2840 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, California 94110

In the first offering of this season’s NOHspace Presents series, Theatre of Yugen is proud to present The Dance Monks and BodiGram –two Bay Area companies creating new works for this series. Although approached from different backgrounds, both companies look to ancient cultures to create their experimental work.

About the Works

ORIGINS (World Premiere)
ORIGINS is an interdisciplinary project silently inspired by traditional legends from several ancient cultures. A live original music score by renowned Samavesha artists: Laura Inserra (Italy), Pauchi Sasaki (Peru/Japan) and Claudia Cuentas (Peru) is composed to immerse the audience in a work that ignites the senses. Created in partnership with DANCE MONKS Olivia Eng (China/US), Rodrigo Esteva (Mexico), Mirah Moriarty (Roma/US) and Rodney Bell (Maori/Aotearoa), the work addresses and embodies the concept of origin. Origin as a legendary place, a cultural landscape, an ancestral identity, an inescapable longing, a source of life, a spring, a seed of creation, an essential beginning. DANCE MONKS were last seen at their sold-out performances at CounterPULSE SF in 2007. ORIGINS is their latest interdisciplinary collaboration with these powerful and breathtaking artists from around the globe.

Related to a Distinct Entity (Title)
BodiGram will be presenting a new work that explores interests in Asian themes through the Western eye. Related to a Distinct Entity will integrate movement inspired by Japanese techniques including Nihon Buyo, Kabuki Buyo, the Suzuki movement system, and Bunraku puppetry. By adapting a contemporary vocabulary to these forms the dancers will explore ideas of self reflection in regards to culture, history and the present state.

About the Artists
DANCE MONKS http://www.dancemonks.com is an internationally traveled company newly based in the San Francisco Bay area and was established in 1999 by founding directors Rodrigo Esteva (Mexico) and Mirah Kellc Moriarty (US). DANCE MONKS thrives on the creation and performance of experimental dance-art that awakens cross cultural connections and explores the intimate relationship between people and nature. Rodrigo and Mirah recently moved to the area from Mexico City and have performed internationally in some of the most prestigious festivals and theaters of the United States and Mexico and with other renowned companies including Pearson/Widrig Dance Theater NYC (1994-2000), Working Ground Dance Theater, Axis Dance Company, among others. They have performed and taught at The Joyce Theater NY, The Kennedy Center DC, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts VT, Studio 303 Montreal, among numerous others. DANCE MONKS is fiscally sponsored by Dancers' Group SF and has been the recipient of the Zellerbach Family Fund grants, as well as grants from National Endowment for the Arts (Mexico), Canadian Arts Council (Studio303 Montreal), The Open Circle Foundation (East Bay), among others. For this premiere, DANCE MONKS are honored to collaborate with international dance artists Rodney Bell (Maori/New Zealand) and Oliva Eng (US/China). Rodney Bell is of Maori descent from Aotearoa (New Zealand) the Ngati Maniapoto Iwi (Tribe) and a functionally diverse dancer. He performs with other renowned companies including: AXIS Dance Company, Touch Compass Dance Company, New Zealand’s first mixed ability dance company, Dandelion Dance, Sins Invalid and The Foundry/Alex Ketley. Rodney was featured on various television programs such as 60 Minutes, Good Morning Show, Maori Television, and various disabled television programs. Olivia Eng graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a B.A. in dance and currently performs with Brazilian-born Paco Gomez. She has performed and studied in Vienna, Amsterdam, New York, San Diego, Spain and San Francisco.

SAMAVESHA http://www.samavesha.com Samavesha is a group of artists and performers from around the globe founded by Laura Inserra and includes international artists Pauchi Sasaki and Claudia Cuentas, collaborators of this premier. Samavesha is the sanskrit word for divine union, perfect merging of conciousness. The concept of Samavesha is to unite in one time and space different art expressions and to create an occasion for both performer and audience to immerse themselves in that which is being created. Laura Inserra was born in Sicily (Italy) and has played contemporary and ethnic music in different projects as a percussionist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. She has studied classical music at the classical conservatory in Italy. She has given numerous concerts with many famous musicians in Italy and played in a number of concerts of minimalist music by composers such as Steve Reich, John Cage and Terry Reily. In these last years she has collaborated musically and as an technical assistant to Paolo Buonvino, one of the most famous italian movie soundtrack composers. Pauchi Sasaki (Japan/Peru) has been playing the violin since age of five. Her astonishing musical range has made her one of the most well-known violinists in Peru. Charting new pathways for the violin, she has taken the instrument into unknown territory drawing from and blending many cultures and styles from the Andes to the Jungle, from Hindu to Klezmer and from classical to electronic. Her Shamanic background comes through her music giving it a power to assist people to open and deepen beyond the superficial into their interior experience. Claudia Cuentas Gutierrez (Peru) is originally from Lima Peru. She started her music and theater studies at the age 6 and continued through out her life. After graduating from High School she continued her studies at the National Music Conservatory of Lima-Peru. She is currently working on her MA as a Drama Therapist and is also a Latino Storyteller for bilingual and diverse communities

DANCERS: Rodrigo Esteva, Mirah Moriarty (DANCE MONKS), Olivia Eng, Rodney Bell (of Axis Dance Company).
MUSICIANS: Pauchi Sasaki, Laura Inserra, Claudia Cuentas.

BodiGram Bio

BodiGram Dance Company is an emerging dance company formed by choreographers Blair Bodie and Julia Graham. Brought together by their interests in Asian philosophy and movement traditions as well as improvisation and somatic awareness, they blend Western and Eastern thought and form. This is BodiGram's first performance as a company however the work of Julia and Blair has been seen in America and Southeast Asia at Dance New Amsterdam (NYC), Joyce Soho(NYC), Collective Unconscious (NYC), Hatch (NYC), The Kaye Theater (NYC), Boulder Fringe (CO), Philadelphia Fringe (PA), Fire House Theater (VA), SomArts (SF), CounterPulse (SF), Intersection for the Arts (SF), Dancing in the Park (SF), The Dance City (Kuala Lumpur), DA Theater (Kuala Lumpur), and Stadium at Bukit Jalil.

Julia Graham Bio
Julia Graham is a teacher, choreographer, and performer of dance originally from Cincinnati, OH. She spent her younger years at North Carolina School of the Arts studying ballet. She holds a BA in Dance Education from Hunter College and an MFA in dance composition from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of two SAF grants from the City University of New York and two grants from the Scholarship and Welfare Alumni Association of Hunter College. She has danced with Kathy Westwater and Blair Bodie however has recently focused on self produced work. Currently Julia teaches dance and yoga in the Bay Area and is working on the creation of BodiGram a newly formed Bay Area dance company. Julia is a teacher-in-residency with the San Francisco Arts Education Project.

Blair Bodie Bio

Blair Bodie is an emerging choreographer on the San Francisco and New York dance scene and co-founder of BodiGram and "...And Dancers." dance collective. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with an MFA in choreography and received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in dance. She has danced with Ground Zero Dance Co., Kelly Donovan and Dancers, and Joey Liew. She left her native home of Virginia to teach dance, pilates and yoga in Malaysia; where she returns regularly to produce dance works and conduct yoga workshops. Outside of her graduate school studies, her local work has focused on choreography for Clay Chapman's up and coming theater group, The Pumpkin Pie Show, and establishing herself in the Bay area as a dance theater artist.

Official Website: http://www.nohspace.org

Added by edwardschocker on October 20, 2008