The art of movement benefits personal transformation

The Body Breathes is an artistic-social project by Mercedes Boronat, intended for women with limited personal, economic or social resources. The Body Breathes encourages processes of personal transformation, social cohesion and empowerment, improving quality of life, while promoting social integration and personal development.

The Body Breathes is an innovative project that was born in 2015. The first time the project was implemented it was an enriching experience which brought together a group of 23 women of all ages to work with the artist for four months, participating in a workshop and giving a final performance at the El Graner installations.

Launched by Mercedes Boronat, The Body Breathes was produced in Barcelona thanks to support from Obra Social “La Caixa”, El Graner / Mercat de les Flors and with the involvement of various social associations.

The author’s intention is to present this work aimed at empowerment, through movement, in formats that can be adapted to the needs of each specific context.


Mercedes Boronat, a researcher in the area of movement with more than 30 years of experience, has designed a process rooted in creative training and artistic creation, directed at groups of women: Women with problems, without a solid family structure or in difficult situations; women who have been marginalized or are victims of violence. Women who are disconnected from their bodies, their movement and their strength.

The project proposed by the author is founded on movement, improvisation, dance-theatre, the immediate expression of feelings and emotions, creating a pleasant atmosphere where the group members can activate their bodies and bolster their possibilities.

The women are familiarized with Mercedes Boronat’s understanding of the relationship between emotions and movement, between our bodies’ organs, colors and our moods, exploring the effects of this method first-hand, in themselves.

Simple techniques of movement are taught, which make it possible to overcome blockages, literally transforming “toxic” emotions such as frustration, anger, and rage into their positive energetic equivalents: love, generosity, freedom.

This original method created by Mercedes Boronat (called “Keep Moving”), which fuses together contemporary Western and Eastern arts and techniques, provides the participants with a transformative experience that has an immediate effect on their lives as a whole, beyond the limits of the protected space of the work room.

During the process, the women experience a creative space and time, which promotes personal creativity, experience, life lessons. The performance work is an important part of the process. Performance is a personal undertaking for Boronat, which has the ability to recharge the power of transformation and emotions, a genuine tool for personal growth.

INNER LANDSCAPE / proyecto el Cos Respira from Mercedes Boronat on Vimeo.

Project Goals

The project is intended to provide a space for women. It is meant to raise their awareness of the possibilities of their bodies, their voices, their imagination, their creativity and capacity for socialization, while offering them the tools to access contemporary culture and discourse.

Above all, this project aims to provide the participants with the practical tools to transform their unproductive emotions into positive ones, through the arts of movement and performance.

Likewise, as a result of the group work, it favors cooperation among the participants, as well as the capacity for self-management, self-confidence and empowerment. Both the process and the performances help transform the participants’ own battles into a creative dialogue, overcoming physical and emotional limitations, while providing them with new ways of expressing themselves.


The project is directed at women, because they are mothers and daughters. They are the core of society and the family, responsible for children and for taking care of elders. Helping women means rapidly affecting a larger context – families and communities. It means reaching a larger number of people than just the participants themselves. It means expanding the project’s impact.

The project is intended for groups of a maximum of 15 women of all ages (18-70 years).

It is possible to work with more than one group of women during the same dates, but on different schedules.

Project Innovation

This is not an artistic project that allows non-artistic collectives to participate. It is a true process of transformation for the participants, through a physical practice similar to the dance-theatre created by Mercedes Boronat.

It is an innovative project because it offers practical tools for changing the participants’ reality and affecting the perceptions they have of themselves and their surroundings.

As opposed to other creative projects directed at women in difficult situations, this project is intended to bring positive aspects to the surface. It is not meant to be a show, but rather a life lesson: an experience of growth.

Specific Aims

  • Providing tools and techniques to foster awareness of one’s body, one’s emotions, one’s energy and movement, as well as developing each individual’s personal aptitudes in order to overcome fear.
  • Promoting self-esteem, confidence and empowerment through the imagination and through creativity, strengthening individual abilities and the relationships within the group.
  • Indirectly influencing the participants’ social and family environments, improving their interpersonal relationships, offering them the possibility and the tools to transform occasions for conflict into opportunities for dialogue.
  • Implementing an artistic project with the ability to transmit a positive message of transformation and personal betterment.
  • Recognizing the performing arts, and culture as a whole, as familiar occurrences that play a necessary role in personal development.

