Photo by Ian Douglas: Aja Carthon, Nola Sporn Smith, Natalie Green, Pareena Lim, Angie Pittman, Brittany Engel-Adams
March Under an Empty reign (2018)
Dancers: Brittany Engel-Adams, Aja Carthon, Natalie Green, Pareena Lim, Angie Pittman, Nola Sporn Smith
This is my women’s march. It may be on the challenging side as it pushes the idea of quiet endurance under the numbing, oppressive political climate and how it feels like it’s never going to end. The virtuosity of these women lies in the small things that may go unnoticed - 20 minutes in a tiny relevé with only momentary breaks, the push through exhaustion and being in unison without seeing each other. Choreographically, unison is used as a feeling of solidarity. March Under An Empty reign’ demands a patience that is difficult and hopefully a compassion for each other’s grit and perseverance.”
Sound Design: James Lo
Synthesis: Justin Simon
Lighting Designer: Joe Levasseur
Set Design: New Affiliates: Ivi Diamantopolou and Jaffer Kolb
Fabrication: Jesse Seegers
Florida State University School of Dance: Janet Cesarotti, Bryanna Dean, Sydney Parker, Ashley Pierre-Louis, Nika Sourakov
Long Island University Dance Department: Ashley Castro, Chanel Stone
Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts: Nakia Abram, Aanyse Pettiford-Chandler, Francisca Quintanilla, Damani Vanrensalier
Sticky Majesty (2016)
Dancers: Hadar Ahuvia, Sarah Iguchi, Molly Lieber, Heather Olson, Meg Weeks
Delving into the uneasy edge of being intimate with the “other” and exploring the unsettling paradoxes of defining “truth” through distorted perspectives, "Sticky Majesty" melds the constructs of truth with the subjective, sensational world of the live body. The piece drew inspiration from informal tea conversations Uchizono had with wide-ranging audience members since 2013. Featuring a score by David Shively and set design by Michael Grimaldi, the piece featured two dances happening simultaneously via dual audience perspectives. Molly Lieber was honored with a "Bessie" in 2016 for her work in this piece among others. The complex production featured Lighting Design by Natalie Robin and Costumes by Wendy Winters and Katherine Maurer.
Fire Underground (2014)
Dancers: Donna Uchizono and Rebecca Serrell-Cyr
Fire Underground draws from choreographer Donna Uchizono’s harrowing experience in a complex international adoption process—creating a work that is both challenging and humane. Fire Underground features a score by Composer David Shively, Lighting Design by Joe Levasseur, set design by Photographer Michael Grimaldi with a stunning performance by Rebecca Serrell Cyr in duet with Uchizono in an evening-length work designed as a “salon” style performance. At its core, this multi- layered work illuminates the complex crises of our times and the interconnections that bind us as we witness the courage to be human. Brian Siebert of the New York Times writes, “the effect is shattering….and leaves the theater scorched.”
State of Heads (1999)
Dancers: Levi Gonzalez, Rebecca Serrell-Cyr, Hristoula Harakas
State of Heads, with its “breathtaking” opening, explores the feeling of waiting. Waiting for a hero, waiting to see what happens. The title originated with the idea that the “Heads” of States seem to be disconnected from the “body” of the country. Initially, The Company used this image, the separation of head from the body, as a springboard from which to dive into the exploration of disjointed-ness and the passage of time in a state of hiatus, where the line between spiritual disorientation and meditative calm are blurred, surprisingly creating a strange world of endearingly odd characters. Composer James Lo received a "Bessie" for the score. Original Cast: Levi Gonzalez, Shannon McCord, Donna Uchizono, Lighting Design: Stan Pressner, Costumes: Wendy Winters.
Thin Air (2007)
Dancers: Hristoula Harakas, Julie Alexander, Antonio Ramos
Uchizono’s fascination with how our sense of reality is shaped by our perceptions is the point of departure for Thin Air, drawing source material from the Buddhist tenet of "emptiness" as well as concepts of quantum physics. Thin Air juxtaposes projected images and shifting soundscapes with the visceral power of dance's physical reality, emphasizing the emotional power of “real” physical contact and intimacy. Dancers: Hristoula Harakas, Antonio Ramos and Julie Alexander, an original score by the iconic composer Fred Frith; video by artist Michael Casselli and lighting by Jane Shaw.
