert Smithson’s land art; Mariame Kaba’s abolitionist writings; and late pop star Prince, who embraced the unknown, the weird, the rigor, the beautiful, the real.
As a child, I developed a practice of being with a vast imagination—in the back of a car driving for hours through rural Oaxaca, playing in the dirt at an archaeological site, so many airplane rides to visit family. In my dreams and imagination, I gave myself permission to be wild and take up space. I began to understand dancing and making dances as a way to dream, to make dreams alive, and to invite others to witness your imagination.
I see my makings right now as a way to practice that imagination collectively. Two years ago at The Chocolate Factory Theater, I began to transform my solo practice into a group exploration. I started a process with 7 dancers whose individual artistries drew me in, and that work continues today. Together, we ask how we can embrace alternative orders by subverting normative realities. Together, we collage deeply researched physical practices with vocalizations, soundmaking, text, light, and material design to facilitate a collective environment with space in which to interrogate, live and dream in.
My work has recently been presented by The Chocolate Factory Theater (creative residency), Danspace Project (DraftWork), Gibney (Work Up), New Dance Alliance, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Green Space, Triskelion Arts, Center for Performance Research (Fall Movement), Movement Research at Judson Church, Amherst College, Dance Now NYC, Dance HOLO and the Domestic Performance Agency. I was most recently a 2019-2020 season artist at The Chocolate Factory Theater (creative residency Dec 2019) and Gibney (Solo for Solo Spring 2020). I have been an artist in residence at The Chocolate Factory Theater, Mana Contemporary, Amherst College, Gibney (Solo for Solo 2020 & Work Up 2018), New Dance Alliance, Peaceable Barn, Turkeyland Cove Foundation, Prattsville Art Center, Catwalk Art Institute, and the Domestic Performance Agency. I have toured my work and teaching practice nationally to New Orleans LA, Seattle WA and Amherst MA. I began making dances professionally while living and learning in New Orleans (2011-2015). My work has been presented there at Catapult, Art Klub, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, Dancing Grounds, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Tigermen Den.
Since moving to New York I have had the pleasure of working for Joanna Kotze, BAND|portier/Kendra Portier, Laura Peterson Choreography. Yackez/Larissa Velez-Jackson, Michelle Boulé, Athena Kokoronis, Shandoah Goldman, Melissa Riker, Annie Kloppenberg, Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty, Stephan Koplowitz, Vanessa Justice, Hollis Bartlett, Michiyaya, David Dorfman Dance and as a guest performer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
In addition to performing and making work, I also teach dance to adults and young dancers in the New York area. I have recently been on faculty at Freeskewl, Dancewave, Gibney and Greenwich Country Day Middle and High School.
photo above by Poupay Jutharat as seen in the New York Times July 1st 2021, full virtual article here
/photo above courtesy of marion, banner photo courtesy of Brian Rogers/