Reviews

Photo Credit to Jenny Wheat
"Her work is layered, muscular, and surprising.  In particular, her open, raw, emotional presence inside the movement is breathtaking...She offers a vivid and lively connection to Indigenous cultures within a contemporary lens."
Marissa Wolf
Director of New Works/Assoc. Artist
"The premiere of "Yvwi Tsvsdi-The Little People": a strong, stunning performance.”
Tess Ocaña, Concerts Director, ArtsCenter

"The performances were powerful, illuminating and emotionally engaging...we look forward to experiencing more of her artistic adventures and explorations." 
                                                            Jim Julien, Managing Director 
                                                            Asheville FringeArts Festival

"This summer I asked Maura Garcia to provide a dance/invocation for a special program we were organizing at Haskell Indian Nations University. A panel of the contributors to a critically acclaimed anthology, The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, was being interviewed for a national public radio program before a live audience of Haskell students and faculty and members of the public. Maura created a powerful dance that resonated with the themes of the book and eventually evolved into a moving spoken invocation in the Cherokee language, as well as English. Native programs are traditionally opened with an invocation or blessing, and Maura's dance/invocation provided that traditional opening with great creativity and artistry, setting up the perfect atmosphere for an occasion of learning and discussion."
Linda Rodriguez 

St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Competition, International Latino Book Award

"The virtuosity of her movements and the evident generosity of her spirit brought the audience together and into the moment...Her wise and beautiful selection of choreography, music, and symbolic properties set a tone that elevated everyone’s mind and heart"
Ben Furnish
Managing Editor, BkMk Press
University of Missouri-Kansas City


"...sharing a personal experience and confronting social mores was Maura Garcia in her tribute Earth Madness. Garcia, a very self-confident woman, moved fervently to powerful text by Phillip Meshekey. She matched her internal struggle with her external agitation, bordering on rage but ending in a state of content.”  
Laura Vernaci,  KCMETROPOLIS.org 

''Garcia has developed a special passion for the intersection of movement, performance, and activism." 
Inside the Artist's Studio,WCOM-FM 

The Dancer 
She danced with the splendor of an exotic butterfly.
Movements so deliberate in grace and in flight.
Chasing excitement with every expression on her face.
Her hands command the Earth to hold its breath.
Her body launches from the stag as the butterfly glides from one daffodil to another for its honey.
The music must go on, the rhythm must not stop.
This pleasure is ours alone. 

by Josephine Acquirre 
(Composed in response to a performance of Going to Water

Story Of A Kansas City Performance That Took 2 Yrs & Trips Around The Earth 
Sylvia Maria Gross, KCUR 89.3

"If you had the opportunity to choreograph a dance, what would it look like?
This is the very question Maura Garcia, a local dancer and choreographer, is posing to our community...Maura Garcia: Everybody's Chance Dance in Oppenstein Park, July 9th...This is the inaugural performance of the 2015 Art in the Loop project. Our goal is to infuse Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park and the center of Downtown Kansas City with innovative and engaging temporary art that will refresh, intrigue and surprise our audience of Downtown employees, residents, and visitors."
Madison Kludy, DowntownKC

“Dancer/Choreographer Maura Garcia (Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) collaborates with others to create genre-spanning art.” 
Alex Jacobs,  Indian Country Today

"That was one super performance yesterday – the way it was conceived and the way it was enacted.  I sat there thinking how wonderful it was..."
Maeda Galinsky, MSW, PhD (Audience member commenting 
on Look Before You Leap) 

AUDIO CLIP
"Everyone get in their starting positions," calls out dancer Maura Garcia, as she shakes a rattle.

It’s just after noon on a Thursday at Oppenstein Park at 12th and Walnut, and Garcia has corralled nine volunteers, from downtown ambassadors in yellow shirts to a food truck vendor. She walks them through the steps.

Dancer Maura Garcia (center) and volunteers start the dance 'Everybody's Chance Dance' holding cell phones, or walkie talkies.

"Cellphone up to your right ear, other hand down," she directs. "And now, everyone spin outwards, all spin out."

