Born and raised in Texas, Maritza Navarro has been living, dancing, and working in Los Angeles since 2007. She is one of the three artists in DRC’s Home Grown @ Bootleg this March, and for her, seizing this opportunity has meant jumping into things she’s never done before and discovering herself, creatively in bloom.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
Influence + Process
Building on a 6-minute piece called Crossing Over, Maritza deepens her body of work as ideas evolve from simple imagery to metaphorical narrative throughout her creative process. How does the sight of a moth’s wings splayed out on a bedroom window inspire an investigation of an equally expansive body, to then explore thoughts and emotions tied to finding self and falling in love?
Maritza has set out to avoid over saturating her choreography, a tendency she often experiences in the world of commercial and contemporary dance. She admitted her concern for the homogenization of dance and decided to challenge herself to be more honest with her own artistic intentions through Home Grown.
Visualization is the blue print from which Maritza works. Breaking things down in solitude is a critical next step, which is then followed by a series of rehearsals, during which she sees and adapts her movement onto her dancers. One of the more valuable lessons she talked to me about is the value of time with bodies that aren’t hers. “It’s my vocabulary articulated in a different tongue. It feels good to let someone else take my script…to let my writing go.” She elaborated on the importance of giving ownership and taking space; trying not to tell her dancers what somethingshould look like; remembering where ideas stem from and trusting that meaning that can be extracted from movement.
One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is why dance now? What does movement, action itself, convey and what about it makes it relevant and/or accessible?
Together we chatted about precision in choreographic decision making. Maritza has inquired about how the body can parallel life experience. Working literally with shapes and sizes, she tells me the body can serve as a reflection of introspection. She intends to create a blend of choreographic specificity and narrative abstraction, offering her work to the audience to experience in their own way.
When I asked her if there was anything she wanted me to keep in mind when I watch her work, she responded with two questions:
What do you see?
What is your experience?
As audience members/viewers/spectators of dance, we ingest and digest choreography with each and every performance we attend. Here we’re not only gifted with creative expression, but with an opportunity to consciously witness our own experience within that. Questions like the ones posed above can help sharpen our present awareness, fostering the freedom to think critically and reflect deeply about art. And what a treasurable and expansive gift that is.
By J. Alex Mathews
Associate Director, Director of Programming