photos by Aleksey Bochkovsky
San Francisco, December 2012—Ir-Rational is a grotesque fantasy about an imagined meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth of England. The two represent opposing archetypes: Mary intuitive, Elizabeth rational. In the multimedia dance performance—a structured improvisation—the queens will be portrayed as characters in the constantly changing environment of a computer game. Their collision reflects the struggle in each of us between impulse and reason.
The image of the computer game, representative of technology and the modernism of contemporary life, where rational thinking dominates, will contrast the aesthetics and cruelty of the sixteenth century. The queens’ struggle, a conflict between reason and impulse, reflects the transformation that began when Elizabeth reigned from a time of impulse and intuition to one of logic and rationality. Elizabeth forewent her femininity in order to survive in a world dominated by men, but in contemporary society, we begin to glimpse a shift to the emergence of intuition, as it struggles to find an opening through the pervasive control of reason. Feminine qualities are beginning to re-emerge, but not at the cost of giving up power. A seemingly endless, sometimes unintelligible letter exchange between the queens was the foundation for our creation/research.
This multimedia performance-installation was conceived and directed by choreographer/interdisciplinary artist Erika Tsimbrovsky.
The physical, visual, and audio environment was manipulated by visual artist Vadim Puyandaev, lighting and video artist Lucas Krech, and musicians Joan Jeanrenaud, formerly of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet, PC Muñoz, and London-based musician Grundik Kasyansky. Ir-Rational is directed/choreographed by Erika Tsimbrovsky in collaboration with dancers Bianca Cabrera and Ronja Ver and dancers/active observers Daniel Bear Davis, Kristen Greco, Sarah Day Hanson, Kristina Kirshner, and Mihyun Lee.
Ir-Rational is made possible by funding from the Lighting Artists in Dance Award, CHIME, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Cellist and Composer JOAN JEANRENAUD has been involved in music for over 40 years. Growing up in Memphis Tennessee she was exposed to the sounds of the blues, Elvis, soul and classical music. She learned to play her instrument from cellists Peter Spurbeck, Fritz Magg and Pierre Fournier, studied jazz with David Baker, Hal Stein and Joe Henderson, worked with Kronos Quartet as cellist for 20 years and now for the past 13 years has been involved with solo and collaborative projects in composition, improvisation, electronics, and multi-disciplinary performance. She has completed more than 50 compositions for cello and small ensembles many of these multi-media works. Recent projects include her installation work ‘ARIA’ with collaborator Alessandro Moruzzi premiered at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the composition and performance of ‘ODD’ with choreographer Shinichi Iova-Koga and the AXIS dance company. Her CD, ‘Strange Toys’, released on the Talking House label in 2008 was nominated for a Grammy and her most recent release, ‘Pop-Pop’, appears on her new record label Deconet Records. Go to www.deconetrecords.com and www.jjcello.org for more information.
PC Muñoz‘s genre-defying projects as a recording artist and producer have historically been stylistically broad and deep, revealing an aural explorer equally at home with quirky electronic funk, all-acoustic hip-hop, world music mash-ups, text-driven spoken-word, and instrumental compositions for dance. His partnership with composer/longtime Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud has yielded two highly acclaimed projects: the Grammy-nominated album “Strange Toys” and the iTunes-charting cello and beats duo album “Pop-Pop”. A frequent and enthusiastic collaborator, PC has recorded with rock legend Jackson Browne, dream-pop poet/chanteuse Ingrid Chavez, Kulintang virtuoso Danny Kalanduyan, San Francisco sonic surrealists Broun Fellinis, woodwinds renegade Kyle Bruckmann, and countless other musicians and recording artists across a wide range of genres. He currently leads the art-funk ensemble PC Muñoz’s Singing Blood. Visit pcmunoz.com for more information.
Grundik Kasyansky is a London-based artist who works in improvisation, live installation, and audio collage, designing sound for dance, theatre, and film. With Slava Smelovsky he formed Grundik+Slava, the duo quickly emerging as key players in the Israeli experimental and electronic scene. He has collaborated with musicians Frank London, Eddie Prevost, Jack Wright, Seymour Wright, Jamie Coleman, Chaos As Shelter, and Victoria Hanna; with choreographers Erika Tsimbrovsky and Dganit Shemy; and with video artists Shige Moriya, Ofri Cnaani, and Hagar Goren. http://www.myspace.com/grundikkasyansky
is a dancer, dance maker, teacher, parent, and organizer. A perpetual student of performance as a way of participating in community and a tool for social change, they are deeply inspired by physical, social and mass movement, and its capacity to create meaningful impact on a personal and global scale. A native of Finland, Ver has worked and performed throughout Europe and in the United States, including with Nancy Stark Smith and Mike Vargas in Seattle and New York City; NAKA Dance Theater, Avy K Productions, Sara Shelton Mann, Piñata Dance Collective, Scott Wells and Dancers and Risa Jaroslow & Dancers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Previous posts include the National Theater of Finland and Riitta Vainio Dance Company, and Ver is proud to be featured spinning underwater in Steve Paxton’s DVD Material For The Spine.
