From 1964-68, Famed photographer Ansel Adams spent time at the University of California on a groundbreaking photographic project commissioned by UC President Clark Kerr. At its core the project, entitled Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light, the University of California motto) asked Adams to answer the question “How can we imagine our future?” Over the course of the project, Adams took thousands of photos of the entire UC system, culminating in a published book written by Nancy Newhall in 1967, which was revisited in a full-year, campuswide multimedia exploration of Adams’ work this year called On the Same Page.
Berkeley Dance Project 2013: Aperture, the final production in UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Main Stage season, responds to and continues Adams’ work as part of the On the Same Page initiative, featuring four choreographic premieres and an exhibition of student artistic work , each bringing new perspectives and framings of contemporary life. The production opens April 19 in Zellerbach Playhouse.
Lisa Wymore’s piece, titled We all need light: stories from the grove, investigates real life stories of students living and working on the UC Berkeley campus today. These stories are layered with images from the 1964-68 Adams/Newhall Fiat Lux project, and with video images made by Iranian artist and UC Berkeley Art Practice Visiting Lecturer Azin Seraj. Out of Adams’ thousands of photos, students have chosen some of the few Adams took of “natural” settings on the UC Berkeley campus: a eucalyptus grove which the students were drawn to as a quasi-bucolic setting within which they could explore movement. Wymore and her collaborators, Seraj, the students, and composer Ben Juodvalkis, have worked together to create a highly kinetic dance piece that reveals intimate and personal moments of being a student, and a human being, within an institution of higher learning.
Choreographer Katie Faulkner’s piece, titled Animal Eulogy, illuminates the absurd, poetic, futile, and heroic efforts we make to derive comfort and meaning within our capricious and uncontrollable universe. Employing spare yet surreal visual states that evoke imagery of Hurricane Katrina, surveillance satellites, and Charles & Ray Eames’ iconic film Powers of Ten, this work seeks to capture the unfathomable juxtaposition between our small, intimate lives and the ever-magnifying power and scale of the natural world.
In Fiat Luv, Choreographer Scott Wells’ playful choreography displays his inventive dynamic partnering with some surprising live music elements which together create an evocative performance around the theme of finding partnership in a complex world. Working with the strengths of the student performers, Wells has crafted a funny, energetic, and moving work. Fiat Luv is inspired by the collegiate experience contextualized within the Fiat Lux campus project, yet it reaches beyond the boundaries of student life to ask a timeless question, “Why do we dance?” Do we dance to make high art and search for life’s meaning or do we dance to reenact the performance of mating rituals? Perhaps both – let there be light, love, and…
What happens when punctuation meets choreography? How do we orchestrate the flows of our movement and our language? TDPS graduate student Chia-Yi Seetoo’s piece continues her ongoing interest in exploring the fractures, tensions, and sometimes fantastic bursts of “culture” and “identity” that occur as we move throughout our contemporary existence. Seetoo and her unique ensemble of UC Berkeley dancers dwell on the breaks, the differences, the specificities, and the idiosyncrasies of personal movement and speech. The choreography punctuates these movement explorations seeking to bring to light the multiplicities found withinin one’s self, and within the collective.
Exposures: Exhibit (Designed to be viewed in conjunction with the Berkley Dance Project) shares some of the visual art projects created by students in response to Fiat Lux including current images of the Berkeley campus taken by students in the Art and Science of Digital Photography course taught by Computer Science Professor Brian A. Barsky. Other work has been created by students from the Art Practice New Genres course Fiat Lunch, taught by Amanda Eicher, as well as students from across campus participating in an On the Same Page contest. Exposures, installed in the lobby of the Zellerbach Playhouse, will be viewable before and after each performance.
About the Choreographers:
Lisa Wymore is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Dance Program within the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance at UC Berkley. She teaches courses in choreography, contemporary dance technique, performance, movement improvisation, and dance/technology. Wymore is currently the Co-Artistic Director with Sheldon B. Smith of Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts; a dance-theater-performance group based in the Bay Area. Disappearing Acts makes bittersweet, multi-media dance-theater events that submerge the audience in rich theatrical worlds; exploring the unexpected beauty found within every day life Wymore’s other projects include: creating distributed performances utilizing tele-immersion technology within the Z-Lab – a site for interactive real-time collaboration, and working with the Urban Bush Women Leadership Institute on a new community engagement project around food justice entitled “From the Field to the Table.”. Wymore is a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst.
Katie Faulkner is a dancer, teacher, filmmaker, choreographer, and the Artistic Director of little seismic dance company. Since founding little seismic in 2006 she has received generous support in the form of numerous grants, residencies, and awards. In addition to choreographic residencies at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, she was an artist-in-residence at ODC Theater from 2009-2011. She has received Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (Izzies) for Choreography, Performance, for her 2008 dance film LOOM, as well as nominations in the categories of Visual Design and Music/Text/Sound. In 2011 she won the Joyce Theater’s A.W.A.R.D. Show!/ San Francisco competition with her duet Until We Know For Sure, and was the recipient of the 2011 SF Bay Guardian “GOLDIE” (Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery) Award for Dance. She loves teaching and has been on faculty at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, UC Berkeley, Mills College, Marin Ballet, LINES Ballet BFA/Dominican University, Santa Clara University and she currently teaches at the University of San Francisco and ODC.
Scott Wells discovered the pleasure of contact improvisation shortly after becoming obsessed with the struggles of modern dance in 1981. He stuck with both and currently directs a company in San Francisco. Wells has created works for skateboarders, for boxers, and has choreographed West Side Story for Sonoma State University. In 2005 and 2010 Wells received The Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Choreography, and was selected by Dance Magazine as “one of the 25 To Watch” in 2005. Wells has toured to Europe for the last 17 years teaching and performing in festivals in Moscow, Ankara, Barcelona, Budapest, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Zagreb. Locally he has taught at A.C.T and the San Francisco Conservatory for Dance. He is currently an artist in residence at ODC Theater.
Chia-Yi Seetoo is a native of Taiwan but spent the past eight years in the U.S. and six years on the unique campus of UC Berkeley pursuing a doctoral degree in Performance Studies. Seetoo has been fascinated with her own transcultural, translingual being, and, painstakingly querying how that being-in-motion has been filtering—and providing new horizons to—her view of the world, her gesturing with/in the world. Her research interests include contemporary dance, transnational performances, problems and prospects of translation, corporealities and affect, modern Chinese cultural performance, and Taiwan studies. She is working on her dissertation “The Political-Kinaesthetics of Contemporary Dance: Taiwan and Transnational Perspectives,” which inquires the temporal implication of the “contemporary” within a transnational framework. Her past performance projects include intermedial choreography between video and dance, tweaks and recycles of Western postmodern literature and images of Taipei city Mass Rapid Transit, punctuation and the multilingual being, and auto-ethnographic mash-up via self-styled dance theater performance. She documents her performance-research at http://chiayiseeyoutoo.blogspot.com/
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
Berkeley Dance Project 2013 opens on Friday, April 19 at the Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus (at Spieker Plaza across from the Haas Pavilion) and runs on weekends through Sunday, April 28.
Presented Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
April 19, 20, 26, 27 – 8pm
April 21, 28 – 2pm
Exposures exhibit hours:
1 hour before each BDP show
Tickets (same as entry to BDP, includes the BDP performance)
Tickets required: $10.00 Students, Seniors, UC Faculty/Staff, and $15.00 General Admission