Mariana Valencia

24–26 June 2022

Heera is a performance devised by Mariana Valencia and Abrons Arts Center Urban Youth Theater student Heera Gandhu that circumnavigates dance, comedy, horror movies, and coming of age. Their choreography explores performative presence as they speak through witty and dynamic text.

Image by Maria Baranova


Choreographer and performer Mariana Valencia, is an LMCC Extended Life grantee (2020), a Whitney Biennial artist (2019), a Bessie Award recipient for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer (2018), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award to Artists grant recipient (2018), a Jerome Travel and Study Grant fellow (2014-15), and a Movement Research GPS/Global Practice Sharing artist (2016/17). Her work has been commissioned by Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project, The Whitney Museum, The Shed, The Public Theater​ ​and Performance Space New York. Valencia has been presented nationally and internationally in Korea, Germany, England, Norway, Macedonia and Serbia; her residencies include AUNTS, Chez Bushwick, New York Live Arts, ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Gibney Dance Center, Movement Research, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (OR). She’s worked with Lydia Okrent, Jules Gimbrone, Elizabeth Orr, Kate Brandt, AK Burns, Guadalupe Rosales, Juliana May, Em Rooney, robbinschilds, Kim Brandt, Morgan Bassichis, Jazmin Romero, ​Fia Backstrom and MPA. She holds a BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (2006) with a concentration in dance and ethnography.

My name is Heera Gandhu and I was born and raised in New York City. I am currently a 7th grader who attends Tompkins Square Middle School. I have two brothers with whom I love writing scripts with, which we then act out in the form of mini plays and videos. I started at Abrons Art Center four years ago and every year I enjoy coming back to do awesome plays and learn different acting styles. I love acting because to me it feels like a different way of expressing myself and it can go anywhere. I hope one day I can also become a professional actor.


Heera is commissioned by Abrons Arts Center with support provided in part by Howard Gilman Foundation.