|R E P E R T O R Y|
Equal parts wild humor and grit, the evening-length dance/theater Saudade is an artistically ambitious, deeply personal statement about the need to understand modern times when life, as a series of colliding extremes, cannot be understood, only lived. Layering Portuguese fado music, Roussève’s time-jumping narrative text inspired by southern African America, video imagery, an elaborate set design, postmodern dance, and world dance (W. African, Indonesian, S. Asian); Saudade is an ode to the idea of ‘bittersweet-that single moment when great joy and agony are experienced together.
Moving back and forth between the global, the local, and the personal, at times Saudade wildly fills the stage with movement, music and image; at others, with intimate moments of dance or quiet speech. This shifting perspective-related by the dancing, the stories, the imagery and the passion of fado- gives Saudade its particular resonance. Performed by Roussève and a stellar international cast of eight, this is work with a powerful emotional immediacy, surprising visual juxtapositions and unexpected narrative connections.
Saudade was awarded the 2009 L.A. Horton Awards for Best Choreography and Best Company Performance.
Two Seconds After Laughter (2012)
The third film by David Roussève, “Two Seconds After Laughter” is an original intersection of dance-for-camera, docu-drama, and dream-like fantasy that creates a border-jumping dialogue on a universal irony: The heart longs most for the one place to which it can never fully return… home. With a narrative inspired by choreographer Sri Susilowati’s experience of leaving Indonesia to become a dancer in America, “Two Seconds…” is a meditation on the nature of memory; a cry of longing caused by separation; and a fable-like tale of the joys and emotional dislocation experienced by contemporary diasporic peoples. Weaving stunning cinematography shot in Java and edited by noted filmmaker Cari Ann Shim Sham*, traditional Indonesian dance,
|I N D E V E L O P M E N T|
To Premiere 2013-14
Choreographed, written, and directed by David Roussève, Stardust explores the nature of intimacy in our technology-driven, furiously-paced world. Layering an emotion-infused narrative (delivered exclusively in projected tweets and text messages); Nat King Cole’s quintessentially ‘romantic’ music; urgent interruptions by hip hop; surreal video imagery; and a movement vocabulary that is equally postmodern dance, hip hop, and jazz; Stardust asks whether in a time of “new-school technology” (implying immediacy and bravado), “old-school romance” (implying time and vulnerability) has gone missing. Ha romance morphed into something better fitting an era of sexting, MSM bootie calls, “Like”, and “Dislike”.
Stardust‘s fictional text-projected in passages “of 140 character or less”- recounts an African American gay adolescent’s increasingly desperate search for love and compassion in a violence-filled life that is bereft of both; redefining the coming-of-age-story for an electronic age and making a politically-tinged statement about the ability of the human spirit to survive even the most unthinkable of circumstances. In a reality-TV world where only the “witnessed” life has meaning and fleeting electronic contact is a substitute for intimacy, he has no one following his tweets, has zero “Friends”, and texts his deepest longings to an unassigned number. Deftly utilizing humor while reflecting an unabashedly brutal reality, the tweets tell of a journey from despair into the most unexpected of transformations.
But dance is the evening’s most important element and “Stardust” will be Roussève’s most movement-filled work in over a decade. This is the first piece for REALITY in which Roussève will not perform lead, and he has been working with seven of LA’s best contemporary dancers to excavate a vocabulary that is an idiosyncratic amalgam of his background in postmodern dance, expressionistic gesture, contact improv, modern, jazz, and hip hop.
Known for magnetic performances with Rennie Harris but now a composer/choreographer/performance artist in his own right, LA-based D. Sabela Grimes will create a time-jumping sound score of constantly-evolving emotional textures. The intimacy of Nat King Cole’s music- from early trio jazz recordings to later string-filled blockbusters like “Mona Lisa”- is set against the hard-core sexual bravado of contemporary hits like Kanye West’s “Monster” and the urgency of Sabela’s hip-hop flavored original music. LA-based filmmaker Cari Ann Shim Sham* will create video imagery that moves between abstract and literal passages, providing a deepening of “Stardust”’s metaphoric elements as well as referencing the real-life, nitty-gritty, socially-grounded elements of the narrative.
Designer Christopher Kuhl is creating lighting that supports the emotional textures and surreal quality of the work. Lucy Burns- formerly dramaturg at New WORLD Theater in Amherst, MA- will collaborate as “Stardust”’s dramaturg and will be involved in the development process from the beginning stages.
|W O R K S H O P S|
Building an informed and involved public audience for contemporary performance is central to the work of David Roussève and his company. Roussève has an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience in planning and conducting educational and engagement activities with people of many ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Among others, Roussève and the company have worked with the women, at-risk-youth, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, elderly, and African American communities.
With “Stardust” the company is eager to work collaboratively with presenters in designing activities that resonate with the multi-layered, socially-poignant themes of the work, while addressing the needs of local communities.
Among the possibilities for engagement:-Pre and post-performance talks about the content and interdisciplinary composition of the work.
-Master classes in modern and postmodern dance.
-Lectures or workshops on “Dance For Camera” that include screenings of Roussève’s dance films Two Seconds After Laughter and Bittersweet.
-Composition workshops led by Roussève and designed for the experience-level of the participating choreographers.
-Feedback sessions with Roussève on the work of experienced local choreographers.
-Lecture/workshops by Roussève on “Creating Socially Engaged Art: Can Dance Change the World?”
-Movement workshops designed for the needs of particular communities (e.g., women, at-risk youth, people with HIV disease, etc).