Bayview–based choreographer Joanna Haigood explores present–day species of racism with The Monkey and the Devil, a continuously running performance installation uniting dance and theater during which audience members are free to navigate the Forum.
Taking its title from ethnic slurs, The Monkey and the Devil investigates the rise of a contemporary, racism rooted in the lasting effects of America's slave trade. Echoing an earlier time, today's cultural figures unwittingly rehash old race–based arguments, updated for today's eyes and ears. Two massive, rotating set pieces, designed by visual artist Charles Trapolin, represent this duality. Their opposition recalls Abraham Lincoln's New Testament–quoting declaration foreshadowing the abolition of slavery, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' Even today, Americans grapple with re–uniting a split house, with these artifacts of slavery.
All programs are free and open to the public.
A thirty–year force on San Francisco's dance scene, Joanna Haigood has brought her trademark intelligence to a range of issues in American culture, from the legacy of slavery to how lives are affected by architecture and local economies. Working with her 30–year–old company Zaccho Dance Theatre—one of a very few American groups focused on site–specific dance—Haigood uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Frequently, her in–depth research into the history and the character of a site brings the local community into her creative process. Often, she integrates aerial flight and suspension as ways of expanding performers' spatial and dynamic range. The group's Youth Performing Arts Program serves 100 to 150 children annually by offering free in–school and after–school classes and performance opportunities to students 7 to 17 years old. In addition to her teaching and professional experience, choreography, and residencies, Haigood's awards include a 2007 United States Artists Fellowship, a 2000 Irvine Foundation Fellowship in Dance, the 1998 Cal Arts/Alpert Award in the Arts, a 1997 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1995 NEA Choreography Fellowship, the 1994 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Visual Design, and many more. She has also received commissions and been presented by major institutions across the country and abroad, including the Festival d'Avignon, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, the Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.