UC Berkeley presents “Berkeley Dance Project 2018”, using movement and multimedia to explore human physical and psychological journeys, February 15-24, 2018 

Berkeley, CA – January 2018 – UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) presents Berkeley Dance Project 2018 (BDP) this February, featuring works by professional Bay Area choreographers Katie Faulkner and James Graham, as well as by TDPS student choreographers Madeline Aragon and Hillary Tang, performed by student dancers. Faulkner uses projection mapping (images displayed onto dancers’ bodies) to explore the experiences of an all-female cast related to the physical stages of womanhood, while Graham’s new work questions our experiences with gender, sexuality, and identity – how we see ourselves, and how we are seen in the world.

Berkeley Dance Project 2018 opens Thursday, February 15, 2018 and continues through Saturday, February 24, 2018 in the Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus. (Please note that BDP has historically taken place in April, but will instead be presented in February.) Tickets are $13 – $20 and can be purchased online through the TDPS Box Office at http://tdps.berkeley.edu/events/berkeley-dance-project-2018/ or at the door.

Katie Faulkner, TDPS Lecturer and award-winning founder of little seismic dance company, has created a multimedia piece for Berkeley Dance Project 2018 that examines the physical changes that women undergo as they progress through puberty, childbearing, aging, and illness, with a specific focus on the power that women possess in their ability to reproduce. On the heels of a year of female action and activism (2017’s Women’s March on Washington, and the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements), Faulkner’s piece, performed by an all-female cast, gives voice to the physical experience of being a woman in the world, and is aligned with the thousands of women worldwide who are creating transformative social change, specifically in regard to their own bodies. Katie explains, “There’s an anxiety and an urgency that comes from the tension between this glorious, magical ability that a woman has to recreate other human beings, and the enveloping, patriarchal, politicized context that is trying so hard to strip women of their abilities to make their own determinations about this act. It’s personal, sensuous, and very erotic in some ways – but also quite angry.”

Berkeley Dance Project 2018 also features the work of choreographer and TDPS alumnus James Graham, artistic director of the San Francisco-based James Graham Dance Theatre. Through ritual, play, and improvisation, Graham’s piece deepens his ongoing examination of gender identity, self-understanding, and how we present ourselves to others. Through the lens of these young dancers, he explores the balance of tenderness and power within relationships, set in the context of a changing culture. James questions, “In comparison to when I was a student, how do these diverse young people experience their comfort level in their own gender identity and sexuality? It’s inspiring to delve into their stories.”

Original student choreography is also featured in Berkeley Dance Project 2018. Works by TDPS students Madeline Aragon and Hillary Tang will be restaged on a larger scale, after premiering in December as part of TDPS’s Fall Choreography Showcase. Aragon’s duet, A Different Language, conveys the challenge of clear communication between two people, and the resulting impact on relationships between friends, lovers, or family members. The solo that Hillary Tang choreographed, Peel, exposes her personal process of acknowledging a toxic relationship, removing herself from the abuse, and ultimately finding internal peace and clarity.   

Production Details

Berkeley Dance Project opens Thursday, February 15, 2018 and continues through Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturdayat 8pm. Tickets for students, seniors, and 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-2018/ or at the door.

Berkeley Dance Project features choreography by Katie Faulkner, James Graham, Madeline Aragon and Hillary Tang; costume design by Wendy Sparks-Rehl; and lighting design by Jack Carpenter. The cast includes: Madeline Aragon, Louisa Belian, Michael Curtis, Saabirah Faatimah, Bruna Gill, Andrew Hindrickson, Rosalind Hsu, Stella Ji, Kyra Katagi, Mi Le, Katie O’Conner, Melissa Sherman-Bennett, Hillary Tang, and Victoria Marie Yeh.

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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 Katie Faulkner
Katie Faulkner is a dancer, choreographer, teaching artist, and founder of little seismic dance company. Since receiving her MFA in Dance from Mills College in 2002, she has performed the works of Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Randee Paufve, Victoria Marks, Susan Rethorst, Alex Ketley and Ann Carlson. She has worked with several of these choreographers as a dancer with AXIS Dance Company, with whom she performed both locally and nationally from 2003-2007. She has been an active educator around the country and is currently on faculty at the University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and ODC.

Since founding little seismic, Faulkner has received support in the form of numerous commissions, residencies, and awards. She was an artist-in-residence at ODC Theater from 2009-2011 and has also been in residence at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, the Rauschenberg Residency, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. She has received several Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and nominations, the top prize for her work in the Joyce Theater A.W.A.R.D. Show!/San Francisco competition, and the SF Bay Guardian GOLDIE Award for dance. In 2015, she received her certification in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis from the Integrated Movement Studies program. She was recently invited to be a 2017-2018 Truth Fellow with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

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 holds an M.F.A. in Dance from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. He is currently a company member of the Joe Goode Performance Group and Lisa Wymore & Sheldon Smith’s / Disappearing Acts.

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For Calendar Editors

New works by Bay Area choreographers Katie Faulkner, James Graham, and students Madeline Aragon and Hillary Tang
February 15-24, 2018
UC Berkeley Dept. of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA
Performances: Thurs-Sat 8 PM
Pricing: Prices range from $13-20.
Tickets: Visit tdps.berkeley.edu for more information and to purchase tickets.