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UC Berkeley Presents BERKELEY DANCE PROJECT, 4/17

UC Berkeley Presents BERKELEY DANCE PROJECT, 4/17

With both people and places, sometimes the further away we are, the closer we feel. "Intimate Distance" is the theme of this year's Berkeley Dance Project, an evening of choreography that will explore the relationship of distance and intimacy. The final production of UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies's Mainstage season runs April 17-26in Zellerbach Playhouse. Directed by Professor Lisa Wymore, it features new works by Jack Gray (visiting from New Zealand), Katie Faulkner (working here in Berkeley), and Ashley Ferro-Murray (choreographing from New York).

"I created this theme to instigate new ways of imagining dance on the stage - asking the choreographers to both compress and expand their choreography in the same piece," says BDP Director and Professor Lisa Wymore. "I am so excited for these three new works to come forth with the assistance and collaboration of the design and production teams here at TDPS. My hope is that the works will evoke memories and stories, challenge how we understand knowing others, and expand time and space on the stage."

In T?rangawaewae, Guest Choreographer Jack Gray, founder of New Zealand's Atamira Dance Company, explores how we individually and collectively connect to a sense of belonging to the land. The title of the piece is a Maori word that translates as "standing place," and it refers to belonging through residence, kinship and genealogy. The work, which he is co-devising with a group of students and members of the Bay Area indigenous community, "seeks to dedicate a process of interaction with the different levels of politicized, spiritual, cultural and human land holders/guardians," says Gray. "It is specific to Berkeley and will acknowledge the relationships - both fraught and inspired - and monitor how creativity can be used as a means of planting ourselves in the earth - literally and metaphorically. Above all it is about a sharing of life force and breath and addressing the challenges of finding close intimate distance with each other."

Bay Area-based choreographer Katie Faulkner is co-devising a piece with eight students about traveling on a long and unpredictable road that seems to have no end. "The imagery centers around attempts to arrive at some knowable "horizon" in your own psyche, the notion that there exists within and among us a "vanishing point" of unknowable distance." The mirror-like choreography evokes a dreamy, Rorschach print effect. This is Faulkner's third time choreographing for Berkeley Dance Project. She says, "Creating the work is its own journey. The dancers always surprise me with their insights, their contributions, and their humor. They are unfailingly smart, creative, and generous."

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