Reynaliz Herrera is a professional musician, percussionist, composer and educator based in Boston but originally from Mexico where she studied and began pursuing music at the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza, with maestro Noel Savon.
Reynaliz has performed in different countries like Mexico, US, Canada, Cuba, Spain, Germany and Italy, and has performed and collaborated with many renowned ensembles.
Currently, Reynaliz is the director, composer and performer of her theatrical percussion company “Ideas, Not Theories” where she combines music for unconventional instruments like bicycles, and physical theater, and which she has recently presented in the U.S, Canada and Mexico in various venues and festivals.
During our conversation we discuss Reynaliz’ artistic family legacy, her love of finding the music in the everyday objects all around us, and the full body workout playing the bicycle as an instrument can be.
This is Reynaliz’ LAB.
U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is a Zimbabwean American poet, author, speaker, singer, and educator who has performed internationally in Africa and Europe. She is fiercely passionate about using her voice for women's empowerment, wellness, diversity & inclusion and the exploration of translation or "hyphenated identities" through her work.
U-Meleni is a member of New England Poetry Club, The International Women’s Writing Guild and an advisory board member for Write On The Dot , a community reading initiative in Dorchester. She holds a graduate degree in Education from Lesley University in Multicultural Education and Theatre and a Bachelors Degree in Social Psychology from UMASS Boston.
As an educator, U-Meleni has taught over 2,500 students through workshops in the Boston Public Schools and Communities on topics such as, holistic health and wellness education while incorporating the arts, violence prevention and social-emotional well-being to name a few. She has also done international work in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria and is multi-lingual speaking Shona, French and English.
She is currently working on a multi-modal poetic one woman experience “Roots & Revelations” about identity and belonging stemming from family roots in Leominster and Zimbabwe/South Africa. When not performing her work or collaborating with other artists, she is often running marathons, biking with her spouse and son for charity or social justice, competing in World Indoor Rowing Championships, or thrifting and traveling around the world.
In our conversation, we discuss the journey to becoming a poet, exploring family dynamics and defying societal norms and narratives.
This is U-Meleni's LAB.
Mariona Lloreta is a Catalan-American cultural producer and interdisciplinary artist working internationally in film, painting and dance. Mariona’s work celebrates the universal thread that binds our human experience as it examines the fine line between presence and absence, wholesomeness and brokenness, past, present and future. Her work dives into themes of identity, spirituality and collective memory, while reflecting upon the beauty and vulnerability of human existence.
Recent projects include writing, directing and co-producing the short film "A lua nunca morre" in Rio de Janeiro which has won the Best Experimental Film Award and Best Cinematography at the Oscar-qualifying Reel Sisters in Brooklyn, NY, and has been selected by Oscar-qualifying Edmonton International Film Festival, acclaimed New York Latino Film Festival, NALIP's Latino Media Fest, San Francisco Independent Film Festival and Miami Film Festival, among others. Her previous film, "Amenze, in between worlds," which she wrote, directed and filmed, won Best Cinematography at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY), received a Best International Film nomination at the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta, GA, and was selected by dozens of film festivals, including Oscar-qualifying Zinebi in Bilbao, Spain. Mariona also edited award-winning feature film "The Ghost and the House of Truth" (2019) in South Africa and produced narrative short film "On Monday of Last Week" (2018). She has directed and produced several documentary films, including "ReSignifications", commissioned by New York University and "The Lagos Music Salon" for Sony Music artist Somi in Nigeria.
Mariona is currently working on her first feature film and has recently completed "Altars," an experimental film about police brutality, commissioned by the City of Boston and the City of Cambridge. She is also producing several female-led, international projects. Mariona currently serves as Affiliate Professor of Screenwriting at Emerson College in Boston and as an instructor at creative writing agency GrubStreet.
Soyoung L Kim’s work blends several practices, including painting, sculpture, writing, stop motion animation, and performance. Her background as 교포 Gyopo, as part of the Korean diaspora, allows her to move freely across artistic disciplines to create new works that blend those disciplines and to break those boundaries. Her work is influenced by her own childhood of many moves and displacements and the many stories she has gathered over the three continents she has called home at various times in her life. As a young Korean girl growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, she listened to her parents tell her Korean folktales, as well as stories about the struggles of the Korean people, in their fight for independence from Japanese colonization, in the Korean War, and in the struggle to build a country after the devastation of the Korean War that divided the country. She was shaped by the harsh beauty of the Kenyan landscape and the stories of the British colonization and the struggles of the Kenyan people for independence. All of these experiences and stories inform Kim’s work that aims to transport us to a place of liberation, where we are free from colonization and the burdens of racism, fear and hate.
Follow Soyoung (@soyounglkim) for more information about her work and upcoming showcases.
In addition to being the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived and has since directed a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian Contemporary dance company has performed at major venues in Boston and has toured to Washington, DC and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During our conversation with Jean, we talked about his serendipitous and full circle start with dancing, the emotional depths he mines with his company, the way women, in particular, inspire his artistry, education horror stories, and of course, his LAB funded project (Cultural Connections in Haitian Creole and Spanish) a collaborative dance project with Gerardina Halloran that highlights and celebrates the deep connections between Haitian and Dominican cultures.
Brian Lim, co-founder of nonprofit The Flavor Continues, sat down with J. Cottle to talk about different creative approaches and finding your own creative identity. They also discuss the origins of The Flavor Continues and the organization's project with L.A.B. , "All Of The Above", a dance competition that bridges genre, experience and age gaps in the dance community.