FRESH 2017 – Artist LIST + BIOS
ALTERNATIVA [Kathleen Hermesdorf + Albert Mathias] | Larry Arrington | Robbie Bears | Chani Bockwinkel | Amelia Uzategui Bonilla | Sherwood Chen | Abby Crain | Jess Curtis | Dance Studies Working Group | Shree Shyam Das | Dia Dear | Rachael Dichter | Hana Erdman | Regina Evans | McKay Garner | Cookie Harrist | Keith Hennessy | Sebastian Hernandez | Jesse Hewit | Xandra Ibarra | LiveHuman | Violeta Luna | Stephanie Maher | Sara Shelton Mann | Milkbar [Mary Armentrout, Chris Evans, Ian Winters] | David Molina | NAKA Dance Theater [José Navarrete x Debby Kajiyama] | Kevin O’Connor | Adria Otte | Chrysa Parkinson | Brontez Purnell | SALTA | Amara Tabor-Smith | The Younger Lovers | Latanya Tigner | Keisha Turner | Vagittarius Rising | Roberto Varea | Sophia Wang | Hannah Wasielewski | Anna Martine Whitehead | Tessa Wills | Ian Winters
ALTERNATIVA, directed by dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf with musician Albert Mathias, is an apparatus for deeply integrated contemporary dance and music via collaboration, creation, improvisation, performance, production, curation and education. Active in San Francisco since 1998, the organization supports the creative work of the directors, known for research, practice and performance pieces that explore human behaviors and conditions, corporeality and other ineffabilities. Activities, including an annual FRESH Festival, workshops in the Bay Area, residencies at universities, festivals and studios worldwide and PORCH/Ponderosa/POSSE in Germany, engage an extensive population of artists, audiences and participants. ALTERNATIVA is fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group and has received support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, CA$H Grant, CHIME/MJDC, San Francisco Arts Commission and The Suitcase Fund. www.la-alternativa.us
Kathleen Hermesdorf is an international dance artist, educator and producer, and the Director of ALTERNATIVA and FRESH Festival in San Francisco. She has been dancing in the Bay Area since 1991 and teaches, performs, improvises, creates, curates and mentors around the world. Hermesdorf was a member of Bebe Miller Company, Contraband/Sara Shelton Mann and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. A collaborator at heart, she co-directed Hermesdorf & Wells Dance Company with Scott Wells and Collusion with Stephanie Maher, a partner in PORCH summer/school at Ponderosa in Germany since 2010. Hermesdorf brings over 20 years of experience from the field, studio and stage to her work and holds a BFA and an MFA in Dance Performance + Pedagogy.
Albert Mathias Audio/video artist, has been performing in San Francisco and abroad since 1991. He is a multi-disciplinary musician who creates live composition and recorded sound design for dance, theater, film, video, and audio medias. He also produces and performs solo music under the name StRiCtLy AlBeRt. Mathias is Music Director of ALTERNATIVA and works independently with choreographers, improvisers, musicians and visual artists. In 2000, he was nominated for an IZZIE Award for Original Sound Score and in 2006, he received a BESSIE Award for Bebe Miller’s Landing/Place. He was also featured in Miller’s Necessary Beauty. Mathias was a member of the multi-disciplinary performance group Contraband from 1995-97, and is the drummer/percussionist for LiveHuman, the internationally acclaimed improvisation-based trio with DJ Quest and Jazz upright bassist Andrew Kushin. Albert attended California Institute for the Arts, training in tabla, voice and accompaniment with masters Amiya Dasgupta, John Bergamo and Leonice Shinneman, and has had the honor of private study with Pandit Swapan Chauduri, Sri Ravi Bellare and Tony Williams. He is currently investing his energies into his mobile solar music studio, creating live sound scores for all types of motion and continues his daily practice, since 1995, as live electronic music accompanist for dance classes. www.albertmathias.com | www.albertmathias.bandcamp.com | www.la-alternativa.us | www.livehuman.net
Laura Larry Arrington is a dance-artist working in hybrids of idea and practice. Her work in dance (time/space/body/whole) pivots around a desire to orient towards the capacities in us all that can glimpse unseen and unutterable horizons. Her body is her life and her life is her work.
Lithuanian Agnė Auželytė is an Aries, a performer and a chef based in Berlin. Her current collaborations include the co-authoring and publishing of the Ponderosa cookbook, running Poodle Bar, a pop-up bar & performance platform, and performing with Vagittarius Rising.
