About two weeks ago the Berkeley Ballet Theater and its Artistic Director Robert Dekkers presented Available Light, a livestream program of four new short films involving the collaboration of original dance, music, and film. Dekkers is also Artistic Director of Post:ballet, which provided guest artists for Available Light. One week from today Post:ballet will ring in the New Year with two world premieres. The program will be presented in collaboration with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) as the first event in BAMPFA’s 2021 Digital Season. As was the case in Available Light, the choreography will be extended with film. Program specifics are as follows:
- “La Folia” is choreographed by Vanessa Thiessen. The work is a duet that will be danced by Kody Jauron and Colleen Loverde. The title may be familiar, since it is the name of a Spanish harmonic progression that is now recognized as one of the earliest themes in the history of Western music. Composers have been inventing and publishing variations on this theme since the middle of the seventeenth century, but the music for this performance was composed by Danny Clay for the MUSA Baroque Ensemble, which gave the debut performance on May 31, 2014, marking an innovative approach to presenting new music with historical instruments. MUSA will provide the music for Thiessen’s choreography. Four of the performers had given the first performance of Clay’s piece: violist Addi Liu, Gretchen Claassen on gamba, cellist Laura Gaynon, and harpsichordist Derek Tam. On this new film they are joined by violinists Emily Kriner and Sarah Douglass. The film was created by Stephen Kimbrell, working with footage filmed along the Columbia River in Oregon.
- A totally different experience will be provided by “Eight Whiskus,” choreographed jointly by Dekkers and Emily Hansel. Once again the dance is named after a piece of music. John Cage composed the piece in 1984 as a solo for low voice, but he then reworked the score for solo violin the following year. That is the version that Dekkers and Hansel used; and the violinist will be Helen Kim, Associate Principal Second Violin with the San Francisco Symphony. The choreography is also a solo, and it will be danced by Hansel. Her performance was filmed at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park by Reneff-Olson Productions.
Emily Hansel performing “Eight Whiskus” (from the film by Reneff-Olson Productions)
These premiere offerings will be live-streamed beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 7. BAMPFA will provide the streaming. The site for the video has not yet been finalized, but it will be uploaded to the YouTube Web site for BAMPFA. The performances will be followed by a brief, moderated Q&A with the participating artists.