Expansive 'Berkeley Dance Project' marks 50th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s dance program

January 21, 2019

UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies presents Berkeley Dance Project 2019: the body remembers, featuring original works by choreographers Joe Goode, Cherie Hill, Rulan Tangen, Latanya Tigner, and UC Berkeley student Katie O’Connor. Berkeley Dance Project (BDP) opens Thursday, Feb. 21 and continues through Saturday, March 2 in Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $13–20 and can be purchased online through the TDPS Box Office or at the door.

From a “haunting” solo to a multi-dancer “mosaic,” the dance pieces in BDP 2019 represent a wide range of sources and styles: Goode incorporates spoken word and song into a piece based on the buddhist concept of “the undefended heart;” Tangen presents an organic creative response to a “re-mapping” and “re-storying” of campus based on Ohlone histories and perspectives; Tigner honors researcher, instructor and choreographer Ruth Beckford, recognized as the mother of African diasporic dance in the Bay Area; and Hill draws from supernatural elements of her Jamaican Maroon ancestry.

Goode, who is also directing BDP 2019, notes a uniting principle in the choreographers’ work despite wide-ranging styles: “A kind of serendipity happened where each of us were keen to instill in our casts the idea that a dance is about more than just the dancing—that a dance can be value based, can teach the world something, and maybe even bring the audience into some insight about their own interior landscape.”

Marking 50 years since the founding of the dance program at UC Berkeley, BDP 2019 will be accompanied by a photographic retrospective exhibition in the lobby of Zellerbach Playhouse and a brief residency by dance program co-founder and professor emerita Marni Thomas Wood. Wood will participate in a panel discussion about the history of the dance program on Feb. 21 from 4–5 p.m. in 44B Dwinelle Hall. On Friday, Feb. 22, Wood will lead dance classes for current students and alumni in Bancroft Dance Studio.

About the Choreographers

Joe Goodeis a choreographer, writer, and director widely known as an innovator in the field of dance for his willingness to collide movement with spoken word, song, and visual imagery. He is the founder and artistic director of the Joe Goode Performance Group, and a faculty member in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.

Cherie Hillholds a BA in Dance and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley where she was a McNair and Haas Scholar and recipient of the Eisner Award for Dance, an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder, and graduate certificates in Somatics and Women and Gender Studies. She is the Director of IrieDance, a dance teaching artist, communications manager, and chief of staff at Luna Dance Institute, and a former research assistant for hip-hop dance legend Rennie Harris.

Rulan Tangen is an internationally accomplished dance artist, choreographer, and director with over three decades of experience in multiple movement genres, recently acknowledged with the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist fellowship for work that embodies ideals of service, justice, freedom, courage, and gratitude. She is the Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer of DANCING EARTH, which has toured to 18 states and 8 countries, making opportunities for global Indigenous peoples to co-create contemporary dance theater that is rooted in cultural cosmologies.

Latanya D. Tignerperforms professionally with Dimensions Dance Theater, traveling nationally and internationally. She studies various African diasporic dance forms in addition to contemporary and jazz. Tigner coordinates Dimensions’ Rites of Passage program for youth, directs Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble, serves as co-artistic director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, teaches dance at UC Berkeley, and is an Artist in Residence at Mills College. She holds a BA in PE/dance and an MA in arts administration.

Production Details

Berkeley Dance Project features choreography by Joe Goode, Cherie Hill, Rulan Tangen, Latanya Tigner, and Katie O’Connor; costume design by Wendy Sparks; and lighting design by Jack Carpenter. The cast includes: Madeline Aragon, Elizabeth Bobrovnikov, Jeremy Brooks, Rowan Cassius, David Cha, Joyce Chan, Dayah Colbert, Brandon Davis, Jeze Fabijanic, Bruna Gill, Olivia Hanson, Yara Kanaaneh, Kyra Katagi, Sadie Kimball, Jennifer Laybourn, Mi Le, Victoria Marsh, Aldair Rivera, Elizabeth Rivera, and Erin Sezgin.

Berkeley Dance Project: The Body Remembers (2019) | Poster by Leila Singleton