Robbie Beahrs is an ethnomusicologist, sound artist, and filmmaker. His fieldwork in Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and the United States links archival research with multi-sensory ethnography, voice-driven performance practice, filmmaking, and soundscapes. His current research projects explore genealogies of throat-singing in the Altai Mountains, interspecies listening and voicing in Western Mongolia, and vibrational sensing with Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts during long-duration space flight. Robbie has collaborated with performance-makers at FlyTrap Studios (Oakland), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Z-Space (San Francisco), Los Angeles Live Arts, and Dock 11 (Berlin). He holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from U.C. Berkeley. For more information, please visit www.robeahrs.com
Chani Bockwinkel is a performer and filmmaker. She makes imagery for the stage, gallery, and internet of the interdisciplinary/collaborative/feminist persuasion. She is also a founding member of SALTA collective.
Amelia Uzategui Bonilla (Peru/USA) dedicates herself to arts education, performance, and social justice. In 2013, Amelia co-founded Rio Danza Comunitaria, a cultural organization dedicated to promoting human integration and environmental consciousness through the arts, based in Lima, Peru. She is a graduate from The Juilliard School and the Tamalpa Institute and resides in Oakland, CA.
Sherwood Chen performs and leads workshops internationally. He has worked as a performer with artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, Amara Tabor-Smith, inkBoat, Grisha Coleman, Yuko Kaseki, Dohee Lee, Christine Bonansea, Min Tanaka and Sara Shelton Mann. For over twenty years, he has contributed to Body Weather research. www.sherwoodchen.com
Abby Crain is an Oakland, California based artist who makes dances and other structures for performance, most recently in the collaborative creation of the epic feminist, gothic, transformational spectacle aka Snake Talk with Maryanna Lachman and Mara Poliak. She also works in the field as a teacher, performer, writer, and curator. Her solo and collaborative work has been presented in Berlin, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Los Angeles. She teaches annually in FRESH Festival in San Francisco, Drop Your City Armor Retreat in Dos Rios, California, with Jesse Hewit and Sara Shelton Mann, Ponderosa in Stolzenhagen, Germany, and has also taught in New York City through Movement Research. As a performer, Abby has worked extensively with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People (2001-2009), Sara Shelton Mann (1999-2001 and 2010 present), and also with Jesse Hewit, Guillermo Gomez Peña, Jess Curtis Gravity, Kathleen Hermesdorf and David Dorfman Dance. Her writing and interviews have been published by Itch Performance Journal (LA), PAPER FRONT (Portland), Critical Correspondence (NYC), and the Off Center (SF). Her curatorial projects include the NO THANK YOU SHOW, which asked artists to represent or stage work that has been rejected by granting organizations, theaters, collaborators, or the artist herself, the NON MAJOR SHOW, which asked artists to show work was not in their primary medium, as well as being on the curatorial panel of FRESH Festival.
Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performance artist committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis has created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S., Europe with seminal group Contraband, the radical performance collective CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, based in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography. Curtis is active as a writer, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance, and teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance for individuals of all abilities throughout the US and Europe. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. www.jesscurtisgravity.org
The UC Berkeley Dance Studies Working Group (DSWG) was founded in 2008 by a group of graduate students in the Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Department. DSWG exists as a site of inquiry, exploration, and discussion for students, faculty, scholars, practitioners, and community members engaged with dance and movement-based practices. With a focus on process over product, DSWG serves as an incubator to engage with new research and alternate pathways for knowledge production and dissemination, and further support dance practices and research that engage with a wide array of social, political, and cultural issues. http://dswgberkeley.blogspot.com/
Shree Shyam Das’s quest for ultimate fulfillment through sound, words, and spirituality has taken him all over the world, from a commune in Tennessee and a boarding school near the Taj Mahal to the New York offices of Rolling Stone, Vibe, and Guitar World. Shyam (“shee-yahm”) has been a roadie for swordsmen from the Burmese border, a cook for a Miami Beach ashram, a kirtan bassist in South Africa and Australia, a producer of folk-music sessions in China, a drummer for a Polish Hare Krishna reggae band with a French lead singer, a studio musician on a Grammy-nominated album of Sanskrit chants, a musical midwife for childbirth and for the dying, and a composer for theater by William Shakespeare and about Thurgood Marshall. Say hello at adifferenttrip.com
Dia Dear – My performance art combines gay club aesthetics of appearance, movement, and attitude with their opposites. I use trickery, sincerity, and pop culture to create emotionally visceral and visually fascinating images through live performance. I am educated in performance and art practice largely by participating in San Francisco, California’s diverse drag community. I began performing at San Francisco clubs ‘Something’ and ‘High Fantasy’ in 2011. In that year, I produced and performed approximately 100 unique pieces in clubs throughout San Francisco.
