Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
Featuring the Paul Dresher Ensemble
Thu–Sat, Nov 3–5, 2011 • 8 pm • Novellus Theater at YBCA
YBCA members: FREE tickets for Friday performance, see details »
"The most bracing dance to come out of the West in years." —Dance Magazine
The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company has played an integral role in shaping the cultural fabric of San Francisco for over three decades YBCA is pleased to welcome them back with their latest piece, Light Moves, a unique synthesis of dance, animation, live music and poetry, which takes the audience on a journey through shifting landscapes inspired by the naturally occurring cycles of light. Light Moves marks the first collaboration between choreographer Margaret Jenkins and critically acclaimed multi-media artist Naomie Kremer, known for her innovative way of digitally deconstructing her paintings by animating hundreds of individual elements as they move through space. This new work also reunites Jenkins with longtime collaborators Paul Dresher, an internationally recognized composer, and poet Michael Palmer, a recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award. Dresher’s new score, performed live by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, intersects with Kremer’s moving images, Palmer’s text and the kinetic radiance of the dancers’ bodies to reveal the emotional character and stories that lie within these cycles of light.
ABOUT THE PIECE
Noted nationwide as one of the foremost proponents of a fully realized, collaborative art, choreographer Margaret Jenkins creates works in intimate collaboration with her dancers that are at once physically rigorous, intellectually and philosophically demanding, and always imbued with observations about the human character. In Light Moves, Jenkins and her company collaborate with painter and media artist Naomie Kremer, composer Paul Dresher and poet Michael Palmer to create a unique synthesis of dance, moving images and live music. Light Moves marks the first collaboration between Jenkins and Kremer, a critically applauded multi-media artist who was featured on the Apple Pro website for her innovative process of animating her paintings. By digitally deconstructing and animating hundreds of individually selected elements of color, brush stroke, texture and shape moving through space, Kremer transforms a two-dimensional painting into a mysteriously three-dimensional animated world. Since 2008, Kremer has also been making “hybrid paintings” — projecting videos she creates specifically for this purpose on the surface of her paintings, marrying the physical world of canvas and paint with the digital world of video. The visual enigma which results engages the viewer in the question of what is painted and what is projected, which is in front and which behind, and where, indeed, the “surface” of the object lies.
Light Moves also reunites Jenkins with longtime collaborators Paul Dresher, an internationally recognized composer, and Wallace Stevens Award-winning poet Michael Palmer. Dresher’s extraordinary ability to propel and be responsive to movement is singular in his field, and his invented instruments, along with his vast musical vocabulary, contributes to the landscape being developed for this new work. Dresher’s new score, performed live by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, will intersect with Kremer’s moving images, Palmer’s text and the kinetic radiance of the dancers’ bodies, creating a shifting landscape of visual and aural elements.
Jenkins is known for creating work in collaboration with her dancers by layering highly physical and gestural movement, disrupting rhythms and shattering spatial planes. There is a fierce and subtle quality to these explorations, with an abundance of information offered through movement, music and spoken text. Inspired by Kremer’s hybrid paintings, Jenkins seeks an analogue for the new work Light Moves. She asks, “How might dance, music and video projections be amalgamated into a joint identity, in a manner similar to projecting on painting?”
Light Moves uses the natural cycles of light as an organizing device that informs and inspires the arc of the piece. Occurring inside these light cycles are phases of stillness, silence, fullness and commotion found in the interaction of projection, music and dance. The given cycles include sound and light without dancers, language with or without other elements, visual elements alone, and so on, following a rhythm of alternation. The dancers create their own personal points of reference within the sections: steady, flickering, intense, muted, darting… Light Moves unfolds as a light-field of shifting emotional character and physical velocity.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company has been a part of the cultural fabric of San Francisco for over three decades—dedicated to the making and touring of new work, international exchange, and programs that support process, choreographic mentorship and performance opportunities. At the heart of the organization's mission is Jenkins' belief that it is incumbent on us as artists to be in conversation through our work—to break the isolation and expand who sees and responds to the arts.
The Company was founded in San Francisco in 1973. Margaret Jenkins herself is a fifth-generation San Franciscan, steeped in its particular cultural and artistic traditions. Yet the origins of the Company's singular artistic philosophy can undoubtedly be found among the radical developments that took place in all the arts in the New York of the 1960’s.
While studying and working with Merce Cunningham during that time, Jenkins began to reimagine the concepts of both choreographer and dance company. It was in the environment of Cunningham and John Cage that she was first exposed to the collaborative efforts of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and many others, as well as to the music of Earle Brown, Gordon Mumma, Morton Feldman and Cage himself.
