Festival To Showcase Boundaries-Transcending Dance

“No Boundaries: A Series of Global Performances” presented by the Yale Repertory Theatre and the World Performance Project at Yale, will kick off its 2008-2009 season Nov. 10-15 with a Festival of International Dance.

The festival features new work by three internationally acclaimed performer-choreographers: Israeli Yasmeen Godder, Kenyan Opiyo Okach and American Yvonne Rainer.

“These three artists express sharp individual aesthetics that articulate powerful — often subversive — personal statements transcending boundaries of nationality, art and culture,” say festival organizers.

Yasmeen Godder

Godder studied American modern and postmodern dance, performance art and performance theory in New York before returning to her home country. For nearly a decade, she has used dance as commentary on the politics and culture of Israel.

The Festival of International Dance will feature the U.S. premiere of her “Singular Sensation,” on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11 and 12, at 7 p.m. in the New Theater, 1156 Chapel St. In this one-hour performance, five individuals explore the range of sensation - from the artificial to the authentic - and push the boundaries of their own numbness to provoke a “singular sensation” in each other and themselves. According to festival organizers, “Singular Sensation” raises “questions of identity and connectedness in a hyper-informed, overly self-conscious age.”

Opiyo Okach

Okach will make his American debut at the festival. He travels between his home country and France, absorbing and reprocessing the cultures of both countries in his “subtle poems-in-motion,” festival organizers say.

Two of his pieces will be featured at the festival: “No Man’s Gone Now,” which evokes the transience of experience (the ephemeral nature of time, place, objects and choices), and “Territories in Transgression,” which explores the body as the site of transgression - personal, social, cultural and political - and its attempts to negotiate and construct its own identity.

The performances of Okach’s works will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11 and 12, at 9 p.m. in the New Theater.

Yvonne Rainer

Rainer is credited as a pioneer of postmodern dance. Her work draws from a variety of disciplines and media.

The festival will feature Rainer’s “RoS Indexical” and the world premiere of “Spiraling Down.”

“RoS Indexical” is a “re-vision” of “The Rite of Spring,” a collaboration between choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky and composer Igor Stravinsky that shocked Paris audiences in 1913 with its “primitive” movement vocabulary and dissonant musical score. According to Marcia Siegel of The Hudson Review, Rainer’s new work “not only destabilizes the notion of ‘The Rite of Spring’ as an iconic achievement in dance history, she allows us to see that a work may live on in greatly altered form.”

“Spiraling Down” was commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Research and the World Performance Project at Yale. This work draws its inspiration from a variety of sources, including newspaper photos, soccer moves, old movies, classic modern dance, ballet, Steve Martin, Sarah Berhardt and Rainer’s own disinterred dances from the 1960s - all of which contribute to “the nostalgia and paradox of Rainer’s new dance,” say festival organizers.

Rainer’s performances will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. at the New Theater.

Tickets for the Festival of International Dance at Yale are $15 ($10 for students) and are made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tickets are available online at www.yalerep.org, by calling (203) 432-1234 or in person at the Yale Rep box office, 1120 Chapel St.

Related events

There is a series of events being offered in conjunction with the festival. All are free and open to the public.

Each of the choreographers will participate in interactive dance workshops, co-sponsored by the Alliance for Dance at Yale.

Godder’s workshop will take place on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2-4 p.m. in Rm. 351 of the Loria Center, 190 York St. Okach will lead a dance workshop on Monday, Nov. 10, 2-4 p.m. in the third-floor dance studio of Broadway Loft Studios, 294 Elm St. A dance workshop with Rainer will take place on Friday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m.-noon in the third-floor dance studio of Broadway Loft Studios. The workshops will be offered to the first 30 people to arrive.

Peggy Phelan, a professor of English and drama at Stanford University, will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining distinctions between dance, performance, theater and movement on Monday, Nov. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in Rm. 351 of the Loria Center. Her talk — titled “Movement Performance and Dance Theatre, or, (Where) Should the Commas Go?” — will concentrate on the legacy of the Judson Dance Theatre on the one hand and Pina Bausch on the other. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of the History of Art.

A panel discussion on “Movement in the Age of Globalization” will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. at the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St. Co-sponsored by the gallery and African American Studies, this discussion will feature Godder, Okash and Rainer, who will explore the diaspora of contemporary dance aesthetics and the relevance and power of movement in the age of globalization, among other topics. Thomas F. DeFrantz, a visiting professor at Yale, will moderate.

A panel discussion on “Yvonne Rainer in the 21st Century” will take place on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. at the Yale University Art Gallery. Dancers Patricia Hoffbauer, Sally Silvers, Keith Sabado and Emily Coates, and Carrie Lambert-Beatty, author of “Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s,” are the panelists. Yale Professor Joseph Roach will moderate this event, which is co-sponsored by the Yale University Art Gallery and the Department of the History of Art.

In addition, there will be question-and-answer sessions with the artists immediately following each festival performance.

For further information on “No Boundaries: A Series of Global Performances” series, visit www.yalerep.org/noboundaries.

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