Elina Zavala brings 'Salty Kisses' to the 'tIDal shift'

The Cayman Islands National Gallery will be presenting “tIDal shift,” described as “Explorations of identity in contemporary Caymanian Art,” on Friday. As part of the exhibition, professional dancer Elina Zavala will perform “Salty Kisses,” an original work she created in collaboration with DJs John Smrekar and Marcelle Mitcher “Da Funky Marsupial.” 

Many in Cayman probably will have already seen some of Zavala’s performances, as she can often be found dancing at various events accompanied by her husband, Nathan Barnett Herrera, on guitar. This particular piece, however, will be quite different from what people have come to expect from the young artist. 

She provides a synopsis of “Salty Kisses” as follows: “Comprised of memories, conversations, questions and sometimes answers, this bold, yet intimate performance beckons the viewer into a conversation, and furthermore on a journey through the mind, heart, and soul of an “artist” living in Grand Cayman. 

“Recorded interviews, colorful soundscapes, and strong visuals serve as the backdrop for this movement-based performance, providing a platform for interaction between the different mediums. DJs John Smrekar and Marcelle Mitcher “Da Funky Marsupial” have created custom sound and media for the piece. 

“A collaboration of multimedia, live music production, dance and movement and are used to tell an autobiographical story, creating a multifaceted experience for the viewer. The candidness and vulnerability of the script is equally matched by strong themes and questions. These aim to probe the viewer to take a deeper look inside themselves, and leave with an enriched perspective of the world around them.” 

About the dancer  

Zavala received her bachelor of fine arts in theater from Arizona State University and moved to New York City, where she studied and performed in a variety of mediums. These included performance art, Suzuki and Kabuki theater, dance, theater and sound production. She also wrote and performed her own work, which often incorporated multimedia, live music production, and classical dance. 

Zavala has worked as a performance artist, model, magician’s assistant, dancer and carnival performer. She most recently studied Flamenco dance in Spain and has lived in Grand Cayman for three years. 

“My desire in everything I do, is to create an authentic experience for the viewer, which evokes emotion, asks questions, and speaks to the beauty, pain and triumph of what it means to be human,” says Zavala. 

“Salty Kisses” starts at 8 p.m. at the National Gallery. There will be exhibits, live music, canapes and a cash bar. Donations are welcome.  

For more information, contact the gallery at 945-8111 or visit the website at nationalgallery.org.ky

Elina Zavala will perform her original work, ‘Salty Kisses,’ at the National Gallery on Friday evening. – Photo: Kenroy Lumsden


Elina Zavala has enjoyed a very varied career since receiving her bachelor of fine arts degree.