Intercontinental Collaborations #7
Intercontinental Collaborations #7
Three works created/curated by award-winning choreographer Jess Curtis, dancing at the intersections of place, sensory diversity, digital culture, gender, disability and sexuality.
Mobilised or frozen... alone at home in front of our screens do we transcend or are we trapped in our bodies? Created using a remote process with electronic media and social networking connecting San Francisco, Cork, Ireland and Berlin, Jess Curtis applies his familiar post-modern choreographic style influenced by a Berlin/San Francisco aesthetic to create this duet that Plays with the ups and downs of our bodies within our evolving digital culture. Does digital and social media enhance and democratize mobility or enforce immobilisation.
Engaging with the paradox of the apparent intimacy and vulnerability of self exposure and the female body in performance Rachael Dichter queries the intersubjective relationship between subject and object; audience and performer, mining the always engendered economies of exchange facilitated. Living in the interplay between fake and real, of performed intimacy or vulnerability, and the continual slide between authenticity and representation, the work relentlessly asks, Do you see me? Do you see me now? Can I get closer?
Working with both blind and sighted performers, Sight Unseen destabilizes the vision-centric nature of performance, embedding access accommodations such as audio description and haptic interactions into the work itself, exploring the the aesthetics of sensory diversity and access practices in cross-cultural dialog. Sight Unseen deepens Curtis’ innovative exploration of the aesthetics of access practices such as Audio Description and Sign Language Interpretation as sources of both formal innovation and cross-cultural dialog.
Jess Curtis (Gravity Artistic Director) is an award-winning choreographer and performer committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis has created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S. and Europe with seminal group Contraband, the radical performance collective CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, based in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography and the Homer Avila Award for innovation in physically inclusive dance. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. www.jesscurtisgravity.org
Tara Brandel (Artistic Director of Croí Glan Integrated Dance) h just completed a 2 year Dance Residency at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre (including a Retrospective exhibition of 25 years of e choreography). Most recently h was nominated as part of Leonie McDonagh's Elk and Sainty as Best Performance Ensemble at Dublin Fringe '15, performed Gawky and Awkward at the San Francisco International Arts Festival, and been commissioned to choreograph a site specific Integrated Dance quartet at the D-CAF Festival in Cairo '17. He short dance film CAR will screen at the the Contact Dance International Film Festival in Toronto in April, and h is currently touring e new solo dance theatre show Cappaghglass, which looks at the current refugee crisis in Europe and our sense of displacement and belonging.
Linda Fearon (Performer/Collaborator Croí Glan Integrated Dance) has beendancing with Croi Glan since 2016 and dancing with Luminous Soul since 2009. She has performed at the Paralympic Flame Ceremony Belfast, Highlight Paralympic London, Bounce! Festival Belfast, The MAC Belfast, Surmount Parliament Building Belfast and many more. She trained with choreographers including Marc Brew, Caroline Bowditch, Claire Cunningham, Sheena Kelly, Kimberley Harvey and Janice Parker and danced with companies including Candoco Dance, Blue Eyed Soul dance, Maiden Voyage Dance, Echo Echo dance and Pony dance. Linda is a certified Disability Equality Trainer and currently vice-chairperson for The Arts and Disability Forum, Belfast.
