SAFEhouse Arts, here we come!

Thanks to Joe Landini and all the amazing folks at SAFEhouse Arts, we will create Gold during my residency there this fall. My residency that begins on September 8th. In other words, rehearsals for Gold, the third section of Cracking Open, are finally about to start. I am so excited! It will be such fun to PLAY again. We’ll take advantage of the lovely upstairs performance studio at SAFEhouse, as well as the downstairs studio that has the ability to go totally and completely dark during the day.

I can’t wait to be back in rehearsal with Mia, Amy, and Kati. We’re going to work with greek mythology and ideas about desire, striving, failing, and falling. Plus gold. Lots of gold–lighting, and apples, and wings, and wealth, and more. (Think Atalanta, Icarus, and Midas.) I’m playing with ideas about the Moirai, the three greek fates controlling the thread of life, and, of course, the classic maiden/mother/crone (Persephone/Demeter/Hecate). Three is a good number.

This past week has been super busy. On Monday, I met with Eric Kupers to talk through my musical plans (he’s taking my reinvented lyrics for “The Distance” by Cake and transforming that into a quirky pseudo-cover that really deviates from the original song). I also had a blast at the SAFEhouse Community day yesterday, running into old friends and making new connections with my fellow lead artists. And, of course, this morning I gutted a broken umbrella and turned it into a golden tree. I’ve also got gorgeous golden wings ready to go. I just need to track down or create some durable golden apples before next Friday…

…stay tuned for future updates, and information about our performances of Gold at SAFEhouse Arts on November 29th and 30th!

June 18th Performances!

: You, and all of us…me, Chris Gallegos, Mia Holtan, Amy LaFaille, Savanna McGrew, Belgica Rodriguez, Kati Pienimäki Schenker, Eric Kupers, Keith Penney and more…
What: A work-in-progress showing of our ficropped-dsc00969.jpgrst two sections of Cracking Open.
Where: PE 140, California State University East Bay, Hayward, CA
When: June 18th at 7:00 PM, and again on June 18th at 8:00 PM.
How much: FREE! Everyone is welcome.

This work-in-progress performance features the first two sections of Cracking Open, which will have a total of five sections when it is completed. Cracking Open is a full-length dance theater performance piece slated to premiere in the early summer of 2018 at the Temescal Art Center.

Cracking Open is created collaboratively. I choreograph and direct, but I always draw from movement devised by the dancers for their bodies. My dancers choose me–I forego auditions in favor of working with anybody that genuinely wants to dance with me, is excited about the work, and shows up to rehearsals. The dancers for this work-in-progress performance of the first two sections of Cracking Open are Chris Gallegos, Mia Holtan, Amy LaFaille, Savanna McGrew, Belgica Rodriguez, and Kati Pienimäki Schenker. Eric Kupers is writing almost all of the music for Cracking Open, and he will perform live with us alongside Keith Penney and other musicians.

This is a piece about experiences that crack us open. We are looking closely at those moments when who we *are* is forever changed. The death of a loved one. Adolescent transformation. The birth of a child. A move across the country. A word used to describe us that transforms us as soon as we hear it. Huge, tiny, happy, sad. What happens when we recognize that we were wearing a shell, and it has cracked open, and we are forced to emerge, raw and exposed? When we have to figure out who we really are? Cracking Open is lit entirely from within by the dancers. Using dramatic shifts in color and tone, we will immerse the audience in an experience that “cracks open” over and over again, to reveal layer after layer of dance, color, language, and music.

Each section of Cracking Open, like a series of nesting dolls, features elements that appear in previous sections, but with a unique color, theme, and feel. While things will seem familiar, they will also constantly be new and emerging. Each section has an associated color of light: Light in the Dark (white light), Red, Gold, Green and Blue. Each color carries an ideological framework, as though when the sections shift we are suddenly viewing the world through a different pane in a stained glass window.

The first two section of Cracking Open, which we will perform for you during this work-in-progress showing, are Light in the Dark and Red.

Light in the Dark was created last fall, and we first shared it in December of 2016 at the Temescal Art Center. It is a direct response to the sudden, traumatic death of my little sister last October. We use nursery rhymes, snippets from Emily Dickinson and the Child Ballads, and my own lyrics to explore loss, loneliness, connection, and transcendence. We are creating our world for this section with lanterns, black umbrellas, a metal bucket of “cootie catchers,” and fairy lights.

Red has been in rehearsal all spring, and this will be our first time sharing it with an audience. In this section, we are experimenting with images of birth and death, with women as trees, with fabric as blood, with adolescent transformation, and with the format of a fairytale as a container for dark metaphors. We are creating our world for this section with red lights, red fabric, wolf masks, and broken umbrellas that have been repurposed to create surreal sculptural elements.

We look forward to sharing this raw, personal work with you, and we will have brief post-performance discussions after both performances so that we can hear your feedback and answer your questions. Thank you for joining us!