Monday, December 10, 2007

Photos of yesterday's performance

Olive Prince on the bridge across Mt. Airy Ave path. Photo: Deanna Bond.

Yesterday was the last performance of the Fall cycle in the One Year Wissahickon Park Project. Thanks to all who attended. The cold and rain make it less appealing for audiences to come out. We too long for the sun. At the same time dealing with the cold and dampness pushes us to go more deeply inward in the performance practice. One has to move into the center of the body, more finely and specifically.

Olive Prince and Shavon Norris. Photo: Pepon Osorio

Jumatatu Poe. Photo: Gabriel Osorio-Soto

Shavon Norris. Photo: Pepón Osorio

Merián Soto. Photo: Karen Bond

The Path. Photo: Pepón Osorio

Olive Prince. Photo: Marcelo Osorio-Soto

Noemí Segarra (center/red) and audiences: Photo: Karen Bond

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dec 9 performance is on!

Sunday Dec 9 10:30 AM
Look for fairies along the path from Mt Airy Ave to Forbidden Drive.
Dress warm. Wear shoes with grip! See you there.

Monday, December 3, 2007

More photos of yesterday's performance

Karen Bond emailed me these photos. I love how she is playing with the light! Her photos capture something of how it feels to perform these dances. She's named them:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Photos of Today's Performance

Today's performance at Bluebell Meadow; cold, damp, challenging, surprising. There were only four of us there — Toshi, Noemí, Shavon, and I. The space is open. We begin along a single line of trees. We had planned to work on the other side of the trees but shift our plan thinking audiences who brave the weather might watch from their cars, a sort of drive-in performance. Many of the familiar elements of the site are absent: there is no wind, no blinding sunlight creating fantastic shadows, there are no dogs for the entire performance!

We begin. Don't question, just commit to the work and stay connected to ourselves, each other, and the environment; find ways to generate heat from the inside.

Photos are by Pepón Osorio and Gabriel Osorio-Soto.

Today's performance is on!

10:30 AM
Bluebell Meadow

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It looks like it will be COLD tomorrow!

The weather forecast for tomorrow is cold with some snow and wind. Unless it becomes a storm we will be performing. If you plan to brave the weather make sure you wear protective clothing.

Its easy to get to Bluebell Meadow by car. From Center City, take Lincoln Drive to Rittenhouse Lane (1st traffic light on Lincoln Drive). Turn right. Go to Wissahickon Ave (first traffic light), turn left. Go to Walnut Lane (2nd traffic light), turn left. Follow Walnut Lane towards Henry Ave. Go around the circle on Walnut Lane so that you are heading back towards Wissahickon. The first right past the circle is the entrance to Bluebell Park.

From Chestnut Hill: Take Wissahickon Ave to Walnut Lane (last street before Lincon Drive). Turn right. Follow instructions above. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dec. 2 performance at Bluebell Meadow

The One Year Wissahickon Park Project continues Sunday December 2 at 10:30 AM. This performance, third in the series, will take place at Bluebell Meadow. This is the one site in the series that is easily accessible by car. The entrance to Bluebell Park is on Walnut Lane between Wissahickon and Henry Avenues.

Collaborating with Soto on this performance are dancers Danielle Kinne, Shavon Norris, and Noemí Segarra , and percussionist Toshi Makihara.

The performance is free and open to the public. It will run for approximately 45 minutes, rain or shine. Cancellation only in extreme weather.

Stay Tuned! The fourth performance
in the series will take place Dec 9
along the Mt Airy Ave
entrance to the park.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Photos of the 2nd performance

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2nd performance of the One Year Wissahickon Park Project last Sunday! Here are some photos of performance.

Also thanks to Louise Wright for the article which appeared in the Chestnut Hill Local.
Check it out!

All photos are by Pepon Osorio

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Today's performance is on!

Good morning! It looks like we will have good weather today, so the performance is on. Its a bit chilly in the park so don't forget to layer and wear a hat and gloves. And don't forget to set your clocks back! See you at 10:30!

The photo, taken by Alan Kolc is of States of Gravity & Light #2 ,one of the branch dance performances for the stage. The video images were shot in the Wissahickon. The dancers are Noemi Segarra and Jumatatu Poe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nov.4 Performance will be on Forbidden Drive just south of the Mt. Airy Ave Bridge

The 2nd in the series of 16 performances in my One-year Wissahickon Park Project will take plave on Sunday Nov 4, at 10:30 AM. The site is Forbidden Drive, just south of the Mt. Airy Avenue Bridge. If you are driving, the closest entrance is on Mt. Airy Ave — take Wissahickon Ave to Mt Airy Ave, go one block west on Mt Airy Ave to the end of the road. There’s parking on the street. Walk down the path, cross the bridge and turn left (south) onto Forbidden Drive. We will be a couple minutes walk from there.

Collaborating with me on this performance are dancers Shavon Norris, Jumatatu Poe, Olive Prince, and Noemí Segarra. Toshi Makihara and Danielle Kinne will join us again in December. The performance is free and open to the public. It will run for approximately 45 minutes, rain or shine. Cancellation only in extreme weather. When in doubt check the blog.