Gabriel Christian (Performer for Sight Unseen) [pronouns: they/them] is a multidisciplinary artist/teacher thankful for this space to be visible. After receiving a BA in Theatre Studies from Yale in 2013, their work pivoted towards reifying queer desire, genderfluidity (or “juicyness”) and black resilience through conceptual art and performance on the West Coast. They've since held residencies at Destiny Arts Center, Finnish Brotherhood Hall, and This Will Take Time (Point Arena), and they've since mounted/supported works at Counterpulse, SOMArts, CTRL+SHIFT Gallery, Brava Theater, Eureka Theater, and Stanford University. Upcoming projects include an excavation of ancestral memory with choreographer Randy Reyes as part of Counterpulse's Performing Diaspora residency in December and a showing for CIIS's Performance as Resistance in February. Their durational project Black Presence/Residue/Prescience can be found at blackpresence.xyz
Rachael Dichter (Performer as solo artist and for Sight Unseen) is a Berlin+San Francisco based dancer, performer, choreographer and curator. She studied dance and art history at Mills College and was a 2015 Danceweb Scholar. Her work has shown at Dock 11 Berlin, Ponderosa Tanzland Berlin, Paf St Erme, Joe Goode Annex San Francisco, On the Boards Seattle, Northwest New Works Portland, and she has been lucky to collaborate with a number of fierce and talented folks including Laura Arrington, Mica Sigourney, Ruairi Donovan, Allie Hankins, Sara Kraft, Abby Crain, Jesse Hewit, Marten Spangberg, Keith Hennessy and Jess Curtis, and for four years she co-curated the San Francisco based live arts festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
Matthias Herrmann (Composer for Sight Unseen) studied cello with Rudolf Mandalka at the Robert Schumann Hochschule, Düsseldorf, and is a graduate sound engineer. He has created numerous scores for the productions of international dance theater companies including Do Theater (St. Petersburg), Fabrik Company (Potsdam), Howard Katz (Berlin/New York), Claire Cunningham (Glasgow), Jess Curtis/Gravity (San Francisco/Berlin). He also created soundscapes for video-installations, music for short film and documentaries. He was working as a composer and musical director for Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Deutsches Theater Berlin, National Theatre of Scotland and others. In 2008 he was prized with the Isadora Duncan Award for the best soundtrack for 'Under the Radar' for Jess Curtis/Gravity. In June 2014 his opera 'Didi und Stulle' premiered at Neukoellner Oper Berlin.
Céline Alywn Parker (Performer for Sight Unseen) A native of San Francisco, Céline Alwyn-Parker has been performing, teaching, and creating professionally both nationally and internationally for 10+ years. She has performed and toured with Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion and on Broadway in the musical Bombay Dreams and worked with several local and international contemporary choreographers including Kimi Okada, Jo Kreiter, Christy Funsch, Katie Faulkner, Amelia Rudolph, Rachael Lincoln, Garry Stewart, Rui Horta, & Ben Duke. In 2008, she completed with distinction a Master of Arts in Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School and in 2011, received an Isadora Duncan Award for her role as a dancer in Terra Incognita: Revisited.
Sherwood Chen (Performer for Sight Unseen) As a performer, Sherwood Chen has worked with artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, Amara Tabor-Smith, Min Tanaka, Dohee Lee, l’agence touriste, Marina Abramovic, Sara Shelton Mann, inkBoat and Grisha Coleman. He leads workshops for dancers and performers internationally, and for over twenty years has contributed to Body Weather movement research initiated by Tanaka and his contemporaries.
Tiffany Taylor (Performer for Sight Unseen) is a queer and self-identified disabled performance artist working to bring greater accessibility to the performing arts and challenging society’s perceptions of those with disabilities. She has worked with numerous disability awareness groups and She advises on the creation and implementation of audio description, touch tours, captions, sign language interpretation, wheelchair access and attention to a wide range of access considerations, which is not only necessary to make performance accessible to people with disabilities, but also beneficial for everyone involved. As a blind performer, she hopes to challenge questions of perception, identity, possibility and the creative process. She holds a BA in Theatre from Adrian College-Adrian Michigan and has studied Shakespeare at the University of Oxford. She has performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of the Adrian College Choir and has competed as a National Association of Teachers of Singing vocalist as well as an actor as an Irene Ryan Scholarship nominee at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her passions are performance and disability and the intersections of these worlds. She has experience in acting, musical theatre vocal performance and contact improvisation dance.
Jess Curtis/Gravity and Intercontinental Collaborations #7 are supported by: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Impact Grant Program; San Francisco Art Commission’s Cultural Equity Initiative Level One Grant and Organization Project Grants; California Arts Council, a state agency, learn more at www.arts.ca.gov; San Francisco Grants for the Arts; The Joe Goode Annex; The Zellerbach Family Foundation with additional support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Culture Ireland; and generous individuals like you