Jenkins returned to San Francisco in 1970 and immediately began to teach and make works prior to the formal founding of her company three years later. Her goal was less to create a choreographic entity in the traditional sense than to fashion a fluid site for exploratory, collaborative interaction among all the arts, a place of "company" in its deepest meaning.
The Company began touring extensively in the late 1970s. During the NEA’s National Dance Touring Program, the Company traveled throughout the United States on a regular basis. The Company has also traveled internationally in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Asia. Dances have been commissioned by a long list of presenters, including YBCA, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the Krannert Center in Urbana, IL, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, MA, Cal Performances in Berkeley, CA, Arizona State University and University of Arizona, Montclair University, NJ and on a number of occasions by Dance Center of Columbia College and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL.
The dancers have been critical to the development of this highly physical and gestural world that is her signature. The Company creates dances by continually layering, disrupting rhythms and shattering spatial planes. There is a loose and brazen quality to their explorations, with an abundance of information offered through movement, music and spoken text. Jenkins has continued to emphasize this focus across her entire career, welcoming the participation of such multi-disciplinary artists as Rinde Eckert, Bruce Nauman, Terry Allen and Yoko Ono, and composers Paul Dresher, Jay Cloidt, Bill Fontana, Alvin Curran, David Lang, among others.
Night School: Margaret Jenkins Dance CompanyNov 5, 2011 6:00pm
Theater Terrace Lobby$15 in addition to the regular ticket price
The Light Moves edition of Night School will revolve around the intersections between dance, painting and digital media, as well as how light is used as a metaphor for human experience in art.
- Sharpen your art-viewing skills with a peek into YBCA’s exhibition The Matter Within.
- Energize your mind and body with breath and movement exercises inspired by Margaret Jenkins’ choreography.
- Hear exclusive insights into Margaret Jenkins’ body of work from our invited guest, Wayne Hazzard of Dancers' Group and former member of MJDC.
- Indulge in a custom-curated dinner prepared to complement the night’s performance.
- Debrief in our post-show space for reflection and cocktails.
All this and more for just an additional $15! Make the most of your Saturday night arts adventure with Night School.Because space for this is extremely limited, tickets for Night School are not available online. Please call YBCA Box office at 415-978-ARTS (2787)
At YBCA we have a strong commitment to artists who are breaking the boundaries of form and content. We seek out those artists whose courage, creativity and spirit of exploration are such that they are breaking new ground – introducing us to new ways of seeing the world and experiencing art.
Often these are very young artists – “emerging” is the term that is generally used. Perhaps because they are just beginning their careers, they often are willing to take risks that other artists might not. We celebrate their youth and their willingness to experiment.
And then there is Margaret Jenkins. Margy -- as she is known to her friends, a group of which I happily count myself as a member -- will celebrate 40 years of dance-making next year. Forty years! Imagine that. And yet, several years ago, when I first came to YBCA and we started talking, she shared with me her desire to move in a completely new direction – to take what she has known and developed and venture well outside her comfort zone to collaborate with artists from other cultures whose aesthetic was perhaps as far from hers as one could imagine.
I was thrilled that we were able to support her in that new direction, which resulted in “A Slipping Glimpse,” her collaboration with contemporary dancers from India. That performance was followed two years later by “Other Suns,” her collaboration with modern dancers from China. Now she brings us “Light Moves,” and again, she has ventured into yet another new direction. In collaborating with the brilliant painter/artist Naomi Kremer, Margy has once again rewritten her own rulebook. Once again, she is pushing the boundaries of form and content in creative and considered ways, and the results are apparent in tonight’s world premiere performance.
What I love about Margy’s work is this very quality – the way she takes huge personal and aesthetic risks; the way she embraces the endless challenges of dance-making in the contemporary world, and puts everything on the line to see what will happen. Fierce, courageous – and steeped in forty years of dance training. That’s Margaret Jenkins.
With Margy, the only thing that is emerging is an extraordinary new work, a fresh and original look at the world and her own practice and the new insights that arise from that exploration. Join me in celebrating tonight this “emerging” artist and her latest venture into the unknown. You won’t be disappointed.
Margaret Jenkins is a choreographer, teacher and mentor to many young artists as well as a designer of unique community-based dance projects. Jenkins began her early training in San Francisco. In the sixties, she moved to New York to study at Juilliard, continued her training at UCLA and returned to New York to dance in the companies of Jack Moore, Viola Farber, Judy Dunn, James Cunningham, Gus Solomons and Twyla Tharp. Jenkins was a member of the faculty of the Merce Cunningham Studio and often restaged his works for companies in Europe and the United States.
