Z Space and Epiphany Dance Theater Present World Premiere Dec. 4-8
Z Space and Epiphany Dance Theater announce the world premiere of ROCK & MORTAR, an immersive, multidisciplinary event featuring an all-women cast in stories at the intersection of gender, ancestry, religion and politics. Rock & Mortar runs at Z Space for nine performances, two each night, December 4 - 7, Wednesday to Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and one on Sunday the 8th at 4 p.m. Tickets at $30 will go on sale next month at zspace.org or by phone at 415-626-0453.
Inspired by a visit to her family's ancestral home in the Abruzzo region of Italy, Epiphany Founder and Artistic Director Kim Epifano developed Rock & Mortarover a two-year period. "I come from a long line of builders," said Epifano, "people whose principal materials were rock and lime and cement. The strength of their creations are everywhere to be seen in Italy's ancient villages, which have literally stood the test of time. As an artist, I see myself as a builder of another kind, supporting community through the creation of live performance. Rock & Mortar takes the idea of the ancestral village as a site for artistic excavation, a walled space that serves simultaneously to protect and isolate, with all of the emotions this doubleness entails."
Through a series of intimate vignettes for audiences of no more than 80 people per performance, Rock & Mortar explores the links between people and place, asking where have we come from, and how must we heal to evolve?
Joining Epifano is a team of 10 performers from a variety of artistic and cultural backgrounds. "What they share is a commitment to sociopolitical and spiritual inquiry," said Epifano. Together, using movement, video, song and story, they will lead audiences on a path in and around Z Space, a nonprofit theater and arts complex with its own ancestry - as a commercial cannery. Rock & Mortar's ensemble includes Heather Arnett, Allegra Bautista, Nuria Bowart, Bianca Cabrera, Shaghayegh Cyrous, Jhia Jackson, Zoë Klein, Jenny McAllister, Lucrezia Palandri and Kaylamay Paz Suarez.
Arnett, who founded Cat Call Choir in 2016, will serve both as a performer and choral director in Rock & Mortar. An accomplished dancer and vocalist, her recent credits include collaborations with Ka·nei·see | collective and Kristin Damrow & Company. Bautista, a classically trained dancer and guitarist, has performed with Garrett + Moulton Productions, Amy Seiwert's Imagery and RAWdance. Bowart is a contemporary dancer and capoeirista who approaches movement as both an artistic and therapeutic modality. In the Bay Area, she's performed with Capacitor, Campo Santo, Corposonic, MoToR, Scott Wells & Dancers, and Epiphany Dance Theater.
Cabrera is a queer Latinx performance artist, and the Artistic Director of Blind Tiger Society. In the Bay Area, she's recently performed two seasons with Flyaway Productions. Cyrous is a multidisciplinary artist and curator from Iran. Working in video installation and a variety of social practice investigations, she has completed a mural in San Francisco's Clarion Alley, curated an exhibition of Iranian urban art in London, and exhibited her works in galleries from Chicago to Mexico City.
Jackson is a dancer and also a student in the doctoral program in medical sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. Among her areas of research are end-of-life and palliative care. In the Bay Area, she's danced for Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, Annie Kahane and Antoine Hunter. Klein is a Colombian-born acrobatic dancer, visual artist and lighting designer. With David Paris and Paradizo Dance, she toured to 28 countries on six continents and made it to the finals on America's Got Talent. In the Bay Area, she's performed with Kim Epifano, Ramon Alayo and Amara Tabor Smith.
McAllister, who serves double duty as a performer and Rock & Mortar's dramaturg, is the artistic director of 13th Floor, a physical theater company "that moves as deftly as it delivers dialogue" (San Francisco Chronicle). She completed her early training with A.C.T., the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, as well as with teachers Scott Wells, Joe Goode and Lizz Roman. Palandri is a dance artist and legal scholar from Florence, Italy. She studies questions of comparative law and urbanism. As a performer, she's worked with Marina Abramović, Simone Forti and Marina Giovannini, among many others.
Suarez is a first-generation Filipinx theater and dance artist, as well as a youth educator. In the last year, she's earned credits with Ragged Wing Ensemble and Awesome Theatre. Finally, Epifano is an award-winning choreographer, director, performer, vocalist and educator, acclaimed for her interdisciplinary, site-specific works. Following a career with two of San Francisco's most influential dance companies, Dance Brigade and Contraband, she founded Epiphany Dance Theater in 1997.
Additional collaborators on Rock & Mortar include sound designer Uriah Findley, lighting designer Beth Hersh and costume designer Maria Chenut.
Rock & Mortar was created with support from The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Grants for the Arts, Hewlett Foundation, the Bo