Since then, my work has been featured in various festivals and curated shows in the United States and internationally. I have danced for and collaborated with celebrated choreographers and emerging international artists. Most recently, I was a recipient of the Maroc Artist Meeting Residency in collaboration with Marrakech Biennale 6: Not New Now Marrakech, Morocco (2016) and Musik I Syd Future Legends Residency in Malmö Sweden (2015).
Rachael Dichter is a San Francisco based dancer, performer, choreographer and curator. She studied dance and art history at Mills College and was a 2015 Danceweb Scholar. Her work has shown at Dock 11 Berlin, Ponderosa Tanzland Berlin, Joe Goode Annex San Francisco, On the Boards Seattle, and she has been lucky to collaborate with a number of fierce and talented folks including Laura Arrington, Mica Sigourney, Ruairi Donovan, Allie Hankins, Sara Kraft, Abby Crain, Jesse Hewit, Marten Spangberg, Keith Hennessy and Jess Curtis, and for four years she co-curated the San Francisco based live arts festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
Hana Lee Erdman is a dance artist who works with choreography and curatorial practices, approaching performance from both embodied and relational sensibilities. Her work generates a space of public intimacy and sensitivity, proposing the practice of being together as a creative one. She wants to see what and how we can do together in order to create potential for transformative experiences through subtle and subversive shifts of power and exchange. Her work is presented internationally. She has a bachelor’s degree in Art History from UCLA and a masters degree from the University of the Arts Berlin (HZT).
Israeli-American Shelley Etkin works between realms of dance, performance, ecology, queer feminisms, curation, and community organizing. Based between Berlin/Ponderosa and Helsinki, she is currently pursuing her M.A. in Ecology & Contemporary Performance.
Regina Y. Evans, a native of Oakland, Ca, is a Poet/Playwright/Actor, a Modern Day Abolitionist/Survivor Leader in the fight against human trafficking, and an Entrepreneur. Ms. Evans is the Owner of Regina’s Door, a vintage clothing boutique which serves as a safe haven for at-risk youth, survivors of sex trafficking, homeless youth and women, and young creatives. Regina’s Door was honored to be the recipient of the 2015 Oakland Indie Social Change-maker Award and the 2016 District Attorney Nancy O’Malley Hero Award. Ms. Evans’ most current stage play, 52 Letters (Writer, Producer, Director, Performer), a poetic stage play bringing awareness to the issue of sex trafficking in the United States, was honored to win a Best of 2013 San Francisco Fringe Festival Award. Additionally, Ms Evans has performed 52 Letters at many local and regional venues. As a Modern Day Abolitionist, Ms. Evans a member of The S.H.A.D.E. Project (Survivors Healing, Advising and Dedicated to Empowerment), a survivor run consulting/advocacy project, founded by Social Justice Advocate and Survivor Leader Sarai Theolinda Smith-Mazariegos. She is also a member of the Mayor’s CSEC (Commercial Exploitation of Children) Task Force and the C.E.A.S.E. (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation) Network. Ms. Evans is a board member of the non-profit Seek and Save which serves Bay Area at-risk youth (including victims of sex trafficking) by providing mentoring and financial resources, founded by Humanitarian Mark Fisher.
McKay Garner is a relentless explorer of sound and music. To help shape his personal perspective of music, McKay has hacked existing instruments and musical interfaces to make new ways of creating or controlling sound through countless trips to the hardware store. His live shows often include warping traditional ways of playing drums, keyboard, and wind instruments, as well as using his own custom-built hardware or software instruments to create or manipulate notes, effects, and more. Some audience favorites are the drumbot, The Wheel, and soon will surely be the Sousafauxn! McKay studied music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and plays several instruments. He is a veteran recording and mixing engineer, producer, composer, and sound designer. McKay often combines field recordings, found sounds, and his own personal acoustic recordings with synthesizers, samplers, live or programmed beats, and processed sounds. He uses this palette to make pieces of music or sound collages that keep ears and emotions engaged. His live and recorded music can contain both planned and randomly generated musical events in varying degrees. McKay lives in San Francisco and is very active in the SF music scene.