In 1970, Jenkins returned to San Francisco and formed her own company. She also opened one of the West Coast's first studio-performing spaces at 2005 Bryant Street, a school for the training of professional modern dancers. Viola Farber and Merce Cunningham were frequent guests, and dozens of young choreographers had the chance to experiment and show their early work. This San Francisco rehearsal and performance space also became the “stage” for Jenkins and her Company as well as a model for subsequent performance spaces in San Francisco.
Jenkins has created an impressive body of work, with over 75 works created on her Company as well as resident companies in the United States and Europe. In addition, she has received numerous commissions from renowned national and international arts presenters and cultural institutions, including a commission for the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary home season, as well as work for the Oakland Ballet, Repertory Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, National Dance Project, YBCA, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Montclair State University, Columbia College in Chicago, Cullberg Ballet of Sweden and Ginko of Tokyo, Japan. Jenkins’ career has also embraced a commitment to training the professional dancer. Over the last forty-five years she has taught at major universities and colleges in this country and abroad.
In spring of 2003 Jenkins celebrated the 30th anniversary of her Company with a unique season of performances and exhibitions at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion, for which she was presented with a special Isadora Duncan Dance Award. She was a founding member of the Bay Area Dance Coalition and of Dance/USA, serving on its first board of directors. She currently sits on the board of directors for the YBCA, and remains an active participant in panels across the United States.
In 2004, Jenkins and her company launched a new program, Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME). Now in its 7th year in the San Francisco Bay Area and its third year in Southern California, the notion behind this artist mentorship program is to foster creative exchange and long-term relationships between emerging and established choreographers, and to create an arena for continuing education for choreography outside of the academic environment. When CHIME launched so did the opening of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab, a studio with a focus on rehearsals, research and development. In 2010, CHIME expanded to include a cross-national mentorship program, CHIME Across Borders.
Jenkins is a founding member with The Center for Creative Research (CCR) based in New York, which is a collection of eleven senior choreographers who have come together under the leadership of Sam Miller and Dana Whitco. CCR was initiated in 2005 as a multi-year project (funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by NEFA, now housed at NYU), designed to re-engineer institutional contexts for artists.
Highlights of Jenkins’ activities have included a residency in Kolkata, India (2003) to create a new dance at the Ananda Shankar Center for Performing Arts: the premiere of a site-specific work, Danger Orange (2004) in the landmark Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco; a three-week teaching residency in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing, China (2004); the premiere of running with the land (2005) at the opening of the de Young Museum in the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden, commissioned by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; and a four-week rehearsal and performance residency to develop source material for the evening-length piece, A Slipping Glimpse (2006). In 2007, Jenkins and her company performed in a poetry and dance festival in Tokyo, Japan, conducted a five-city domestic tour of A Slipping Glimpse, and presented the initial segment of Other Suns, the first part of new trilogy of work inspired by her 2004 workshops in China. The complete Other Suns trilogy had its world premiere in September 2009 at YBCA, followed by a highly successful four-week tour in the US. Highlights of 2010 include the international premiere and Asia tour of Other Suns in China, and a preview of Light Moves, Jenkins next work with multi-media artist Naomie Kremer. Light Moves will premiere in San Francisco in November 2011 and will tour the US in early 2012.
For her unique artistic vision, Jenkins has received numerous commissions and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Irvine Fellowship in Dance, the San Francisco Arts Commission Award of Honor, three Isadora Duncan Awards and the Bernard Osher Cultural Award. www.mjdc.org
Naomie Kremer has had numerous solo exhibitions, including, most recently a show of all video-based work at the Knoedler Gallery Project Space in New York City in the fall of 2008. Her work is in many private, public and corporate collections. Kremer has taught widely, including at California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute and CSU Hayward. She has lectured in the US and abroad, including at Oxford University in England and at the Syracuse University program in Florence, Italy. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Art In America, Art News, Tema Celese, and the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art journal. In 2008, Kremer was commissioned to create a video set for the Berkeley Opera's production of Bela Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle.
Kremer's large-scale, intensely colored abstract paintings are built on childhood memories, everyday observations and experiences, and family traditions. Her canvases emit a sense of risky adventure that is made accessible partly through the seductiveness of her colors and touch, and partly by art historical references to abstract expressionism, cubism, Italian futurism and even Bay Area figuration. While the initial effect of Kremer's canvases is one of chaotic color and energetic movement, the paintings are constructed around representational references, albeit oblique. Text, architectural elements, nature and figures are all inscribed beneath the bold brush strokes and bright and startling colors. They are journeys informed by the infinite complexity of being.
