CALIFORNIA (2003)

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Photo by Maria Anguera de Sojo

CALIFORNIA (2003)

CHOREOGRAPHY: John Jasperse

PERFORMERS: Steven Fetherhuff, Eleanor Hullihan, John Jasperse, Rachel Poirier, Katy Pyle

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Jonathan Bepler

LIGHTING DESIGN: John Jasperse and Josephe Levasseur

SET DESIGN: Ammar Eloueini

COSTUMES CONCEPTS: John Jasperse and Katy Pyle; execution by John Jasperse; second costumes inspired by Winnie Lee

Description:

Throughout history, the state of California has been accorded a special role as a place of freedom and promise within the American imagination.  Some historical examples include the gold rush, the immigration of farm workers during the dust bowl as described by Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, the sexual revolution, the emergence of San Francisco as a sort of gay Mecca, the prominence during the 1990’s of Silicone Valley and the phenomenon of the dot.com revolution that at the time appeared to offer near limitless financial potential.  One could also reasonably see Hollywood cinema as the preeminent defining force behind mainstream popular fantasy.  Around each of these examples, the collective imagination has constructed powerful, almost mythic, images.  The unfolding of reality has perhaps fulfilled aspects of these myths, but each case has also involved complex, unanticipated problems—the emergence of AIDS, the collapse of the dot.com bubble, in short, the realization that life is not always like it is in the movies.  The recent history of the state as portrayed in the media has included numerous other problems which include earthquakes, brush fires, mud slides, a state-wide power crisis, not to mention political changes which have become the fodder of tabloid journalism worldwide.   In some sense, the performance CALIFORNIA asks the question, “What should one do when things haven’t worked out as one might have hoped?”  It is an abstract, and perhaps spiritual reflection, traversing at times despair, which attempts to make sense of a situation that in reality fails to conform to the projection of fantasy.

Performances:

WORLD PREMIERE: International Festival de Danse (Cannes, France), November 30, 2003

Maison des Arts (Créteil, France), January 29-31, 2004

Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany), February 5-8, 2004

Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts (Ithaca, NY), March 16-17, 2004

American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), June 29-30, 2004

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, OR) September 10-12, 2004

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), September 17-18, 2004

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival (NYC), December 7-11, 2004

Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), March 18-20, 2005

Press for CALIFORNIA:

Surrounded by Pianos, a Sculpture Overhead – Jennifer Dunning, NYTimes 12/9/04

Review – Brian Woods, The Village Voice 11/23/04

Review: California/John Jasperse Company at MCA – Iliana Kowarski, New City Stage 3/17/05

Stage set design for California: An interview with Ammar Eloueini – Melissa Urcan, Architettura

Landscape Moves – M.J. Thompson, The Brooklyn Rail 2/05

Video of CALIFORNIA:

Project Funders:

Executive Producers: Thin Man Dance Inc. and Association Chapitre II. CALIFORNIA was a co-production of The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Le Festival International de Danse à Cannes, and Le Centre National de la Danse. Development of the work was supported in part by the Rockefeller MAP fund, the Greenwall Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Altria Group, Inc., and La Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles Rhône-Alpes – Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. CALIFORNIA was funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from National Endowment for the Arts and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Ford Foundation. Developmental residencies for the project were supported by The White Oak Plantation (Florida) owned by The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Les Subsistances (Lyon) and SUNY Purchase (Purchase, New York).