Constellation Stories

This year's PLACE Project celebrates Seymour Planetarium in Springfield MA.

Saturday, November 5, 2022, from 12-5pm

Springfield Science Museum, Springfield MA



This year's PLACE Project travels to the stars, as we celebrate Seymour Planetarium's 85th anniversary (the oldest planetarium in the country) at Springfield Science Museum in Springfield, MA. This exciting collaborative performance of dance, light, and science features astronomy-based mythologies from Japan, Estonia, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Cape Verde. Our Constellation Stories event comprises contemporary performances by Luminarium Dance Company; original music composition by Madeleine Shapiro (cellist, NYC) and Andreas Bergsland (electronics, Norway); traditional Taíno solos by Chali'Inaru Dones and Vinny “Tata’niki” Iraheta; and a new work by Henoch Spinola; all honoring the night sky. Visitors are encouraged to wander the museum as the dancers pop up in different locations throughout the afternoon. Free with museum admission and intriguing for all ages, this event is not to be missed!


Springfield Science Museum

21 Edwards Street

Springfield, MA 01103



Merli V. Guerra (MFA in Dance) is an award-winning choreographer and interdisciplinary artist combining dance, film, art, and design. She is founder and director of PLACE Project, integrating history, dance, and the arts since 2012; and co-founder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Boston, MA (founded 2010), and Princeton, NJ (2017). Guerra has performed lead roles as a modern dancer and classical Odissi Indian dancer with acclaimed companies on tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009). Her artistic works have been presented by 100+ events across the U.S., and internationally in Europe, North America, Asia, and South America, with interactive art installations permanently on view in the U.S. and Portugal. She is a 2022 recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from NJ State Council on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts for her work in screendance, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award for her PLACE Project site-specific productions and community engagement.

Chali'naru Dones is a Borikén Taíno woman, member of the Guainía Taíno Tribe and Liaison to the United Confederation of Taíno People. A devoted mother, human rights advocate, artist, and creative entrepreneur, Chali’naru and her son Tata’niki are often seen throughout New England sharing their culture's history through voice and dance. Her son, a powwow champion dancer captivates his audience with his spiritual uplifting energy. Together they will represent their nation with a four directions invocation, an Owl Dance, a Makana (War) Dance and close with a gratitude chant. 


Henoch Spinola, a native of Cabo Verde Islands, began his classical training with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member 2007. After leaving JMBT, Henoch began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011–2012, along with other dance companies local to Boston. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013-2014. He completed the Master of Fine Arts program within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in 2017. He is currently a core member with Boston Dance Theater.

Saturday, November 5, 2022, from 12-5pm

Springfield Science Museum, Springfield MA

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a stage agency; and a Live Arts Boston grant through The Boston Foundation. 


Stay tuned for an expanded version of this performance at a Greater Boston venue in Spring 2023!