In the last few years Kremer has been making computer animations that begin with her finished paintings. The immersive experience of Kremer’s work is like walking into her canvas. Through digital manipulation, the two-dimensional painting is transformed into a three-dimensional animated world, creating a bridge between painting and digital media. Through an extremely innovative process of animation, Kremer deconstructs the layers of her paintings to reveal hundreds of individual elements of color, brush stroke, texture, composition and distinct objects moving through space. Working in both paint and digital media allows her to explore the unique properties of each as well as their relationship to each other.
Since 2008, Kremer has also been making “hybrid paintings” — projecting videos she creates specifically for this purpose on the surface of her paintings, marrying the physical world of canvas and paint with the digital world of video. The visual enigma which results engages the viewer in the question of what is painted and what is projected, which is in front and which behind, and where, indeed, the “surface” of the object lies. www.naomiekremer.com
Paul Dresher is an internationally active composer noted for his ability to integrate diverse musical influences into his own coherent and unique personal style. He pursues many forms of musical expression including experimental opera and music theater, chamber and orchestral composition, live instrumental electro-acoustic music performances, musical instrument invention and scores for theater, dance and film.
A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2006-07, he has received commissions from the Library of Congress, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, the Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, California EAR Unit, Zeitgeist, San Francisco Ballet, Walker Arts Center, University of Iowa, Meet the Composer, Seattle Chamber Players, Present Music, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music America, National Flute Association and the American Music Theater Festival. He has performed or had his works performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe at venues including New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Munich State Opera, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, CBC Vancouver Radio Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, Arts Summit Indonesia ‘95, Festival Interlink in Japan and five New Music America festivals. Dresher has also worked extensively with many choreographers including Margaret Jenkins, Brenda Way/ODC San Francisco, Nancy Karp & Dancers, Wendy Rogers Dance Company and Allyson Green Dance.
In March of 2009 at Stanford University, Dresher premiered Schick Machine, a music theater work performed on a set comprised entirely of invented musical instruments/sound sculptures and created in collaboration with writer/director Rinde Eckert, percussionist/performer Steven Schick and mechanical sound artist Matt Heckert. In April 2008 the San Francisco Ballet premiered Dresher orchestral score for Thread, his collaboration with choreographer Margaret Jenkins, commissioned for the Ballet’s 75th anniversary. In May 2006 Dresher’s chamber solo chamber opera The Tyrant, for tenor John Duykers, premiered in five performances at Opera Cleveland and has now been produced in Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago, Austin, Berkeley and San Francisco.
Other recently completed projects include the acclaimed score for the Berkeley Repertory Theater’s premiere production of To The Lighthouse, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel by playwright Adele Shank and directed by Les Waters and Snow in June, a collaboration with playwright Charles Mee and director Chen Shi-Zheng, commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre. In November 2004 his contemporary chamber group, the six-member Paul Dresher Ensemble Electro-Acoustic Band, made its Carnegie Hall debut, performing a concert of Dresher’s chamber works as part of the “In Your Ear Festival” curated by John Adams, in conjunction with the New Albion release of Dresher’s CD Cage Machine.
Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Dresher received his BA in Music from UC Berkeley and his MA in Composition from UC San Diego where he studied with Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros and Bernard Rands. He has had a longtime interest in the music of Asia and Africa, studying Ghanaian drumming with C.K. and Kobla Ladzekpo, Hindustani classical music with Nikhil Banerjee as well as Balinese and Javanese music. Recordings of his works are available on the Lovely Music, New World (with Ned Rothenberg), CRI, Music and Arts, 0.0. Discs, BMG/Catalyst, MinMax, Starkland and New Albion labels. www.dresherensemble.org
Michael Palmer was born in New York City in 1943. In 1963 he attended the Vancouver Poetry Conference, taking part in three weeks of workshops, readings and discussions. While there, he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Clark Coolidge, who each became important influences on the development of Palmer's poetics.
Palmer is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Company of Moths (New Directions, 2005), which was short-listed for the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize; Codes Appearing: Poems 1979-1988 (2001); The Promises of Glass (2000); The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995 (1998); At Passages (1996); Sun (1988); First Figure (1984); Notes for Echo Lake (1981); Without Music (1977); The Circular Gates (1974); and Blake's Newton (1972). He is also the author of a prose work, The Danish Notebook (Avec Books, 1999).
