“Berkeley Dance Project 2017” Explores Networks and Elements at Zellerbach Playhouse, April 20-29

Berkeley, CA – April 2017 – This month, UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) presents its final Playhouse Production of the season: Berkeley Dance Project 2017 (BDP), featuring works by guest choreographers Krista DeNio and James Graham, as well as TDPS student choreographers Angie Corley and José Nuñoz. BDP 2017, directed by SanSan Kwan and performed by student dancers, highlights the relationship between the human and natural worlds, exploring ways that the two transmit ideas, emotions, and energy. Berkeley Dance Project 2017 opens Thursday, April 20, 2017 and continues through Saturday, April 29, 2017 in the Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $13-$20 and can be purchased online through the TDPS Box Office at tdps.berkeley.edu/berkeley-dance-project-2017/ or at the door.

Inspired by the theme “Digging Deep,” Berkeley Dance Project 2017 offers a physical exploration of communication—between humans, within the natural world, and in the places where the two collide. The production reveals the deep layers of connection we have to each other and our world, and ultimately asks: What sustains us? What destroys us? What makes us feel connected while we are alive?

Guest choreographer Krista DeNio, artistic director of Moving Ground,debuts “Network,” a new piece of ensemble-devised dance theater inspired by systems of communication and confinement in the human and plant world. Drawing on research and interviews, “Network” brings forward the stories of formerly incarcerated individuals, exploring how imprisonment cut them off from life-sustaining systems and celebrating humans’ ability to survive systemic oppression and imprisonment through resistance and resilience.

Berkeley Dance Project 2017 also features the work of choreographer and TDPS alumnus James Graham, artistic director of the San Francisco-based James Graham Dance Company. Graham’s piece explores the established four elements—earth, air, water and fire—as well as an additional element, dubbed “marrow,” that is the essence of heart and humanity. Each element is connected with specific movements that explore their meaning on a symbolic and physical level. Graham’s piece incorporates structured movement, as well as improvisational movement, as he believes “It’s important to give students freedom as movers and dancers, so that they can grow, learn, and have an education within the process. I like to leave room for improvisation, which makes the piece come alive.”

Original student choreography is also featured in Berkeley Dance Project 2017. TDPS students José Antonio Nuño and Angie Corley’s works, “Basura!” and “BLahh!,” respectively, premiered last semester as part of TDPS’s Fall Choreography Showcase, and are being restaged on a larger scale for this production.

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Production Details

Berkeley Dance Project opens Thursday, April 20, 2017 and continues through Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets for students, seniors, UC Berkeley Faculty & staff are $13 online in advance and $15 at the door; General admission tickets are $18 online in advance and $20 at the door; Tickets are on sale through the TDPS Box Office at http://tdps.berkeley.edu/events/berkeley-dance-project-2017/ or at the door.

Berkeley Dance Project is directed by SanSan Kwan and features choreography by Krista DeNio and James Graham, scenic design by Justine Law, costume design by Wendy Sparks-Rehl, and lighting design by Jack Carpenter. The cast includes: Jeremy B, Catalina Biggerstaff, Zackery Brazina, Joshua Brooks, Amy Cranch, Amainary Contreras, Angie Corley, Yesenia Sosa Gonzalez, Beatrice Hadjipateras, Heather Jackson, Chyna Star Kane-Ross, Michelle Leuenberger, Ivie Martinez, Julie Pagaduan, Misa Tanaka.

About TDPS

The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies teaches performance as a mode of critical inquiry, creative expression and public engagement. Through performance training and research, we create liberal arts graduates with expanded analytical, technical and imaginative capacities. As a public institution, we make diversity and inclusion a key part of our teaching, art making and public programming.

About Krista DeNio

Krista DeNio is an interdisciplinary choreographer, director, performer, writer and educator, and Artistic Director of Moving Ground. She is committed to creating new forms of performance work and interdisciplinary collaboration between the fields of dance and theater, among others.

DeNio is a House Artist at CounterPulse, where she has also been a two-time Artist-in-Residence. She has been a lecturer with UC Berkeley’s Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies department; a visiting professor and collaborator in Empathy Lab, a course developed in collaboration with Anthropology professor Lochlann Jain, at Stanford University; an adjunct professor at Marlboro College, Springfield College and others; and was the Executive Director of Earthdance from 2009-2013. http://www.kristadenio.com/.

About James Graham

James Graham is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He presents his choreographic work through his company James Graham Dance Theatre, while also curating the work of others, namely in Dance Lovers, his annual Valentine’s show of duets. Graham is currently on faculty at UC Berkeley, the Dominican University/LINES Ballet B.F.A. Program, and at the SF Conservatory of Dance where he teaches GAGA People classes. Graham was chosen by Ohad Naharin (Batsheva Dance Company) to be a Certified Gaga Instructor and to take part in his pilot training program of international Gaga teachers. He has taught extensively on the West Coast, the Midwest, as well as Canada, South Korea, and Israel.Graham received an M.F.A. from The Ohio State University in 2010, and a B.A. from UC Berkeley in 2005 where he Majored in Theater and Minored in Dance. www.jamesgrahamdancetheatre.com