Cookie Harrist is a dance artist based in rural Denmark, Maine. Recent collaborations with Delaney McDonough, Hana van der Kolk, Asher Woodworth and others have toured to AUNTS, 3S Artspace, Boston Center for the Arts, School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, SPACE Gallery and more. She is a regular guest teacher at Colby and Bates Colleges and works to strengthen somatic and queer performance throughout Maine. She thanks the New England Foundation for the Arts for supporting her participation in the 2017 Fresh Festival.
Keith Hennessy dances in and around performance. Born in Sudbury Ontario, he lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His performances engage improvisation, ritual and public action as tools for investigating political realities. His awards include Izzies, a NY Bessie, and the United States Artist award. Practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, punk, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s teaching, writing, dancing. Keith started practicing contact improvisation in 1979, the same year that he discovered body-based performance art. 2016 was a huge year with 5 premiers created in collaboration with Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Blank Map, Jassem Hindi, and Peaches. Hennessy directs Circo Zero and was a member of Contraband with Sara Shelton Mann, 1985-1994. Keith earned an MFA in Choreography and a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis.
Sebastian Hernandez is an LA native and multi-disciplinary artist who received his B.A. in Art Practice and Dance and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley in 2016. He makes art that ranges from drawings to paintings and performance art works. Hernandez employs a feminist theoretical analysis, queer theory, browness and notions of collectivity as modes of thinking and generating works that shift and complicate Mexican and Chicano narratives in the contemporaneous social imagination. His art making is influenced by an embedded connection to his indigenous Aztec/Mexica heritage and the history of the brown body in relation to the U.S.-Mexico borderland. Sebastian’s movement based practice is informed by his long-standing practice of danza Azteca, Vogue and the more recent wide range of modern dance techniques he acquired at Cal. Sebastian’s work inherently challenges traditional notions of space as he deals with his work’s interdisciplinary nature within both art and dance contexts.
Jesse Hewit is a three-way cross between a diabolical valedictorian fratboy at a therapy intake session, a fussy-but-useful little baby bear who can make a fierce sandwich, and a really old and mostly unremarkable leather shoe. He makes art and discourse actions in order to move societies toward equity, complexity, and other poetic and impossible clouds and ghostlike things. Additionally, Jesse does not actually exist, but is instead a cobbled together science fair project, composed of the practices and ideas of his friends/heroes mixed with the inclinations of his soul (?). “His” work, curations, collaborations, and teachings have happened in various parts of the US and Europe, and his upcoming offering called FAITH MATERIAL: Activism will happen first in San Francisco in February of 2017, and then later next year in Los Angeles and Portland. Jesse works as a cook, and lives precariously in San Francisco with a 5th grade teacher and two motherfucking beasts. strongbehavior.com
Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist from the El Paso/Juarez border who performs and often works under the alias of La Chica Boom. She uses hyperbolized modes of racialization and sexualization to test the boundaries between her own body and coloniality, compulsory whiteness, and Mexicanidad. Her practice integrates performance, sex acts, and burlesque with video, photography, and objects. Throughout her multiple works, she teeters between abjection and joy and problematizes the borders between proper and improper ethnic, gender, and queer subject. Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), The Broad Museum (LA), Popa Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Joe’s Pub (NYC), PPOW Gallery (NYC), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) among others. She has held residency as an Affiliate Artist at Headland Center for the Arts, Djerrasi, National Performance Network, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and CounterPulse. She has been awarded the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award, NALAC Fund for the Arts, YBCA Away Award, ReGen Grant, and Theater Bay Area Grant. Her work has been profiled by Art Practical, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, GLQ Journal, Women and Performance Journal, and In Dance Magazine. For more information go to: www.xandraibarra.com
Violeta Luna’s (Actress/Performance Artist/Activist) work explores the relationship between theatre, performance art and community engagement. Working within a multidimensional space that allows for the crossing of aesthetic and conceptual borders, Luna uses her body as a territory to question and comment on social and political phenomena. Born in Mexico City, Luna obtained her graduate degree in Acting from the Centro Universitario de Teatro (UNAM,) and La Casa del Teatro. She has performed and taught workshops extensively throughout Latin America and Europe, as well as in Rwanda, Egypt, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and USA. While primarily working as a solo performer, she is also an associate artist of the San Francisco-based performance collectives La Pocha Nostra (LPN) and Secos Y Mojados. She is a Creative Capital and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Fellow, and a member of The Magdalena Project: International Network of Women in Contemporary Theatre. Significant works include: Requiem for a Lost Land, Frida, NK603: Action for Performer and e-Maiz, Apuntes sobre la Frontera and a series of collaborations with LPN.