Palmer has also translated work from French, Russian and Portuguese, and has taken part in collaborations with both painters and dancers. He edited and contributed translations to Nothing The Sun Could Not Explain: Twenty Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Sun & Moon Press, 1997), and Blue Vitriol (Avec Books, 1994), a collection of poetry by Alexei Parshchikov. He also translated Theory of Tables (1994), a book written by Emmanuel Hocquard after translating Palmer's "Baudelaire Series" into French. He has also frequently collaborated with others artists, including the painter Gerhard Richter and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.
Michael Palmer's honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. He was the recipient of the 2006 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. He lives in San Francisco.
The Paul Dresher Ensemble
The Paul Dresher Ensemble commissions, performs and tours a diverse repertory of new chamber works from diverse contemporary composers: produces and tours new opera/music theater compositions; collaborates with a broad range of dance and theater artists and organizations to create and perform new work based in contemporary music; and mounts educational and family programs to introduce its repertory to diverse audiences of all ages.
Formed in 1984, the Ensemble spent its first decade performing experimental theater/opera productions involving Artistic Director Paul Dresher. The best known is American Trilogy, which encompasses Slow Fire, Power Failure and Pioneer. Created collaboratively with singer/actor/musician and writer Rinde Eckert, tenor John Duykers and designer/writer/songwriter Terry Allen, The American Trilogy has received over 200 performances worldwide; in 2005 Slow Fire was remounted for a 20th anniversary production that continues to tour. The Ensemble has a long history of performing live with modern dance with companies such as the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, ODC San Francisco and Allyson Green Dance.
In 1993, to order meet the technological and expressive demands of many contemporary composers, Mr. Dresher formed The Electro-Acoustic Band. Comprised of six musicians and two sound engineers, the band combines traditional acoustic instruments with the latest advances in live electronic music technology, and is noted for its ability to perform works that have roots in diverse traditions including classical music, rock & roll, jazz and world music. The Band is often joined by noted soloists such as pianist-composer Terry Riley, cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, violinist David Abel and pianist Lisa Moore. The Ensemble has commissioned and/or premiered works by composers including John Adams, John Luther Adams, Sam Adams, Mark Applebaum, Dan Becker, Eve Beglarian, Martin Bresnick, Jay Cloidt, Cindy Cox, Alvin Curran, Anthony Davis, Mark Grey, Paul Hanson, Bun Ching Lam, David Lang, Keeril Makan, Steve Mackey, Ingram Marshall, James Mobberley, Gyan Riley, Terry Riley, Roger Reynolds, Neil Rolnick, Carl Stone, Lois Vierk and Randall Woolf. Upcoming commissions include works from Fred Frith, Sebastian Currier, Jon Russell and Ryan Brown.
The Ensemble has performed throughout the US and abroad at such venues as the Library of Congress, Spoleto Festival USA, Walker Arts Center, American Music Theater Festival, the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie/Zankel Hall, the Minnesota Opera, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Arts Summit Indonesia '95, Divalo Archa in Prague, Festival Interlink in Japan and dozens of colleges and universities throughout the US. The Ensemble has been featured in the commercial recordings of composers including Eve Beglarian, Cindy Cox, Jay Cloidt, Alvin Curran, Keeril Makan, Mark Applebaum, Terry Riley, Steve Mackey and Paul Dresher.
In 1993 the Ensemble began producing and performing new opera and music theater by other contemporary composers, staring with Rinde Eckert’s The Gardening of Thomas D. In 1995 it formed the core musical group for the world premiere and first tour of the John Adams/Peter Sellars/June Jordan production I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky. In 1998, working in collaboration with composer Steve Mackey and librettist Rinde Eckert, the Ensemble produced the highly acclaimed solo opera Ravenshead, a work honored by USA Today as the “Best Opera of ’98”. In 2000 in collaboration with San Francisco’s ODC Theater, the Ensemble produced Erling Wold's chamber opera A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil and in 2003, in collaboration with San Francisco’s ODC Theater, produced Wold’s Sub Pontio Pilato. Most recently, in the fall of 2005, the Ensemble premiered and toured Rinde Eckert’s new work Horizon.
YBCA’s programs are made possible in part by:
National Endowment for the Arts
YBCA Performance 11–12 is made possible in part by:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Additional Funding for YBCA Performance 11–12:
Zellerbach Family Foundation
Panta Rhea Foundation
Cultural Services of the French Embassy
New England Foundation for the Arts
and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts