Myriam Gourfink and Kasper Toeplitz Perform ABOIS at San Francisco International Arts Festival This Weekend

The San Francisco International Arts Festival welcomes Myriam Gourfink and Kasper Toeplitz to the Bay Area for the debut of loldanse -- Gourfink's company and the premiere of their collaborative performance piece Abois.

The piece combines Ms. Gorufink's training as a contemporary choreographer with her study of Tibetan yoga. She is accompanies by Mr. Toeplitz who composes music that combines elements of electronic noise with digitized soundscapes.

Within the context of the piece, Abois refers to:

  • The animalistic quality of the human being: literally it could mean a dog barking into the unknown.
  • It also means to be "at bay" and is seen as a way to consider the world, and to face the world alone: in the piece there are two separate spaces: one for the dancer, the other one for the musician; there are two cries. It is as if the two separate elements both experience loneliness.
  • "Un abois farouche" which means a fierce bark (farouche: not tame or wild).
  • "Un abois farouche" can also refer to Beaudelaire: the romantic vision of being alone, here in the piece the desire for each of us to place oneself alone to face the audience.

Wearing spotted gray leopard boots and matching top, Myriam follows the rhythm of her own breath as she develops a very organic set of gestures. The dancer moves in a fascinating, extremely meticulous manner, organizing her points of contact with infinite precision. In her movement she pushes off in equal measure from her knees, elbows, toes, shoulders, and buttocks. The continuous movement transforms, barely noticeably, as the musician churns out pulsating sounds of grating air and drones that start to sound like a ringing in your ears. We end up with the impression of seeing the dancer's body in slow motion free-fall.

Both artists will lead workshops as part of the engagement on Saturday August 23 at 3:00pm. Ms. Gourfink will lead a workshop on the breathing techniques in energy yoga (western yoga in the Tibetan Tilopa-Naropa-Marpa tradition) and the private research carried out by her teacher Gianna Dupont. Mr. Toeplitz will teach a composition course in electronic music that takes as its starting point the use of noise, similar to the (white) canvas of a painter or rather to the block of stone of a sculptor.

SFIAF director, Andrew Wood said of the engagement, "This project might not be as populist as some of our previous French productions such as Circus Baobab (2007) or even AKYS Project (2010), but we think there is definitely an audience for the performances and students for the residency activities."

"The Bay Area is one of the leading centers in the United States for artists experimenting with white noise and combining noise with computer generated sounds, and San Francisco and Oakland are also listed by Forbes Magazine as the top cities for yoga in the US. We joke that our stereotypical audience couple is comprised of a modern dancer that subscribes to who has a computer hacker partner that tunes into San Francisco's"


Where: NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
When: Friday-Saturday August 22-23, 8:00pm
Tickets: FREE (donations welcome)
Workshops: Saturday August 23, 3:00pm
Tibetan Yoga Breathing
Noise as Input
Reservations & Information: or 415-399-9554

About Myriam Gourfink - The respiratory techniques of yoga are at the source of Myriam Gourfink's endeavors. The idea is to seek after the inner urge that leads to movement. Guided by breath, the organization of bases of support is extremely exact, while the consciousness of space is shaky. The dance becomes slow, tedious within continuous time. This knowledge of movement and space makes possible the conception of choreographies without studio rehearsal. Thanks to what it suggests of a dance situation, there is no need to move in order to feel dance: the senses and the intellect reconstitute it.

Similar to musicians, she uses a symbolic writing system to compose the geometrical universe and poetic evolution of dance. Having studied Labanotation with Jacqueline Challet Haas, she undertook a quest, using this system as a point of departure, for the formalizing of her own compositional language. Each choreography encourages the performer to be conscious of his acts and of whatever passes through him. The scores activate his participation: he makes choices, carries out operations, confronts the unexpected within the written text, to which he responds instantly.

For certain projects, the scores include computer programs for the scrambling and real-time re-generation of the pre-written composition: the program runs the score in its entirety and generates millions of possible compositional sequences. The performer, via captor systems, guides the process of modification of the choreographic score, which they read on LCD screens. The computer setup is thus at the core of the space-time relationship. As the piece proceeds, it makes possible the structuring of as yet untried contexts.

A leading figure in choreographic research in France, but also the guest of numerous international festivals (springdance in New York City, the Künsten Arts festival in Brussels, the Festival de la Bâtie in Geneva, the Danças Na Cidade festival in Lisbon etc.), Myriam Gourfink was artist in residence at the IRCAM in 2004-2005 and at the national Fresnoy-studio for contemporary arts in 2005-2006, Myriam Gourfink has been the director of the Center for Choreographic Research and Composition (CRCC) at the Royaumont Foundation since January 2008.

About K. T. Toeplitz - Kasper T. Toeplitz is a composer, electric bass player, laptop performer and musician who has developed his work in the no man's land between "academic" composition (orchestra, ensembles, opera) and electronic "new music" or "noise music".

Kasper has won several prizes and distinctions: first prize for orchestral composition at the Besançon Festival, first prize at the "Opéra autrement / centre Acanthes" competition, Villa Médicis Hors les Murs (New York), grant Leonardo da Vinci (San Francisco), Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto), DAAD (Berlin), Hors les murs (Poland). He has also received numerous commissions from the French Governement, the radio and from electronic studios such as Ircam, GRM , GMEM, CRFMW, EMS, GRAME..He works with experimental or unclassifiable musicians such as Zbigniew Karkowski, Tetsuo Furudate, Dror Feiler, Art Zoyd, Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock, Ulrich Krieger, Stevie Wishart, Z'ev, among others.

KTT writes music which is played either by himself, by other soloists or ensembles or creating his own units. For several years he collaborated with contemporary dance artists as a composer and on-stage accompanist.

Some of his long-term groups or projects are LE DEPEUPLEUR (with Zbigniew Karkowski), INERT/E (with Lars Akerlund), KERNEL (a trio of computer players), SLEAZE ART (an orchestra of electric guitars and basses whose current incarnation is a "bass unit"). Has definitively integrated the computer into the very heart of his work, as a tool of thought and composition, and as a live instrument, hybridising more traditional instruments, or working on the sheer electronic noise.

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