Stephanie Maher – based in New York and then San Francisco 1989-1995. Known for her breathtaking physicality and for creating works that express a unique blend of intimacy, sensitivity and wild humor. In 1998, Maher relocated to Berlin, Germany, where she continued to perform, organize, develop and teach in the community-based settings of K77 Studios and founded the Ponderosa in Stolzenhagen, Germany with Uli Kaiser and PORCH with Kathleen Hermesdorf, a 3 month module-based program for aspiring professionals. Improvisationally structuring and unknowingly creating a life of curating dance between the urban environment and nature, Maher’s focus has deepened towards the small networkings of the international dance scene, creating avenues of support for self-realized and non-profit organizations. This includes the facets of liminal, spontaneous, curious and outspoken performance installations that occur within the permissible space of Ponderosa work and art made at home. Maher recently finished an MFA in Choreography from Smith College.
Sara Shelton Mann has been a choreographer, performer, teacher since 1967. She was a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Lewis in N.Y.C. before moving to Canada where she met Andrew Harwood and fell in love with contact improvisation. In 1979 she moved to SFCA and started the Company Contraband as a performance group and research ground combining the principles of contact, systems of the body and spiritual practice into a unified system of research. Among her awards are a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 6 Isadora Duncan Awards, Djerassi Artist in Residence Awards, Headlands Center for the Arts Residency 2016, Lifetime Achievement Bay Guardian Award, Foundation for Contemporary Arts artist award 2016. Her Movement Alchemy training is an ongoing teaching project and is influenced by certifications and studies in the metaphysical and healing traditions. Sara’s performance work is a platform for collaboration and research in consciousness.
The Milkbar is an environment for the intersection of innovative site-specific experimental dance, music, theater, installation and film. The MilkBar’s co-curators are Mary Armentrout, Merlin Coleman, and Ian Winters. Their shared curatorial aesthetic produces the MilkBar salons in their vibrant, intimate forty seat venue in Richmond CA, as well as other projects throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Chris Evans joins the Milkbar for Mirror Magic on January 9.
David Molina (composer) is an award winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist/designer and recording engineer. He has created music and sound for theatre, video, film, dance, performance art, radio, television, installation, and multimedia productions for the past 18 years. Recently he has been inventing and building instruments from salvaged materials, which become part of interactive, multimedia installations displayed at galleries and festivals, including a solo exhibit Transience: The Work of David Molina, at Asterisk Gallery SF (2013,) He has worked with numerous bay area theatre companies, performing arts venues, educational institutions, museums, and with several regional companies and organizations throughout the U.S., and has performed and had his music featured internationally. He is a founding member of the interdisciplinary troupe Secos Y Mojados (2009 Creative Capital grantees). David just returned from an extensive European tour with Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids. His music and bands: Ghosts and Strings, Transient, Earthlike, and Impuritan are available on Resting Bell (Berlin,) Dorog Records (Peru,) Black Note Music (USA,) Distant Spore (USA,) or through his own D.I.Y. releases. http://drmsound.com
Founded in 2001, Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theater (NAKA) creates interdisciplinary performance works that use movement, story, art installation, multimedia, and site-specific environments. Our work has been influenced by ritual, cultural studies, and the socio-political and environmental concerns of the world in which we live. We cultivate partnerships with communities, explore people’s histories & folklore, and express experiences through performance that is accessible but that challenges the viewer to think critically about pressing issues. NAKA brings together diverse populations to create a rapport among them, encouraging dialogue and civic participation.
