REDCAT’s New Original Works (NOW) Festival returns for its 19th edition with nine new works by artists Achinta S. McDaniel, Lindsey Red-tail, X’ene Sky, Jay Carlon with Micaela Tobin, Joe Diebes, Stephanie Zaletel | szalt, Sarahjeen François, Sara Lyons, and The Rock Collection.
Week One: Aug. 18-20, 2022
Achinta S. McDaniel: Restless autumn. restless spring.
Utilizing improvisation and collaboration to foreground process, artistic director Achinta S. McDaniel and the ensemble of artists of Blue13 Dance Company strip away production to explore the impact of movement alone in Restless autumn. restless spring. Relying on a Fluxus-inspired score, the performers revisit contemporary dance, revealing the multiplicity of intersectional global majority identities, seemingly incongruous to a basic dance score. Largely a response to the isolation and separation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Restless autumn. restless spring. is a return to collaboration and a rediscovery of what it means for artists to unite in a space to reflect on shared experiences and create work together.
Lindsey Red-tail: You can vision with Them
Conjuring both seen and unseen forces of nature, Lindsey Red-tail’s You can vision with Them ensemble dance work explores the journey to finding well water. Inspired by the story of an ancestor who received visions through the wind, this work is a call to be present with nature and those who have lived here before us. Red-tail explains: “The spine of a feather in the sky holds itself together against the wind. The giant plume spreads for miles long crossing the moon on its way to the mountains. The spine. My spine. The air can move through it and lift it up. Carry it across terrain and the sky.”
X’ene Sky: Vengeance
Music and performance artist X’ene Sky’s new musical work Vengeance explores the connectivity between inheritance, state violence, and the way vengeance manifests itself in all parts of our being. Conceptualized in the summer of 2020, while under lockdown in Los Angeles amidst the noise of parrots in her backyard–an invasive species that begun to push out the native birds–and the constant helicopters and police surveillance above and on the ground of her neighborhood, this work is inspired by texts from Angela Davis and Toni Morrison, where themes of flying, surveillance, and surrender permeate.
Week Two: Aug. 25-27, 2022
Jay Carlon with Micaela Tobin: Novena
Derived from Bisaya ritwals for grieving and healing, Novena is a meditative performance that wrestles to confront and transmute suffering into vulnerability, joy, and acceptance. Choreographer/dancer Jay Carlon and composer/sound artist Micaela Tobin unearth and reimagine the Filipinx experience toward queer futurity and collaborate to strengthen, connect, and reinvoke the delicate and intimate web of Filipinx precolonial expressions.
Joe Diebes: ENG
Mixing sound, visual media, and voice in multifarious ways, ENG is an experimental opera structured around a newscast format. ENG confronts the American media’s ‘voice of authority’ in relation to overseas cultures, particularly in the Middle East. The familiar rhythms and rhetoric of newscaster-speak will be musicalized and mangled, redirected and held accountable for the ideological veil it often is. Featuring performers Christina Campanella and John Rose, the sung-spoken words are accompanied by projections and a hypnotic electronic score composed by Joe Diebes.
Stephanie Zaletel | szalt: 5 basic movements (vagus excerpt)
Choreographer and dance artist Stephanie Zaletel’s 5 basic movements (vagus excerpt) engages with the foundational sensorimotor actions – reach, grab, push, pull, yield – as the basis for performers to investigate intuitive choreography, body language, and the relational dynamics of our nervous systems. Set to lectures and interviews of Jungian Psychoanalyst and dream-tender Marion Woodman, as well as live singing, sounding, bells, and harp, 5 basic movements (vagus excerpt) is a dance forward, poetic, non-linear, and symbolic work imagining feminine consciousness and matriarchal logic as an option for how our bodies can move forward and through uncertainty.
Week Three: Sept. 1-3, 2022
Sarahjeen François: Sister, Braid My Hair
Accompanied by the bass, tone, and slap of the Djembe, Sarahjeen Francois’ new theater work, Sister, Braid My Hair, pays homage to the rich cultural practices of African hair braiding through rhythmic poetry and flow. When the ancestors of today’s Diaspora were kidnapped and sold into slavery, they did what they could to hold on to whatever generational traditions, information, lessons, and skills they could– among those traditions was hair braiding preserving the bond it creates. Sister, Braid My Hair participates in the tradition of this passing of knowledge by exploring just how cyclical time can be, examining the effects of the over-policing of Black and Brown spaces, and asking: What happens when unsuspecting Black lives are interrupted by systemic oppression?
Sara Lyons: This Emancipation Thing
Sara Lyons’ This Emancipation Thing is a new interdisciplinary performance that embraces second wave feminist histories as embodied and non-linear. The theater becomes a multimedia consciousness-raising session as archival texts from 1968 and interview transcripts with L.A.-based feminists of all ages and genders create a textual landscape and collaborative installation that collapses time. What resonances and glitches emerge between 1968 and 2022, across generations? With reproductive rights slipping through our fingers, what wisdom must we learn from the activists who ushered in Roe v. Wade (1973)?
The Rock Collection: Fault | Lines
Combining dance, spoken word, sound, and light, Fault | Lines creates a landscape both obscured and defined by darkness. Throughout the new work, the members of The Rock Collection (Erik Speth, Sarri Sanchez, Arletta Anderson, Finn Murphy, Jamar Morris, and Nguyễn Nguyên) oscillate between manipulating warm halogen and cold LED work lights to constantly recontextualize their bodies and the space. Illuminations and shadows become extensions of individuals with their surroundings, their link to one another, as well as the deepest parts of themselves shielded from the appraisal of an outside world. Fault | Lines contemplates the mechanics of memory, origins, beginnings, and human connection—physical and otherwise.