Please be advised that this is not a performance in the traditional sense; there are no “seats”. Because the performance is along Forbidden Drive, it is designed to be seen in passing. Audiences are asked to be mindful not to block the Drive.

Thanks again to all who emailed me photos of the performance on Oct 7. Those of us who were down by the creek may have missed Juamatu on the Drive. Denise Larabee sent the photo at the top.

These two are from Ronald Rothman. That's Shavon below and Noemí and Olive on the right.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pictures Wanted!

Thanks to everyone who went out yesterday. It was wonderful to be able to share the moment and space with such warm and sensitive audience.

A special thanks to those of you that have emailed feedback and comments.
Your feedback is most welcome especially since this is a creative research project. Karen Bond emailed me the following exchange overheard at the performance:

4-year old girl: They're not r-e-a-l!
Dad: Yes, they are real.
Girl: But, but, they're not r-e-a-l.
Dad: Well, they ARE real.
Girl: What are they DOing?
Dad: They're...practicing.

Ron sent the following feedback:

"I really enjoyed this morning's performance! I saw a meditation on strength, suffering, static balance, dynamic balance and peace, through which the central character mastered the forces which oppressed her (represented by the branch) and moved from near bondage to freedom and mastery. I will definitely come again, with friends and family."

On another note: I was unable to photograph yesterday's performance so I am now seeking photos of the event. I saw lots of cameras there. If anyone has photos they can give me I would greatly appreciate it! I will publish them on the blog with your permission only. You can email me at

These pictures were shot by Karen Bond. That's Toshi Makihara and audiences on the left and me below.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Clarifying Directions to Performance Site

Thanks to everyone who has emailed me with questions as to directions. Unfortunately I will probably spend the first part of the project refining directions; the maps I have found are not thorough. I appreciate your feedback on this.

The easiest way to get to the site of Sunday's performance is entering the park at Valley Green and walking south on Forbidden Drive. The site will be to your left. I think some people call the site the waterfall at Livezy Lane, the site of a former mill.

From Wissahickon Ave you turn west on to Mt. Airy Avenue. Mt. Airy Ave dead ends onto the entrance of the park. Go down the hill, cross the bridge to Forbidden Drive. Walk north on Forbidden Drive (right). The site is on the right. It will be easy to spot as one of the dancers will be on Forbidden Drive, marking the site.

From Henry Ave enter and park at Pachella Field just across Livezy Ave. Follow the path into the park. Go north (left on Forbidden Drive. The site will be to your right.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

First Performance! Oct 7 @ the water wall

The first performance in the One Year Wissahickon Park Project cycle will take place Sunday Oct. 7, at 10:30 AM.

The site will be the
waterwall (my name for it). Its a wall across the river. I believe it was part of one of the mills that used to line the Wissahickon. Its broken and it breaks the gravitational flow of the river into myriad flows and songs.

Directions: The waterwall is off of Forbidden Drive, just north of the Pachella Field entrance (off Henry Ave), or the Mt. Airy Ave entrance (off Wissahickon Ave); and south of the Valley Green entrances. It should take 10 to 15 minutes to walk to the site. Don't worry about being late. We will be there at least 45 minutes.

Layer your clothing as the park is considerably colder than the city. You may also want to wear sunglasses. You will probably want to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Travel light! Bring only the essentials. Bottled water might be a good idea if its a warm day.

Take advantage of your trip to enjoy the park
, take a leisurely walk, or make this a stop on your walking, biking, or jogging program.

Its up to you how you want to engage with the event: stay a long time or leave quickly; go away and come back; see it in passing. Its up to you.

These photos of a performance on June 30, were taken by
Pepón Osorio.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Merián Soto/Performance Practice
One-Year Wissahickon Park Project

Hello! Welcome to Merián Soto/Performance Practice’s One Year Wissahickon Park Project blog.

The One Year Wissahickon Park Project is a creative research project of 16 performances in Wissahickon Park spanning the four seasons. My intent is to shape a number of performance experiences in nature in order to experience their evolution over time, the seasons, temperature, and weather.

The project is part of my Branch Dance Series which has also included dances for the stage. The Branch Dances investigate correspondences between movement, the elements, physical experience, alignment, balance, consciousness, and performance. The work involves the practice of moving into stillness, the investigation of gravity as an essential force; the detailed sequencing of movement through inner pathways; and dynamic shifting into balance and alignment. Working with attention to connecting somatic, energetic, and mental processes, the dances with branches are centered on consciousness in action, in performance, and in practice.

Since 2005 I have conducted dozens of solo branch dance performances in the park as part of my investigation of somatic performance. These have been for the most part "spontaneous" in that they have been unannounced. The One Year Wissahickon Park Project allows for a more formal exposition of the work.

The first performance of the project is scheduled for this coming Sunday, October 7 at 10:30AM. Please check back for site information and directions!