This is a very public – and brief – rehearsal for a performance called Everybody’s Chance Dance. The collaborative work launched this year’s Art in the Loop, with art installations and performances in the center of downtown.

Small clusters of office workers eat lunch at tables, or wait in line at the food trucks. But Garcia’s dancers stand in the middle of the small park – facing each other around a circular sculpture.

"And the idea behind this was to create a dance in this place that was only for this day, with everybody around us," says Garcia, who collected feedback from park visitors to create the work.
 
Laura Spencer, KCUR 89.3FM

"With so much turmoil in the world, it was truly amazing to spend time amongst different cultures and experience music, dance, folklore and spiritual practices on the night of a blazing full moon.  It was a fantastic experience.  The show (Full Moon Dances Jan. 12th, 2017) was diverse yet smoothly flowed from beginning to end."
Chris Marschall, Musician and IT Professional, Mars Studios 

"For a few hours on July 9, dance artist Maura Garcia will be taking special requests. She wants to know, “What should a dance in Oppenstein Park look like? Should it have jumps and rolls? Should it incorporate the trees?”...These opportunities are essential to forming a sense of community and bringing people together." 
Lauren Rutherford, KC Magazine 

"You can see here some of the Native look to the modern dance which Maura brings to the piece...both visual & aural, dancing to words as much as to music...fuses in her dance the biological and cultural fusions in her life.” 
Mike Strong, KCDance

"The artist residency was one-of-a-kind...the holistic approach to working with young artists in our AfterSchool Arts Immersion (AAI) program exceeded the standards we set for our teaching artists. Although the focus of the residency was creative movement, our AAI artists (ages 5-11) learned about dance as a form of resistance, the importance of meditation and ritual-building, and how to work as an artistic collective. AAI parents were particularly impressed by the “family sharing” performance concluding the residency. One parent called the performance a “great program that has helped open the eyes of our young artist and our family.” Another parent confirmed, “Excellent program! My daughter loved this program. She had a wonderful, enriching experience.” 
Shirlette Ammons, Childrens Arts Manager The ArtsCenter

The clock hits 7 P.M. and everyone takes his or her seats to watch Maura Garcia display her work. A poem is voluntarily read before the performance starts. As soon as the last word of the poem is said, music spontaneously blasts from the speakers and Maura Garcia starts dancing to the sounds of Charleston. “Representing every piece of historic Charleston with a dance move is very clever…,” said by an audience member. Stories about Charleston were read aloud by various audience members and were portrayed by Garcia and her dancers.

Audience interaction was a key element in making this an enjoyable performance for people of all ages. Not only was the audience narrating the stories, but also each person had the opportunity to dance. The music was a variety of slow and fast tempos with showcasing many different instruments. Garcia’s beginning dance started off with a slower tempo and simpler movement and later displayed the opposite with a faster tempo with banging drums and quicker dance moves. The audience was sliding towards the edge of their seats when the music would progress.

The performance ended with Garcia in many different items of clothing representing the different types of obstacles and roads people go through. This performance was a great opening to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival because Maura Garcia displayed various types of art from dancing to acting.
Monica Fab, The Charleston Fever


"Thank you so much for facilitating such an engaging and relevant workshop as part of the Ackland Art Museum's Heart of Progress Community Day...I appreciate your careful attention to the content and tenor of the exhibition... As a facilitator, you selected ways to acknowledge these aspects of the exhibition without letting it's serious nature overwhelm the workshop or negatively influence the participants enjoyment of the process...It was so wonderful to witness people of different ages in the galleries - many of whom had just met thirty minutes before - working together to create their own "working machine" and expressing such joy as they did." 
Beth Shaw McGuire, Senior Museum Educator, Ackland Art Museum

"During the rally, students made posters, listened to speakers and watched contemporary dance company Mixed Blood Woman perform a symbolic dance...Maura Michelle Garcia, Mixed Blood Woman artistic director, said she choreographed the dance as a demonstration freeing women from the stigma of rape. She performed the dance with four other sexual assault survivors, saying the dance can have a healing affect. "We’re coming out of the closet as survivors, as heroines and warriors," Garcia said. "I wanted an army of people to testify."
Linda Friedel, The Wednesday Sun