José Navarrete is a native of México City where he was first exposed to theater and dance, choreographing and performing in parks, hospitals, and children’s parties as a clown and dancer. He studied dance at the National Institute of Fine Arts in México and has a BA in Anthropology from UC/Berkeley and MFA in Dance from Mills College. He has studied dance with Sara Shelton Mann, Taiko with Hiroyuki Nakagawa and Argentine Tango with Nora Dinzelbacher. In 2004, José was the recipient of a Bessie Schönberg residency at The Yard and a Djerassi residency. José received a CHIME Mentorship with Jess Curtis, and a CHIME Across Borders fellowship with Ralph Lemon. He has taught dance and performance to youth and adults in Mexico and in the San Francisco Bay Area at Berkeley High School, Marin Academy, Cal State/East Bay, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He currently leads the Guerilla Performance Group, and curates and produces the Live Arts in Resistance (LAIR) initiative at Eastside Arts Alliance, which provides residencies and performing opportunities for artists of color in East Oakland. José has been participating in FRESH since 2015 and acting as a curator for 2017 + 2018.
Kevin O’Connor is a multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist and installation artist. I am part of a small collective of settler american and Indigenous artists that does community/site based performance in particular watersheds in N. America. He has worked with NAKA Dance Theater in the Bay Area over the last five years. I am currently completing a PhD in Performance Studies at UC Davis where I am researching anatomies, body performance capacities and imaginations, environmental activism and unsettling practices, and community-based performances. www.ecologicalbodying.com
Adria Otte is a multi-instrumentalist whose work falls in and between a wide range of idioms. Her musical projects include sound design for dance/theater, rock bands, free improvisation ensembles, and Korean drumming. She studied music and classical violin at Bard College, where she began to explore her interest in electronic music. She is constantly both inspired and humbled by the transformative and transcendental power of sound, and hopes to share that experience with all who engage in listening.
Chrysa Parkinson is a dancer living in Stockholm and Berkeley, California. She lived in New York for many years and performed with Tere O’Connor Dance, Irene Hultman, Mia Lawrence, Jennifer Monson and Mark Dendy, among others. She began traveling to Belgium in 2000 to work on improvisational performance with Zoo/Thomas Hauert and David Zambrano. Since then she has also performed with: Adrian Heathfield, Veli Lehtovaara, Remy Heritier, Boris Charmatz, Andros Zins-Browne, Rosas/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jonathan Burrows, Mette Ingvartsen, Phillip Gehmacher, Eszter Salomon, John Jasperse, Deborah Hay, Alix Euynadi, Meg Stuart and Joaquim Koester. She has taught in the US, Europe and Australia, and yearly at PARTS (be) since 1998. Chrysa’s writing and films have been published and distributed internationally. Her most recent project, The Dancer as Agent Collection, is available at Oralsite.be. She is the Director of the New Performative Practices MFA program at DOCH/Uniarts in Stockholm.
Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, and choreographer whose projects include the cult zine Fag School, his novel Johnny Would You Love Me…”, his band “The Younger Lovers,” and the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). Since founding BPDC in 2010, Purnell has presented original dance and movement theatre works at the Berkeley Art Museum, CounterPULSE, the Garage, KUNST-STOFF arts, the LAB, SOMArts, YBCA, and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. He is the recipient of the 2015 Creative Work Fund Media Arts Grant to create an experimental documentary on the postmodern Bay Area choreographer Ed Mock. Brontez holds a BFA in Theatre + Contemporary Dance from California State University/East Bay.
SALTA is a collective based in Oakland, California. We are a group of women and gender non-conforming people who came together in 2012 to create a platform for dance and experimental performance. We host and curate shows, divergent conversations, parties and group processes – forty events in as many venues, storefronts, living rooms, warehouses, museums, cafes – providing a space for established, emerging, local and visiting artists to show work, be dance punks, be together. Admission to a SALTA show is a non-monetary donation, as we attempt to re-approach the grounds of exchange. SALTA has toured and performed together, presented on curatorial panels and written about our collective process. We are interested in collaboration through juxtaposition, confrontation, sharing, and emulation.
Amara Tabor-Smith is an Oakland based performer/sometimes poet/dance maker who makes Conjure Art. Her dance making practice, utilizes Yoruba spiritual ritual to address issues of race, gender, social and environmental justice, community, identity and belonging. She is still here.
Performer and educator, Keisha Turner, has Chicago and Brooklyn roots, and is based in Oakland, CA. Keisha is a creative change-maker with growing ties to the many resistance movements taking place in the Bay Area. In her artistic practice, she values the ability of African American/African diasporic traditions of dance and improvisation to intersect with contemporary performance art to tell stories that probe issues of politics, culture, and identity.