Ronja Ver is continually inspired by the art and practice of Contact Improvisation, which provides a place for play and magic in their life. They are faculty at Moving On Center School for Participatory Arts and Somatic Practices, and adjunct faculty at St Mary’s College LEAP program. Ver is a graduate of Moving On Center, and holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University. http://ronjaver.net
Since her relocation to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010, Bianca Cabrera has performed with Kim Epifano, LEVYdance and Christine Bonansea. Bianca is the Artistic Director of Blind Tiger Society and teaches weekly classes at Project Bandaloop in Oakland and ODC in SF. Ms. Cabrera’s work has been curated by ODC’s Pilot program, CounterPULSE’s Summer Special and through her 2011 Artistic Residency at Studio Gracia. Formerly of Seattle, Bianca danced with KT Niehoff’s Lingo Dance from 2003-2011, and with Paige Barnes, Amii LeGendre, Ricki Mason, and Kristen Tsiatsios. www.heybianca.com
Lucas Krech is a multi-media artist working in light, video projection, and code. He has designed over 300 operas, dances, plays and performance pieces across the United States, Romania, and the UK. His work has been nominated for the New York Innovative Theater and Bay Area Critics Circle Awards. Lucas received a 2011 Lighting Artist in Dance award. His design work has been featured in American Theater Magazine and his writing on aesthetics and performance appeared in Stage Directions, On Stage Lighting,Parabasis Blog, and PLSN magazines. He has been a guest artist at UC Berkeley, Williams College, and USF. His installation work has shown at various venues in New York, California, and Nevada. He received an MFA in design from NYU. His portfolio is available at www.LucasKrech.com
Vadim Puyandaev has worked as a painter, sculptor, and designer for over twenty years and has been participating in multi-media installation-performances since 1994. His fine art has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Russia, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, France, Spain, Canada, and the US. Puyandaev had also produced numerous pieces of monumental art, including a commission to design a bridge over the Red Sea in Israel. With Tsimbrovsky, he is a founding member of the creative collectives EVM Laboratories (Israel) and Avy K Productions (US), dedicated to investigating what emerges in performance at the nexus of different genres. http://vadimpuyandaev.com/
Erika Tsimbrovsky is an innovator in the field of improvised dance performance. Born in Kazakhstan, she studied modern and contemporary dance is Belarus, Moscow, and Amsterdam. In Israel, where she lived for twelve years, she co-founded the award-winning experimental performance group EVM Laboratories to research the interaction between diverse media structures and to develop specific improvisational performance techniques. Avy K Productions is the San Francisco-based incarnation of her and visual artist Vadim Puyandaev’s 18-year collaboration, featuring their signature “audio-visual-kinetic” approach, which brings together contemporary dance, live painting, evolving material installation, video projection, and live music to create unique and vital performances.
Daniel Bear Davis’s creating practice is driven by a deep awe and wonder for humanity and an equally poignant curiosity and respect for the more-than-human world. His performance work tends towards the interdisciplinary, prioritizing content over genre. He is excited for another interdisciplinary project with AVY K. His work has been presented at the Imagining Bodies Symposium in Tallin, Estonia as well as the SFIAF (Jewels in the Square), SoWat Now Contemporary Performance Festival, Looking Left Festival of Low Tech Performance in California, and at the SEEDS Festival and E|MERGE Residency at Earthdance Center, MA (which he also curates). He has performed in a great deal of site-specific projects including on the boulders of Joshua Tree with The Body Cartography Project, on construction scaffolding with Wire Monkey Dance, on a submarine with Copenhagen’s Live Art Installations, and in a cabin in the woods for a long succession of audiences of one.
Kristen Greco is a bay area based artist who investigates the subtle and poetic layers of the body and psyche through somatics, improvisational movement, contemporary dance and physical theater. Kristen has directed, performed, and taught internationally in the US, Mexico, Canada, South America, and Europe as an independent artist as well as with The Carpetbag Brigade Physical Theater since 2000. She has recently performed with Syzygy Butoh (CO), Human Nature Dance Theatre (AZ), Live Art Installations (Denmark) and directed two site specific projects through E|MERGE artist residencies at Earthdance in Massachusetts. She has a deep love for collaborating with other artists in intensive creative research processes in rural and urban settings. Kristen teaches Contact Improvisation at the University of San Francisco and has a private bodywork and movement re-education practice in Oakland.
Mihyun Lee is an independent dancer and choreographer from Seoul, South Korea who moved to the bay area in 2009. Korean dance is the roots of her movement. She is in a process of creating new performance company, based on choreographic, improvisational and site-specific work. She is curious how art and human body reflect personal history and our daily lives. It is her intention to explore the relationship between such subjects and dance. In her vision art is about modifying and transforming images, ideas, movement and stories. www.mihyun.artsomatic.org
Kristina Kirshner began her dance training at Berkeley Ballet Theater, where she studied ballet under Sally Streets and modern with Sonya Delwaide. She has performed with Denia Dance, Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, Kelly Bowker and Dancers, Meek Dance Projects, Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, Courage Group, and Avy K Productions.
Sarah Day has been map-making for the imaginal realms since 1982. She is a dancer/ performer, visual artist, movement educator, and word-smith recently relocated to SF from LA. She has been honored to work with stellar artists including Marina Abramovic (MOCA LA), Meg Wolfe (“trembler.SHIFTER”- REDCAT), experimental director Felix Ruckert (Tacheles- Berlin), & touring with Cid Pearlman Performance Projects (including Joyce SOHO, NY/ Diavolo, LA/ MOCA, San Diego… to be continued at ODC in Jan 2013), among others. Sarah’s own performance work has been presented widely in a variety of venues, and supported by Theater Bay Area, the ICA of Santa Cruz, artist residencies, and brilliant collaborators in many disciplines.
Aleksey Bochkovsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and immigrated to New York in 1991. He developed a passion for photography five years ago and after meeting his wife, Alena, also a photographer, moved to the Bay Area in 2005. Aleksey has participated in exhibits in New York and San Francisco and has received awards for his creative work. He and his wife are now working towards making photography their fulltime career.