“Maura’s teaching style is challenging, encouraging and elegant. She provided me with a space to explore my body’s limitations as well as it’s strengths. In just a few weeks many of the students in her class were commenting on how they felt that they were improving and how they felt that they were gaining stability and strength. No matter how challenging the moves or positions were, she was consistently motivating and would adjust according to the needs of the student.”
Charlotte McCloskey, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist


"Another Community Day activity that drew a lot of interest was two different sessions of a "Moving to Art" workshop taught by dancer/choreographer Maura Garcia. Garcia explained that the workshop was an opportunity for people to explore ways to react physically to art. Garcia had participants look at several different art pieces -- including pottery, paintings and statues -- and choose a favorite. She read the background about the most popular pieces and asked everyone to come up with a movement based on what they thought of the piece and their own personal experiences. Once everyone had demonstrated their movement, Garcia helped them put it all together in a short dance. Participant Kelly Agan of Carrboro said she had a great time at the workshop, and that it was a perfect way to make art more interactive.” 
Lisa A. Young, The Herald-Sun CHAPEL HILL  

"Another piece that stood out was The Reckoning, a solo choreographed and performed by Kansas City newcomer Maura Garcia. Her choreography is rooted in her heritage, mixing American Indian and African-American vernacular dance with classic barefoot modern dance.”
Nicole English, KansasCity.com
 

"Sometimes the most forward-thinking art explores the past. That's certainly the case with content of “The Little People” by Mixed Blood Woman, a contemporary dance theater company founded by Maura Michelle Garcia. This multimedia piece is coming to the Diana Wortham Theatre at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The work explores the world of ancient Cherokee fairies, the Yvwi Tsvsdi or “little people,” and the having, losing and reclaiming of traditional Cherokee beliefs and a conscious Native identity. The Asheville Art Museum is presenting the performance in conjunction with its exhibition of contemporary Cherokee carvers, which is a first for the museum, said Nancy Sokolove, Asheville Art Museum's adult programs manager. "I think there are so many people who draw on their heritage” for artistic inspiration, Sokolove said. “It's definitely part of our post-modern culture. … It's not a dead history.” Sokolove said she considers Garcia a performance artist and dancer, noting that her work is “a very contemporary art form.” Garcia was recently awarded a studio residency through the Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project in Kansas City, Mo. “Maura is a contemporary dancer and choreographer of Cherokee descent and this is a wonderful opportunity to connect two different art forms that both relate to the past and continue the dialogue of what it means to be Cherokee today,” Sokolove said. According to the Mixed Blood Woman Web site, Garcia cites inspiration from her heritage — which includes Cherokee, Mattamuskeet and West African ancestry — and the “diverse movement traditions to which she has been exposed.” Garcia's come to The Asheville FringeArts Festival before, Sokolove said, but she has never performed this piece in Asheville. “I like to find ways that the audience, the community of Asheville can have another experience that will help them see our exhibits in new or corollary ways,” said Sokolove."
Carol Motsinger, Asheville Times


"The Reckoning was an excerpt from The Little People by Maura Michelle Garcia. An abstract painting by Soumitra Dasgupta was projected on a screen as a backdrop. Garcia's costume imitated the painting and she did not stray outside the projected painting so she blended with the backdrop, which was the full height of the stage. This gave the piece a great vertical range, which opened up the movement. The program notes said the piece was about Cherokee fairies called Yvwi Tsvsdi and was conceived with retaining native Cherokee traditions in mind. Garcia patted her hands against her body and there were elements of swing in her movements. This piece also played heavily on drawing attention to the body. There was a repeated figure in which she would fold herself over and figuratively wring her hands in anxiety and then move to a standing position with her arms springing open."
Scott Easterday, KCMETROPOLIS.org
 

Kansas City Art Institute's 125th Anniversary Gala featuring Nick Cave's Soundsuits: 
Forester Michael, The Pitch