my name is marion spencer. I use she/her pronouns. I am a dance and interdisciplinary artist currently living on the unceded land of the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie peoples, known today as brooklyn ny.
I was raised by two Mesoamerican archaeologists from Latin America, surrounded by remnants of the Americas’ first civilizations built by great indigenous communities. Watching my parents dig in the sun all day, I came to understand work as an intersection of body, mind, imagination & respect for those who came before us. As a child I developed a vast imagination—in the back of a car driving for hours through rural Oaxaca MX, playing quietly in the dirt at an archaeological site, on so many airplane rides to visit family. I let myself be wild and take up space in my dreams. I started dancing and making dances as a way to embody, excavate and traverse these dream-world terrains. It transformed the marrow in my bones, the cells under my skin, and the way I see the world.
-this lineage shapes the person I have become, the work I make, and the community I build-
Today, I use performance to invite others to witness and experience the ecosystems of my imagination. Embracing a life and creative process guided by feminine, feminist, antiracist, anticapitalist and abolitionist practices, I weave the archive of my personal lineage - people, places, artifacts, stories, lessons - together with system-level themes of climate catastrophe, capitalism, the apocalypse and utopia as a way of both making sense of and moving towards the horizon of a better world.
I am made and supported by the communities I come from—which are multigenerational, multiracial, and multi-gendered. My work and process reflect that. Leading dance spaces, I let myself be guided by intuition, spending time and attention to create a container of trust out of which collective creativity can thrive. I invite the fleshy challenges of real life into the room, no matter how challenging they are some days, embracing the unknown, the weird, the rigor, the beautiful, the real.
My work has been presented in NYC by Roulette Intermedium, Center for Performance Research, Gibney, Danspace Project, New Dance Alliance, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Movement Research at Judson Church, Triskelion Arts, Green Space, Dance Now NYC, Dance HOLO and the Domestic Performance Agency. I have been an artist in residence at The Chocolate Factory Theater, Mana Contemporary, The Field Center, Amherst College, Gibney, New Dance Alliance, Peaceable Barn, Turkeyland Cove Foundation, Catwalk Art Institute, the Peaceable Barn, Prattsville Art Center, Arts on Site and the Domestic Performance Agency. I have toured my work and teaching practice nationally to Seattle WA, Charlottesville VA, Catskill NY, Amherst MA and to my former home- New Orleans LA.
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, Dancing Grounds, out of my friend’s living room. While living in New Orleans, my work was presented at Catapult, Dancing Grounds, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, the Contemporary Arts Center, Art Klub and the Tigermen Den.
Since moving to New York I have had the pleasure of collaborating as a performer with Laurie Berg, Joanna Kotze, BAND|portier, Laura Peterson, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Michelle Boulé, Athena Kokoronis, Tyler Rai, Shandoah Goldman, Melissa Riker, Annie Kloppenberg, Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty, Stephan Koplowitz, Vanessa Justice, Hollis Bartlett, Michiyaya and as a guest performer with David Dorfman Dance and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
In addition to making work and performing, I teach- dance technique, improvisation, composition & choreography and repertory, as well as pilates. I have been on faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, Gibney, Dancewave, Greenwich Country Day High School, MOtiVe Brooklyn, Freeskewl and hosted my own outdoor class in Prospect Park and indoors at my private studio space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I have been a guest teaching artist at Rutgers University, University of Maryland-College Park, Amherst College, University of Washington-Seattle, Velocity Dance Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham Rep, Louisiana State University, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), Lusher Charter High School and Dancing Grounds.
photos by Maria Baranova