Querencia, a breathtaking portrayal of love and longing

Choreographer Sergio Masero with Atlanta Ballet dancers Mikaela Santos and Munkhjin Ulziijargal. Photo by Shoccara Marcus.

Atlanta Ballet’s very own Sergio Masero will delight audiences with the neoclassical grace of world premiere Querencia, as he opens the Kaleidoscope program this weekend.

You’ve been described by ArtsATL as a “beautiful musical dance maker.” How did the music inspire you?

When I was searching for musical inspiration, I came across Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor and immediately liked it. But it wasn’t until I listened to it repeatedly on a road trip that I fell in love with it, particularly one section of the music. The third movement has a very sad and painful connotation to it, but I kept listening as I loved it so much. That brought me to another place of inspiration.

I was struck by how something so sad could bring me so much joy; despite its sadness, the music made me feel happy. I then researched the different meanings of happiness. This opened a world of ideas, from a special person making you happy to a place that might bring you joy. Even a sad memory can bring some comfort. I thought the possibilities were endless. And that’s how I established the tile of the work, Querencia.

What does ‘querencia’ mean?

‘Querencia’ is a Spanish word to describe the place where you feel emotionally strong. I think it’s the perfect word to describe the joy that this work brings to me – the music, the style of the movement, the set, the challenging choreographic steps. I also loved how a Spanish word brought me back to my own culture and youth. These happy memories inspired me even further as I incorporated some steps that I learned in Spanish dance classes as a young dancer.

What can the audience expect to see in Querencia?

In this work you’ll see musical steps, dynamic jumps, and large powerful ballet movements. These all highlight my joy as both a dancer and a choreographer. I also set challenging steps on a corps de ballet that are more traditionally reserved for the principal couple. So, you’ll see several couples performing more as principal couples, all the while dancing together as a group.

This is your third time choreographing for Atlanta Ballet. What do you hope to achieve with Querencia?

Querencia is my personal interpretation of how Arensky’s beautiful score allowed me to dive into the search of what happiness means. I hope to be able to transport the audience to their place of joy, strength, and comfort.

Querencia was performed as part of the Kaleidoscope program at the Cobb Energy Centre, March 22 to 24.