Niurca Márquez is an artist/researcher and published author working in film, site-specific work, and staged performance. As a somatic educator she uses her body-centered work to service communities undergoing processes of healing and self-realization. As a queer Latina artist and activist on the margins advocating for silenced voices, she is particularly interested in notions of identity, cultural memory and ritual within a contemporary framework, as well as the multiple layers of communication and understanding in movement practices that lead to liaisons with political and social discourse. Her work has been commissioned by and presented on various curatorial platforms in Europe and the US.
Her most recent site-responsive work Urdimbre y Trama transits the space between ritual and performance to explore the mestiza body and the silencing of the liminal voices of mestizas through improvised text and movement (Koubeck Center, the Norton Museum of Art and forthcoming at the Frost Museum of Art). In addition to her own solo performances and choreography, Márquez is also a member of Pioneer Winter Collective, a Miami-based performance group dedicated to democratizing performance and was featured in Yara Travieso’s La Medea. She is also a member of D-Projects under the direction of Teo Castellanos premiering his latest work, F/Punk Junkies (2022). She is a two-time recipient of the Dance Miami Choreographic Program and is one of four inaugural artists for En Residencia, an Artist-in-Residence Program at the Koubeck Cultural Center in Little Havana, Miami.
Her research has been published as part of Flamenco on the Global Stage (MacFarllan Press) and Rituals of Modern Society: Perspectives on Dance Fusion in the Caribbean and Dance Sustainability (Cambridge Press), and The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots (Cambridge Press). Márquez holds an MA in Latin American Studies from Florida International University (2001) and an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University (2017), where she was the 2015 Howard Gilman Fellow at White Oak. She is part of the Rising Leaders of Color Initiative of Theater Communications Group, Cohort #4 and a 2019 graduate of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Institute. She directs Cultural Arts Exchange, an organization dedicated to expanding the conversation and offerings of the arts community in South Florida and the Caribbean, through artist services and programs centered on collaboration and social accountability. She is also a founding member of FARO, a collaborative whose vision it is to create a space for rigorous creative/research that gives voice to thinkers and doers independently of institutional representation and recognition; work that is of and for the margin, and that recognizes the margin as a source of understanding and shifting perspectives. Niurca is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Florida International University with a shared assignment between the Department of Religious Studies and the Honors College, where she continues to create choreography in the interdisciplinary classroom.
LATEST CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKS
Pulse/:Impulso (2021), dance for film. Premiered at Screendance Miami, 2021. Winner Best Dance Short at the Kiez Berlin Film Festival, selection at Mignolo International Screendance Festival (2022).
Traspasos II (2019), performance piece premiered at El Cuadrado Gris, San Turce, Puerto Rico.
Urdimbre y Trama (2018), immersive dance theater work created based on the writings of various Afra-Latina artists and collaborative artists, premiered at Koubek Center grounds in Little Havana, Miami, FL.
FOLD (2018), durational work premiered in Trinidad, Cuba and performed at Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, Palo Alto College in San Antonio, TX and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY.
siempre quise ser bailaDora (2018), dance theater work premiered at Koubek Cultural Center, Miami, FL.
Con-tradiction (2018), dance theater work created for ensemble and community LGBTQ activists premiered at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, TX.
Ofrenda (2016), site-specific work commissioned by Grass Stains, mentored by Stephen Koplowitz, Miami, FL.
(Working – becom-ing)
My goal as an artist is to create performance experiences, both live and mediated, that examine the many intersections of tradition and creation to explore new languages and expressions rooted in Flamenco and Afro-Cuban culture but informed by contemporary practices in dance and theater. My work is based on a deconstruction of traditional aesthetics and technique and is constantly informed by collaborations with other artists of various disciplines. It is a practice that is syncretic, displaced, infused with cross-cultural underpinnings and is based on a somatic/shamanic approach to movement that although rooted in a style, remains flexible. For this, I draw on the very deep and layered roots of flamenco, my experiences growing up in the mélange that is Miami, my experiences living abroad, my integration of the Feldenkrais Method, and my Cuban roots.
Ana Mendieta once said that culture is “the memory of history.” If I take this to be so, then dance becomes a way to embody that history’s essence. In this space of transculturality and transdisciplinarity that I sit, I’m constantly questioning whose memory and whose history that is.
I am fascinated by how we interact with organized patterns of people (beginning with ourselves), ideas and behavior, and how we blend into collective structures. As a woman, I have learned the power of the margin and work to center it.
As an artist that works with cultural contexts that often times are foreign to my audiences, the creative process becomes a constant search that puts an intangible translation of concept and tradition into motion, allowing me to create a world that goes beyond the movement, to a place where my voice can channel that of my ancestors and the richness of the art forms I draw from. This approach involves constant negotiations between dance and non-dance, tradition and creation, stereotypes and essence, that expands physicality beyond the limits of the body to include the space it inhabits and those who share it.
This negotiation is not foreign to me, it does not arise out of the proximity with contemporary forms. The negotiation is woven into the fabric of my roots, as both are constantly negotiating space and all its implications. I find it impossible to create honest work without considering this nuance: these forms have been objectified, bastardized and used a political and economic tool, yet, somehow, they have never lost their essence as a vehicle for personal expression and a space for social, political and economic commentary. And healing. Yes healing.
My current work includes staged performances, site-specific works, community engagement and advocacy, and dance films that deal with the female body and its links to notions of beauty and cultural memory and how it is passed down. These are my very own past future transits.