top of page

Loading Video . . .

I plan on making a duet for two women inspired by the Book of Ruth. I imagine it will be around 20 minutes in length. I’m still in the reading, thinking and dreaming stage of my process. I will begin rehearsals in early May. I’m eager to get into the studio with these two dancers to begin our physical investigation.

Find the complete progression of the work linked below.

Ruth 1:16-17

Artist in Residence 2015: Christine Suarez Part 1


Christine Suarez


Curated by: 

Spark & Echo Arts, Artist in Residence 2015



Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

Loading primary passage...

Loading Passage Reference...

March 23, 2015

I plan on making a duet for two women inspired by the Book of Ruth. I imagine it will be around 20 minutes in length. I’m still in the reading, thinking and dreaming stage of my process. I will begin rehearsals in early May. I’m eager to get into the studio with these two dancers to begin our physical investigation.

Months ago my neighbor happened to tell me about a song her Rabbi sings. Ruth’s words:

“Do not press me to leave you

or to turn back from following you!

Where you go, I will go;

where you lodge, I will lodge;

your people shall be my people,

and your God my God.”

It brought tears to me eyes. What beautiful faith! What conviction! That was my entry point for this work – moved by a complete willingness to give everything up for another.

I find the story of Ruth and Naomi fascinating in many ways. I’m deeply moved by Ruth’s unrelenting loyalty and by Naomi’s feelings of forsaken abandonment from God. I wonder how these can exist side by side. What is each of their motivations? Ruth expresses her emotions nakedly to Naomi – pledging her undying devotion and willingness to give everything up for her. And Naomi basically ignores her or rather does not accept Ruth’s pledges as any comfort. Naomi repeatedly publicly expresses how she is alone (“the hand of the Lord is against me”). The end of the story does not resolve this tension. It is left very open to interpretation.

I am curious about the structural composition to the Book as well. There are two moments of formal poetry within the Book: Ruth’s devotional speech and Naomi’s declaration of desertion upon entering Bethlehem. How are these two moments of poetry in dialogue with each other?

I’m reading many interpretation of this story: Jewish scholars, humanity scholars and Christian scholars. I’m looking at classical art inspired by the story including works by William Blake. The more I read, the more questions I have. Is this a political parable? Is it a story of mystical symbolism? What is the significance of the poetry vs. the prose within the Book?

How are these questions going to translate into a dance-theater work? I don’t totally know. But I do know that as a creator I need to deeply connect with my subject matter. I can relate more to Naomi’s struggle and her blindness to the gifts that Ruth is offering her. I have felt very, very alone at points in my life unable to connect with God (and other people). In fact I have at times felt like God was punishing me. At this point I am most interested in the relationship of Ruth and Naomi and each of their internal emotional landscapes. Together with the dancers, we will start by finding ways to physicalize these emotional landscapes. We will work towards translating the relationship of these two women into the corporeal using space, time and sound. I can’t wait to share more of my process with you. It is such a privilege. Thank you!

If you have any thoughts or responses, please feel free to email me at

Samples of Christine’s previous work:

From Mother, Photo by Christine Suarez

From Mother, Photo by Lori Teague

From Motherhood Redux, Photo by Thomas Cox

From Dances in Public Parks, Photo by Paul Antico

From Spark and Echo Arts: The joy of our heart has ceased; Our dance has turned into mourning.

An Excerpt from Mother

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Christine Suarez is a Los Angeles-based choreographer, performer and educator. Born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana, Christine made her first works of choreography to the Grease soundtrack. Since then she has created eleven evening-length dance-theater works, numerous site-specific and community events and close to a dozen dances for the theater and film, along with teaching, creating and performing at school sites all over the U.S. While living in New York City from 1994-2006, her work was presented at various venues including Danspace Project, P.S. 122, HERE, Joyce SoHo and Dixon Place. In 1998 she founded SuarezDanceTheater, a not-for-profit, ensemble of dancers, actors and musicians. SuarezDanceTheater examines the unexpected – creating dance-theater in unexpected places with unexpected people about unexpected subjects. Christine and company were Artists in Residence at Tribeca Performing Arts Center from 2003-2006. Her work has toured nationally and internationally to over 20 cities. Her work happens in theaters, houses, parks, Churches, galleries, sidewalks and beaches. She collaborates with multi-generational performers along with parents, children, veterans, high school students and teen mothers.

Since relocating to Los Angeles, she has been invigorated by making dances in unexpected places. Wet Spots (2008) was a site-specific performance about female orgasm that she created in collaboration with a multi-generational cast of women. The Los Angeles Times called it “ingeniously crafted…poignant…hilarious.” She has organized community dance participatory performances in parks, beaches and classrooms in partnership with city governments, community based organizations and schools. She has also been touring Wet Spots: Solo to Tallinn, Estonia, Movement Research at Judson Church (New York City), The Garage (San Francisco), Emory University (Atlanta, GA), The A.W.A.R.D. Show! (REDCAT). Most recently she premiered her new evening length work MOTHER. at the Motion Pacific at the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA.

As an educator, Christine has worked at public schools all over the New York City and Los Angeles area. She has been a guest teacher/choreographer at California State University San Marcos, California State University Los Angeles, Emory University, Indiana University, Southeastern University of Louisiana and Louisiana State University. She holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department and a BA in Theater and English Literature from Emory University. She is a government contractor co-creating a dance program for Veterans at The School for Better Living, a psycho-social research initiative a the West Los Angeles VA Hospital. She also works as a teaching artist with the HeArt Project. She has been awarded grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Puffin Foundation, Meet the Composer, the Association for Hispanic Arts, JP Morgan Chase Regrant, the Field and the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center. She is honored to be a Hispanic Scholarship Fund/Cheech Marin Endowed Scholarship Scholar and recipient of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund McNamara Family Creative Arts Projects Grant.

(Photo by CedarBough Saeji)

Christine Suarez

About the Artist

Artist in Residence 2015: Christine Suarez Part 2

Artist in Residence 2015: Christine Suarez Part 3

The joy of our heart has ceased; Our dance has turned into mourning.

Artist in Residence 2015: Christine Suarez

Christine Suarez

Other Works By