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LARISSA VELEZ-JACKSON - PROTECTING COMPLEXITY WITH THE STAR PÛ METHOD Announced At The Chocolate Factory Theater

The Star Pû Method is a dance-theater technique and a corresponding theater work created by Larissa Velez-Jackson in 2012.

LARISSA VELEZ-JACKSON - PROTECTING COMPLEXITY WITH THE STAR PÛ METHOD Announced At The Chocolate Factory Theater

The Chocolate Factory Theater presents the world premiere of Protecting Complexity with the Star Pû Method, a new evening-length performance by Larissa Velez-Jackson. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance at (866) 811-4111 or www.chocolatefactorytheater.org.

The Star Pû Method is a dance-theater technique and a corresponding theater work created by Larissa Velez-Jackson in 2012, originally known as the Star Crap Method. It is a technique in which a small ensemble of dancers improvises a work together-replete with song, text, movement, sculptural elements and digital sound-by peeling away all of the layers of the moment of performance. These layers consist of the dancers' felt experience, emotional landscape, hxstory (personal and including their formal training) and what can be experienced in the room together with the audience. Per the title, an important factor in the Star Pû Method is the allowance of failure, anti-climax and human ordinariness as the foreground for creative expression, on equal ground with the dancer's exceptional skill and formal acumen.

Protecting Complexity with the Star Pû Method reveals the multiplicity of the cast members' approaches to movement, their own embodiment and the task of performance. With healing as a core facet through movement, breath, communal connection and vocal sound, Velez-Jackson asks whether the performance encounter provides a space that makes healing actually possible. With an openness to the lessons accrued by failure, the Star Pû Method makes any attempt at healing and connection a form of blessing.

"In early 2019 during the first year of creating this work, I received a cancer diagnosis, and since then I have embarked on a commitment to deep healing work on a physical and consciousness level with an unparalleled urgency. It has been very strange to create alongside my collaborators in my varied states of disability. Where is our meeting place? I begin to ask, what are we all healing from? How do all our stories matter in this very moment? What wisdom do we impart to our neighbors when we have different privileges? My cancer doesn't make me any more important than you in this moment, nor does my disability or your hyper-ability? Can I accept help from you? I am interested in how these questions de-politicize our narrative, perhaps to even further break open personal narratives altogether, to access a potent felt awareness of the moment as tender-hearted humans, radically empathizing with one another. Angie Pittman and Mary Read are super stars at relational empathy!"

"The Star Pû Method provides the tools for us to pierce a certain facade and overflow with whatever language needs to be expressed. While we may chant, arrange objects and talk it out, I am curious in Dance's role in all of this. I am always searching to illuminate what is the potent power of Dance that further makes clear something about our human nature. Our performance ritual, grounded in movement and awareness of the body, reveals the inherent healing aspect of the live improvisatory state while also amplifying it. This is the offering of the work on "Complexity" in our traumatic times. This is my offering as a maker who also is dealing with something as highly traumatic as cancer diagnosis and treatment, whose journey back to health has required a deep listening and love of my wounded self. This work is now also born from our collective trauma of the Covid pandemic, simply because this work is about what we are carrying with us in the room at this very moment. We will be masked for my safety. We all (hopefully) make such sacrifices for each other all the time."
Choreographer/Artistic Director: Larissa Velez-Jackson. Dance collaborators: Mary Read and Angie Pittman. Lighting designer: Madeline Best. Costume stylist: Marie Rao. Production Manager: LD DeArmon.

In addition to the live in-person performances, Protecting Complexity with the Star Pû Method will be livestreamed on Thursday, June 23rd and Friday, June 24th.

Protecting Complexity with the Star Pû Method is commissioned and presented by The Chocolate Factory Theater. Supported by Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts' Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence Program, a Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Production Stipend and a NYSCA Individual Artist Commission. Also supported by Dance/NYC's DISABILITY. DANCE. ARTISTRY. RESIDENCY Program, made possible by the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund, and The Shelly & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Larissa Velez-Jackson (LVJ) (she/her) is a choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, performer and teacher who uses improvisation as a main tool for research and creation. Called "an adroit physical comedian" who "seems to be questioning entrenched conventions of contemporary performance" by The New York Times, she creates works that grant audiences an accessible entry into contemporary art's critical and political discourse. LVJ was named a Caroline Hearst Choreographic Fellow at Princeton University 2021-2022. In 2011, she launched an experimental song-and-dance collaboration with her husband, Jon Velez-Jackson, called Yackez, "The World's Most Loveable Musical Duo." Yackez presented their two-act world premiere at New York Live Arts in March 2017, entitled "Give It To You Stage," a year after LVJ received the prestigious Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grant to Artists Award. In 2016, LVJ was also nominated for "Outstanding Emerging Choreographer" by the New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" awards. She is the Artistic Director of her project-based company, LVJ Performance Co. A Boricua-American originally from Newark, New Jersey, and a recent cancer survivor, LVJ is committed to the healing and transformative potential of art and integrated body/mind practice.



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