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Kennedy Theatre Presents Dance-Theatre Performance INTEGRAL BODIES

Kennedy Theatre Presents Dance-Theatre Performance INTEGRAL BODIES

Kennedy Theatre and the University of Hawai'i at M noa's Department of Theatre and Dance present Integral Bodies on April 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. and April 14, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. as part of the Mainstage series. This innovative dance production promotes inclusive dance-making and challenges stereotypes, prejudices, and assumptions about what a body means. Influenced by postmodern dance and Tanztheater, Integral Bodies is directed by our newest Assistant Professor of Dance, Peiling Kao, in collaboration with DanceAbility artistic director Alito Alessi, a Guggenheim and the American National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient. With dramaturgy by Professor of Theatre, Dr. Markus Wessendorf, this work of contemporary movement presents well-crafted physicality and choreography that embraces all kinds of bodies in performance. Free pre-show chats will take place at 6:45 p.m. preceding the performances on April 6 and 13. April 6 is also the Throwback Saturday performance featuring prices from the good old days of $5-$15. Regularly priced tickets are $8-$25.

Kao first began work on this project in fall of 2017 as a way to begin thinking about how to promote inclusivity in dance by showing that 'dance' is not limited to a certain body type or image. In 2018, she brought DanceAbility's leader and co-founder, Alessi, to UHM to lead a five-day intensive DanceAbility Method Training with faculty members and community teachers. This method uses movement improvisation to help decrease prejudice and misconceptions about disabled people in the field of dance, and by extension, in society. Now in 2019, Kao is directing her first Kennedy Theatre Mainstage show, Integral Bodies. This production is not a presentational showcase of different dance genres, says director Kao, it is a step in the direction of making 'dance' an inclusive space for every body. Integral Bodies is a process-oriented and collaborative project with over thirty performers of mixed abilities including UHM students and community members that allows everyone involved to join in on the decision-making process and contribute to the product. In addition to the performers, Kao has recruited Markus Wessendorf, Alito Alessi, and Gretchen Jude to collaborate on the project. Dr. Wessendorf will serve as production dramaturg, Alessi as a guest choreographer of one section of the production, and Dr. Jude as a composer. Jude's music was recently included in Midnight Traveler, a feature documentary that premiered at the Sundance and Berlinale International Film Festivals.

Integral Bodies aims to deconstruct the traditional images of dance and of the dancer. Kao states, When people think of a conventional dance production, they tend to think about a wide range of dance styles with thin and flexible dancers who can drop into a split or do a double pirouette. She continues, Directors and choreographers tend to neutralize a dancer's body so they can organize or manipulate the body to fit their visions, and I want to break away from that idea so that I can see a human body as an individual. Kao adds, This production brings people of many different races, ethnicities, abilities, sizes, ages, cultures, genders, awareness, and practices together to challenge the stereotype of 'dance'. Kao concludes, This production is by no means a conclusion, but rather a step towards continuing the practice of embracing inclusivity and diversity in dance and in our lives. For me, it is not easy to admit that I hold certain biases, but I believe that it is never too late to be aware of these biases and try to diminish them.

Tickets to Integral Bodies are on sale online at, by phone at (808) 944-2697, and at official outlets. Sales at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office begin on Monday, April 1, 2019. Ticket sales at the Box Office are available Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with extended hours on show days.

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