Merián Soto

2015 Pew Fellow

1/6: Merián Soto, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/6: Merián Soto, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
3/6: Merián Soto, Branch Dances at the Barnes Foundation, 2013, dancer Olive Prince. Photo by LBrowningPhotography.
4/6: Merián Soto, Branch Dances at the Barnes Foundation (2013), dancers Marion Ramírez and Jung Woong Kim. Photo by LBrowningPhotography.
5/6: Merián Soto, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
6/6: Merián Soto. Photo by Ricardo Muniz.

“Holding the paradox of simplicity and complexity, being in the space in-between, at the intersection of sensing and responding, we enter a state of expanded consciousness.”

Merián Soto’s (b. 1954) 40-year career in performance has been marked by a concern for the body—most recently manifested in a somatic, conceptual, and process-based practice that investigates the living body in its relationship to consciousness. Working toward, in the artist’s words, “a dance of the future, a dance of healing, transformation, and transcendence,” Soto has created the Center-funded Branch Dance Series, SoMoS, and Wissahickon Park research project, as well as Historias (1992), which the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recognized in its American Masterpieces program. Soto received a 2014 Bogliasco Fellowship and is a four-time NEA Fellow in choreography. She was a 2009 Master Artist in Residence at Pregones Theater, and was named a 2000 Bessie Award recipient for sustained achievement in the field. Soto holds an MA in Dance Education from Columbia University and has studied with choreographers Anna Halprin and Mark Taylor, among others. Her current work combines video and dance, documenting her experience of place by recording her shadow in motion.


Collaborators & Colleagues

New York City-based conceptual artist Fred Wilson is known for repurposing objects and artifacts to lead people to see them in a different way.

Grants & Grantees

An experiment in narrative structure that combines several forms of storytelling, physical language, and a cappella choral music, this world premiere play will investigate “questions of prophecy, fate, and predestination,” says Kaufman.

The Center welcomed choreographer and iLAND founder Jennifer Monson, who moderated our first-ever all-day listening session.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ralph Rugoff is director of the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre in London.

The all-female ensemble of Pasión y Arte will explore conflicting definitions of the 21st-century woman in its first outside commissioned work, choreographed by Rosario Toledo.

Grants & Grantees

Supporting, documenting and presenting Philadelphia area folk arts, the Philadelphia Folklore Project is committed to sustaining community cultural knowledge.


FringeArts presents South African theater artist Brett Bailey’s adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, performed by the performance group Third World Bunfight.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Curator Mary Jane Jacob is professor and executive director of exhibitions and exhibition studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Donald Nally is conductor of The Crossing, a professional chamber choir focused on new music.

Network for New Music commissioned six new works for the Network Ensemble that paired composers with visual artists.

Questions of Practice

Feasley is a self-described “landscape painter” whose work tends to be small-scale and intimate—supernatural scenes painted in rich, saturated colors that result in a hybrid of abstract and figurative art.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Alan W. Moore is an art historian and activist whose work addresses cultural economies and groups and the politics of collectivity.