Artist Spotlight No. 7: Delphina Parenti + Betheny Merola // BELslide

Know first about Delphine Parenti + Betheny Merola, Co-Founders/Creators of BELslide and No.7 of 13 presented artists during Volume V, Issue I. Both Delphina + Betheny are interested in interweaving spiritual and ethical values within physical practice. Read more about BELslide on our Artist Spotlight.  


Three words that describe your choreography
Animalistic, Female Archetypal, Narrative

Betheny Merola trained at Dryfoos School of the Arts and holds a BFA from Florida Atlantic University. Betheny’s choreography has been presented at Hatch, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Ailey Theater,  Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, and the wild project. She is also Founder of The Process Projects, a film series highlighting dancers and their unique stories set in urban environments. She is 1/2 of BELslide, a contemporary dance/performance company co-founded with Delphina Parenti, with their first work being presented at Gowanus Art + Production at the Green Building.

Delphina Parenti holds a BFA from The Juilliard School and is a member of Nadine Bommer Theater Dance. Delphina has choreographed for CityDance Ensemble, the Eureka Dance Festival, and Chen Dance Center's Newsteps, and is recipient of the Metro DC Dance Award 2009 for Outstanding Individual Performance. She is 1/2 of BELslide, a contemporary dance/performance company co-founded with Betheny Merola, with their first work being presented at Gowanus Art + Production at the Green Building.

About BELslide's Creative Process
Interweaving spiritual and ethical values within physical practice is an underlying theme for our work. We read books and listen to music that relates specifically to poetry, mythology, narrative, and philosophy. We loosely explore concepts through improvisation, being attentive to one another. Unexpected and playful concepts then present themselves through these practices.

Do you work in other mediums other than dance? Any other special talents?
For Betheny, photography is a spontaneous process. What Betheny sees and captures becomes part of her internal collection of imagery. These images, and the thoughts they conjure, become inspiration for creating work in the dance studio.

Delphina is involved in social, political, and environmental activism. She’s working on bringing people together through a documentary film night, in the hopes of educating and inspiring people, and ultimately standing together to fight for justice, health, and peaceful communities.

What artists are you influenced by? Why so?
Artists that tap into the subconscious. We read poetry that Betheny finds at The Strand’s $1 bookshelves; certain readings that we come across fall in line with the concepts we’ve been investigating in the studio.

Chase Twitchell is a poet that influenced us while working on Of The Dust; her writing is vivid and raw. A spiritual leader and scholar, Swami Tripurari speaks of our heart leading our intellect, in a very logical and deductive manner. His lecture on the sentient differences between animal life and human existence has given momentum to the themes we explore in Of the Dust as well. Pina Bausch’s atypical and poignant use of theatrical narrative and powerful imagery lend inspiration to self-exploration and characterization within our work. The Bedside Book of Beasts, by Graeme Gibson, was the catalyst for narrative movement in our newest work to be shown at the CURRENT SESSIONS.

What is your most memorable experience thus far?
Dancing in Katz Delicatessen’s pop-up art gallery with thick rope attached to our bodies and fastened to the wall. We took over the entire space.  

We’re all physical beings! What’s your favorite part of the body and why?
The neck and arms. Necks are elegant and emotive. Arms are expensive and narrative.

Say what you want to say! Have a quote you live by?
“Just then I found a strange refuge. ‘by chance’ as they say- though I believe there is no such thing. If you need something desperately and find it, this is not an accident; your own craving and compulsion leads you to it.” -Emil Sinclair

Photo: Alexander Schwartz

Photo: Alexander Schwartz

Check out BELslide's Website and find them on Facebook.

See BELslide at Volume V, Issue I., on Saturday, March 14th at 7:30pm + Sunday, March 15th at 7pm.

Volume V, Issue I. is happening March 13-15, 2015 at the wild project.
See the full schedule and get tickets here.