Indicators of Social Return

Special emphasis will be placed on personal development: confidence, self-esteem, the ability to transform emotions, overcoming obstacles in one’s surroundings and personal limitations, opening up a dialog with oneself and one’s environment. Affecting everyday life and interpersonal relationships. The benefits of this experience will be lasting, because the knowledge and the practical experience acquired will permeate participants’ bodies and their daily lives.


  • The assessment process will take into account:
  • the participants’ interest in the planned activities
  • the result of the workshop and the ability to incorporate the acquired knowledge into daily life
  • carrying out a creative participatory assessment activity with the participants
  • all collaborating organizations will be invited to take part in the assessment process


Mercedes Boronat: direction

Èlia Genís: direction assitent

Valeria Stucki: video maker

Danilo Pioli: production

Lisi gutiérrez Esteban: press

The Body Breathes/ El Cos Respira 2015, a project by Mercedes Boronat, 

with the support of Arte para la Mejora Social: Obra Social La Caixa, el Graner /Mercat de les Flors, and the colaboration of  Centros Cívicos La Marina, Servei Socials del Barri de la Marina, Servei socio-educatius de la Marina, Unió d’Entitats la Marina, Ass. AADAS.




“The Body Breathes”: a beautiful experience. 

text by Violeta Garcia, Psychologist,  Association for the Aid of Women Sufferers of Sexual Assault (AADAS)

The project “The Body Breathes” put AADAS into contact with a comprehensive project that promotes people’s well-being, a space for sharing, for recognition, for combining energies, for finding oneself, for growth, for enjoyment, for branching out, both internally and outward.

As an association, the project “The Body Breathes” represents a great contribution to the work we do and an especially enriching experience for the people from our association who have participated, both on an individual level and collectively.

We can only hope the project will be ongoing, incorporated on an annual basis into the activities undertaken by AADAS.

Our very special thanks go to Mercedes Boronat and her team for their sensitivity and generosity, for bringing the project to our association and for their impeccable work.


The Body Breathes engages women from different backgrounds, which adds richness and color. Some of them have been the victims of sexual violence. But we don’t know which ones. We can watch the performance and ask ourselves that question. We might even hazard a guess. But I can assure you, our guesses won’t be right. Maybe by coincidence. People who have suffered sexual violence don’t generally walk around with black eyes and open wounds. If they ever had any, they’ve had time to heal. Their wounds are invisible. Some of them involve what their bodies have been through. Others are the result of what we, as a society, do when we imagine them to be different. Damaged. Powerless. Really, they’re normal people.

What is the point of our efforts toward empowerment and education if, when it comes time to show off their work, the women feel exposed, singled out, looked at as victims? And what would be the point of doing all this work if it can’t be shared and shown? The way The Body Breathes works, the women are the main characters, not a mere result. They are the hosts of the performance, not the spectacle itself. They are subjects, not objects. The Body Breathes has managed to do this work from a foundation of dignity, individuality and anonymity, without falling prey to the objectification of women or the exploitation of the violence they’ve suffered – real temptations that only compound their silence and their exclusion.

text by Cristina Alonso, coordinator of the art factory El Graner (Barcelona).

El Graner has embraced and supported the project during 2015 as part of its line of projects that are founded on using movement to work in the community. The overall results and assessment of the project have been very positive, in both artistic and social terms, in the improvements to quality of life that it has provided for the participants, whose testimonies we have been able to hear firsthand. It is in our interest, as such, to continue supporting this line of work in choreography, to the extent permitted by our resources.



The Body Breathes/ El Cos Respira 2015, a project by Mercedes Boronat,

with the support of Arte para la Mejora Social: Obra Social La Caixa, el Graner /Mercat de les Flors, and the colaboration of  Centros Cívicos La Marina, Servei Socials del Barri de la Marina, Servei socio-educatius de la Marina, Unió d’Entitats la Marina, Ass. AADAS.


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