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Our new Spotlight series emerged out of the desire for audiences and other artists to connect with dancers who they may not know–because the artist is new to the area, or from a different generation or pocket of the dance scene. The Q&A format lets Seattle dance artists to introduce themselves in their own words, or share where they are in this moment in time. 

Photo: Joe Reynolds

What’s your name and pronoun?

Zara Martina Lopez (She-They)

When did you come to Seattle and why?

I came to Seattle in 2017, my partner at the time had a job offer in Alaska and Seattle was a portal to “the great land.” He wanted Portland, but ultimately it was me who was going to be spending most of the time in the city. I felt inspired by nature, and the idiosyncrasy of Seattle. Not to mention my love for the mountains, the crisp air and all the water surrounding us, it was just so dreamy.

What’s your role in Seattle dance?

I see myself as a dancer, choreographer, researcher, creator, and a teacher.  I also work in photography and videography. And while I don’t dance for any company at the moment I am always looking for new collaborative partnerships with other artists.

What kind of work is your favorite to make/do?

I love creating for the stage, I like to shape what I imagine into movement, mixing a myriad of resources like video, text, audio, phonetics. I like experimenting and creating from a place of play and daring, without the pressure of doing it for anybody but myself.

Tell us about your next performance or last performance.

My last performance on stage was at Base for 12 Minutes Max. I named my piece Pássaros (“Birds” in Portuguese) in part because Brazil was the first country I experienced as an immigrant and birds have long been a source of inspiration for me. In preparation for the piece I read, watched, contemplated, listened, talked-to, and asked a whole lot about birds. I explored movement from the idea of their locomotion and flight patterns; I went deep into the structure of feathers. My brain was filled with imagery, so as a juxtaposition I decided to use the simplest clothes on stage, focusing on movement composition, vocal exploration and visuals (filmed by me), which I approached as a projection of my mind in conjunction with movement.   For my next performance: I have dreamed for years to bring to the stage a contemporary dance adaptation of La Casa de Bernarda Alba from one of my favorite writers, poets, and theatre directors, Federico Garcia Lorca. Oh gosh!

Just thinking about it and my body tingles. It’s ambitious but I believe that with dedication and the support of our community I can make it happen in 2023.  Also this year I’ll be touring as part of Meg Foley’s upcoming piece, Carpet Womb, for which I am beyond excited.

What do you bring to the rehearsal room?

I bring an open mind, a curious body, active ears, always try to come as a blank paper sheet to allow others to reinscribe with and in me. I also love reading about dance, watching what’s going on with dance in the world–not only dance but performance art, music venues, video art, theatre, painting, photography, fashion, etc.

I can bring references, if the project welcomes this information. Having Colombian roots I bring a friendly energy, learnt from my wonderful aunts. Human above all. I listen, I process and I propose, also when directing I find that it is easy for me to find solutions and consider what’s best for everybody as a group. I try to keep all my senses open and receptive.

Photo: Jim Coleman

Tell us about your favorite performance that you’ve seen in Seattle and why you loved it.

Woof! This is a hard one, I personally try to catch as many performances as possible, so I’ll mention two for 2022 lol.

First one was part of the 2022 Fragmented Flow Festival at On the Boards by Gender Tender: MELTED RIOT SPECTRA(L). I loved it for their surreal approach, their vocal exploration, and their explorative use of space.  I loved it because they were talking about the violence and sabotage society puts on QT [queer-trans] humans, humans like me. So I felt inherently part of it and by surprise this performance was designed in a fashion that at the “end” the stage became an open space for whoever was there, and I love when art becomes one with the people.

Second one was The Season’s Canon by PNB dancers with music (re)composed by Max Ritcher: Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Season (I love both these composers) and choreography by the Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. I loved it because It was deeply moving, and her approach to trauma, conflict and mortality caught me feeling part of the performance. I was humbled and happy to recognize that this piece was not about a prima ballerina, instead it was about fragility, wounds, those things that only the body can tell because they are hidden in our soul. The number of dancers was colossal, extremely beautiful and well done. All of them were one, all of them were us.

Photo: Joe Reynolds

What are some media that you love or that are influencing you right now?

I love Rosita Boisseau books, they’re heavy and bulky but so full of amazing references and images! I always bring one with me on long trips, in case of a lack of internet it’s a bible for dancers. I don’t watch much TV, but I LOVE movies! I could go on with names but just going to put two directors I love recently: Xavier Dolan (one must watch movie: Lawrence Anyways) and Carlos Saura! (All his films).

When it comes to music I am extremely eclectic, today I’ll shout out an album I believe the world should listen to: Cantaoras by Alé Kuma, a mix between urban and traditional musicians giving light to a new wave of Afro-Colombian music.  I LOVE MUSIC! Vinyl, apps, youtube, live, YES TO ALL MUSIC…and dance bless silence.

Recommend three things!

  1. Take yourself on a date with your inner child, play, let your hair be crazy and uncombed, laugh out loud, eat french fries and ice cream.
  2. Call somebody you’ve been missing and let them know you’re thinking of them.
  3. I also recommend getting an indoor hammock and reading your favorite books in it, watching the rain fall, taking a nap or having great conversations with dear friends in it.

If people wanted to follow you and your work, what is the best way for them to do that? 

Instagram handle: @zaramedallo