longing two (2010)
Dancers: Anna Carapetyan, Hristoula Harakas, Savina Theodorou, Donna Uchizono
longing two was developed as a dual-location dance work that explores identity in the context of location and cultural perspective. Inspired by the international adoption process that Uchizono initiated to adopt a 4-to-6-year old girl from Nepal, the work used the idea of facing the issue of one’s choice rather than the necessity to create an identity was the springboard for material that Uchizono developed in two paired duets, each one the primary focus at only one of the two locations. The first stage of longing two was performed at The Baryshnikov Art Center with the bottom half covered by a paper set. The audience was then whisked by gleaming white busses to The Kitchen for the second stage of the piece. The choreography challenged the audience’s perception through different stagings and partially obstructed viewpoints to negotiate proximity and distance, formality and authenticity, to redefine notions of meaningfulness and virtuosity using Uchizono’s approach of rendering the awkward beautiful through a dedication to detail and with her unique sense of humor. This was the first appearance of Donna Uchizono as a dancer since 2000. Dancers: Anna Carapetyan, Hristoula Harakas, Savina Theodorou, Donna Uchizono Composer: James Lo, Lighting Designer: Joe Levasseur, Set Design: Ronnie Gensler
Approaching Green (2006)
Dancers: Michelle Boulé, Alex Escalante, Hristoula Harakas, Luis Tintendo
A work for four dancers poses provocative questions about the need for true, real contact. Uchizono uses the experience of witnessing an Indian spiritual guide named Ammachi hug over 5,000 people within a 15-hour period as an inspiring springboard. The surprising result is a dance permeated with the presence of aging. The inevitable walk towards aging evolves without commentary, contrasting the playful and the serious, juxtaposing bold gestures with subtle nuances. Metaphorically, green evokes growth and life. But aging is a part of growth, a part of life, and thus, can be green. The work’s ironic use of an all pink set is a nod to the visual phenomenon that occurs when one’s eyes are flooded with pink, then exposed to natural light: one sees green. Approaching Green features dancers Michelle Boulé, Alex Escalante, Hristoula Harakas, Luis Tintendo, an original sound score by composer Guy Yarden, costumes and set design by Wendy Winters, lighting design by Roderick Murray, and video by Maya Ciarrocchi.
Butterflies from my Hand (2004)
Dancers: Levi Gonzalez, Hristoula Harakas, Kayvon Pourazar, Carla Rudiger (Anna Azrielli was in the first stage of Butterflies)
Butterflies from my Hand is a quartet that examines ideas of "surrender". The work explores movement using personal experiences surrounding resistance, loss, power and uncertainty. Butterflies from my Hand opens with the image of a dancer suspended in air, hanging to a piece of fabric attached to the ceiling. The performer slowly cuts the fabric that she is clinging to, challenging ideas of resistance, giving way, and subsequent falling. The dance poses provocative questions about the possibilities that loss and vulnerability can offer and the power that can be gained through the act of letting go. The title is an answer from visual artist David Hammons when Uchizono asked what would happen if I let go. He replied, "Maybe butterflies will fly from your hand."
Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice states, “Sometimes you see a work so uniquely itself and so perfect in itself that you hope you’ll never forget it. Like Donna Uchizono’s Butterflies from my Hand.” Dancers: Levi Gonzalez, Hristoula Harakas, Kayvon Pourazar, Carla Rudiger (Anna Azrielli was in the first stage of Butterflies), Costumes: Wendy Winters, Lighting Design: Stan Pressner, Composer: Guy Yarden.
Dancers l-r: Levi Gonzalez, Carla Rudiger
Heightening the investigation of weight and the constant, dynamic interplay of exchange between partners through the constriction of space, Low unfolds sensually, spiraling subtly. Both Uchizono and composer Guy Yarden won a 2002 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) awards for Low. The seed for this work was inspired by the profound experience Donna Uchizono Company had through their month long residency in Argentina, in which Uchizono created an evening-length work made in collaboration with COBAI (a coalition of independent dancers in Argentina), and the musicians of the Tobas Indian Nation, the indigenous people of Argentina.
Leap to Tall (2006)
Dancers: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hristoula Harakas, Jodi Melnick
Commissioned by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation to create an original work for Mikhail Baryshnikov. inspired by the creation of the Baryshnikov Art Center in which Uchizono created the work while they were building the center, Uchizono created a piece for “Misha” in honor of the great leaps in his life. The leap from the former Soviet Union to the “West, the great leap from being not only a dancer but the Artistic Director of American Ballet Theater, his great leap from ballet to contemporary modern dance and while the piece was being created, his leap to the creation of a thriving art center. Leap to Tall was Uchizono’s code on how this “Superman” could leap to tall buildings.