Keisha is also a certified yoga instructor, and is committed to offering body-positive, life-affirming classes that create space for participants to prioritize self-care and self-awareness as an entry point to engaging with their communities.
Vagittarius Rising is a feminist fake band duo. The Vag Sisters rose from the German cunt-tree side of Ponderosa in 2015. Since then, they perform regularly throughout Berlin and recently in Finland and Lithuania. Utilizing the band and concert as experimental forms, Vagittarius Rising is open to fuck ups and is all too real.
Roberto Varea’s creative work and writing focuses on live performance as means of resistance and peacebuilding in the context of social conflict and state violence. His stage work and writing includes direction and dramaturgy in community-based projects, publishing in journals and two books Acting Together, Peformance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict (New Village Press, 2011-2012), as well as regular collaborations with Violeta Luna and David Molina, primarily as part of the performance collective Secos Y Mojados.
Sophia Wang creates and performs movement-based works in collaboration with performance artists, writers, and visual and sound artists. She has presented works at the Berkeley Art Museum, San Francisco’s ATA, SOMArts, and the Lab, and Oakland’s Lobot Gallery. A founding member of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, she has co-developed and performed duets and evening-length works for the Garage, Counterpulse, Temescal Arts Center, KUNST-STOFF arts, and the Montreal Pop Festival. Artist-choreographers she has danced for include Xandra Ibarra, Hentyle Yapp, Amara Tabor-Smith, Tino Sehgal, and Jérôme Bel, and in December 2017 she will perform in Xavier Le Roy’s Rétrospective as part of the 2016 Taipei Biennial.
Hannah Wasielewski (Lasqueti Island, BC/ San Francisco, CA) shares, teaches, makes, studies and performs experimental dance. Hannah has performed her own creations as a solo artist and in collaborations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Arezzo (Italy), Ponderosa, and Earthdance. Most notably, Hannah has performed in San Francisco for Sara Shelton Mann and Sara Kraft/KraftyWorks. She has also performed in works by David Dorfman (NYC), Seán Curran (NYC), and Leslie Seiters (San Diego). Hannah is the co-director of Leviathan Studio, Lasqueti Island, BC, Canada with Mark Young, where she teaches Contact Improvisation. She is currently studying Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Body Intelligence.
Anna Martine Whitehead is a queer Black femme artist using movement and language to escape the Planet Earth. Their solos and collaborations have been presented in North America and Europe, and they have contributed significantly to the work of Keith Hennessy, Jefferson Pinder, Julien Previeux, and taisha paggett, amongst others. They write about Black performance in the contemporary art world and have contributed to an array of texts on queer dance, performance, and social practice, including a regular column in Art Practical and a chapter in the forthcoming “Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance,” edited by Clare Croft. Their first chapbook “TREASURE | My Black Rupture” debuted this past Spring. They received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant to attend FRESH Festival.
Tessa Wills is a live artist and thinker residing in the shadows, a subtle complicated and fierce creator who loves to be snug. Wills is halfway through her lifelong relationship with performance. She makes unusual spaces for participation and reflection on intimate relationships through her experimental practice. Wills work aims to reconnect and affirm humanity in vital ways, given the socio-political economic contexts in which we are attempting to operate. Wills is the artistic Director of THIS IS WHAT I WANT festival, the Bay Area annual performance festival about desire (now in its 8th year) and has been sharing her performance work internationally since 1999. Since 2004, she has been focussing on solo performances which happen primarily on video or live, as durational or sometimes participatory events. Aside from the relentless pull of desire to which she returns regularly, her work engages with the archetype of The Hermit, and The Professional Mourner. Wills facilitates a community around The Hermit Project. www.tessawills.com. www.thisiswhatiwantfestival.com www.thehermitproject.com
Under the moniker of The Younger Lovers, locally renowned musician, dancer, choreographer, and writer Brontez Purnell records “tiny tunes about epic heartbreak.” Originally from rural Alabama, Purnell came to Oakland in the early Aughts and quickly immersed himself in its punk and queer scenes. His electro-punk band Gravy Train!!!! became well known locally for its uninhibited live shows and, as the band’s singer and hype man, Purnell gained a reputation for his flamboyant stage persona. Though the group dissolved in the late-2000s, Purnell continued to make waves with his other creative ventures. He started the Brontez Purnell Dance Company and published his first book, “The Cruising Diaries,” an illustrated memoir he adapted from his earlier zines chronicling his sexual exploits.