Program - Precarious Pod
November 15-24, 2019
Joe Goode Annex, SF
Choreography: Nina Haft with the Dancers
Dancers: Rose Huey, Jennifer Twilley Jerum, Rogelio Lopez, Mallory Markham, Andrew Merrell, Rebecca Morris, Jesse Wiener
Video Design: Ian Winters
Scenic Design: Lauren Elder
Sound Design: Gretchen Jude
Lighting Design: Rogelio Lopez
Costume Design: Andrew Merrell
Multimedia Engineer: David Coll
Production Stage Manager: Jessi Barber
Action Circle Community Partners
Friday Nov. 15
Saturday Nov. 16
Sunday Nov. 17
Friday Nov. 22
Saturday Nov. 23
Sunday Nov. 24
Wind in the Bones
A few years ago, I noticed a change in the birds that pass through my backyard. What was once a convivial hub for diverse avian migration patterns has become, in just a few years, the territory of just a handful of species. The crows are the most vocal of them all.
What can we do as dance artists about climate change and the current great mass extinction? If we train our movement choices to respond to subtle changes around us, couldn’t we also explore our habits and impulses to become more connected to the environment? What do other animals notice, and how do they respond? Could we learn from them about our own survival?
Precarious Pod began by moving and imagining our way into the lives of other animals that - much like us - negotiate choice and instinct in an effort to survive and thrive. It is an experiment in radical empathy with animals, a new way of engaging in instead of opting out of mutuality with other living creatures.
Crows - among the most intelligent of birds - are winning at the extinction game, thriving even more among humans in cities than they do in the wild. With modest protections, wolves make profoundly beneficial impacts on their riparian ecosystems as apex predators, yet are still vilified and hunted to near extinction. Vaquitas are the most endangered marine mammal on earth. They are not dying of coastal wetland degradation, so much as from greed; drowning in illegal fishing nets that bring fish of a similar size to the lucrative black market. There are fewer than ten of these delicate harbor porpoises now living on our planet, and they resist our efforts to preserve them in captivity.
Precarious Pod started as an effort to channel my despair about death, loss and extinction into action. It has become a communal, life-affirming practice. Join us here.
- Nina Haft
Tonight’s performances of PRECARIOUS POD are dedicated to Frank Shawl and Leon Haft.
Thank you to my collaborators for your talent, trust and moxie.
Special thanks: John Cowan, Gitty Duncab, Pak Han, Emi Kabasawa, Nancy Fishman, Erin Gottwald, Merlin Coleman, Jill Randall, Rebecca Johnson, Greta Hadley, Randee Paufve, Margaret Jenkins, Risa Jaroslow, Diane Frank, Wendy Rogers, Ellen Webb, Valerie Gutwirth, Sima Belmar, Seth Eisen, Mugwumpin, Erika Chong Shuch, Crystaldawn Bell, Claire Calalo Berry, Douglas Berry, Molly Rose Williams, Tanya Chianese Best, Ronja Ver, Suzanne Beahrs, Sarah Chenoweth, Jessi Barber, Wendy Jones, Sam Parker, Angela Demmel, Edward Moyer, Mira Katz, Chris McCrum, Sally Piccioto, Lisa Tenorio, Ann DiFruscia, Cathy Fischer, Anne Diedrich, Lisa Domitrovich, Kate Hobbs, Qilo Matzen, Paige Sorvillo, Adrienne DePonte, Marylynn Morales, Kim Zitzow, Jonah Kagan and Megan Andrews.
Joe Goode Annex: Crew: Ashley Munday, Venue Manager: Grisel Torres, Artist Coordinator: Nicole Maimon.
Nina Haft & Company is an Oakland-based contemporary dance company that investigates the deep nature of place. Founded in 2000 with the premiere of The Making of Americans (based on Gertrude Stein’s novel), the company is known for their cultural commentary and site-specific works, as well as dances for the camera.
Program - Precarious Pod
Precarious Pod is made possible with support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Lighting Artists in Dance Award and CA$H Grant (programs of Dancers’ Group), CSUEB Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Anonymous Foundation, and generous individuals.
Claire Calalo Berry
Robert Schout and Leandro Viana
Kathryn Joy Stevens
Artistic Director Nina Haft has been an artist in residence with the California Arts Council, City of Oakland Public Libraries, Djerassi Resident Artist Program, CHIME (Margaret Jenkins’ Dance Company Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange), Hambidge Center for Arts and Science and at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. Haft has received funding from the City of Oakland Creative Arts Fellowships, Theatre Bay Area, Met Life New Stages for Dance, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, W.A. Gerbode Foundation, Clorox Company Foundation and Zellerbach Family Foundation. Her Dance in Unexpected Places Series has presented performances in train stations, libraries, pubs, synagogues, dockyards, government buildings, parking lots and Oakland’s historic Mountain View Cemetery. She is a Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at CSU East Bay and an artist in residence at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center.
ROSE HUEY is a dancer, maker, arts administrator and movement educator based in Oakland, CA. She's danced with Ananya Dance Theatre (Minnesota), and locally with Mix’d Ingrdnts, BANDALOOP, Kim Ip, Hope Mohr Dance, Blind Tiger Society, Sarah Bush Dance Project and Chris Black. Rose spent two years as Assistant Director of Sarah Bush Dance Project and is currently BANDALOOP's Education Manager. She co-directs the Elders Project, creating intergenerational performances with Destiny Arts Center. Rose co-founded ragbag, a creative collective started in 2016. She is grateful to Nina Haft & Co for the opportunity to dive into her wild dancing body.
Dancer, Lighting Design
Rogelio Lopez holds a MFA in Dance from California State University Long Beach and has danced professionally for many wonderful contemporary dance artists including: Keith Johnson, Hope Mohr, Cathy Davalos, Mary Armentrout, Deborah Slater, Randee Paufve, Andrew Merrell, Shaunna Vella and Nina Haft. He is the director of the MFA in Dance at St. Mary’s College of California, and teaches regularly at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley. He is the artistic director of Rogelio Lopez and Dancers making deeply personal works surrounding his upbringing as a queer immigrant. Rogelio also likes to dip his toes into design work including costuming, lighting, and set design.
Mallory Markham is a New York based dancer & teacher who holds a degree in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma. In her professional career, Mallory has had the great privilege to dance for, and collaborate with, many brilliant artists & companies such as Columbus Dance Theater, Helen Simoneau, Kristin Damrow and Company, Garrett + Moulton Productions, Robert Moses Kin, Amy Seiwert, Twisted Oak Dance Company, Blind Tiger Society, The Anata Project, ka.nei.see|collective and more. This is Mallory’s first performance with Nina Haft & Co. For more information visit mallorymarkham.com
Dancer, Costume Design
Andrew Merrell holds a BA in Dance from CSULB and a MFA in Dance Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College. This is Andrew's second time working with Nina Haft and Co! Some other companies he’s recently had the privilege to dance for include: Keith Johnson and Dancers, Rogelio Lopez and Dancers, Abigail Hosein’s ahdanco, Paufve/Dance, and collaborators Nol Simonse and Christy Funsch. He regularly teaches at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and several bay-area universities. Andrew has presented his own work throughout the bay and is currently working with longtime friend and collaborator Shaunna Vella (www.vellmerrell.org) on new work set to premiere in 2020.
Rebecca Morris received her early training from Berkeley Ballet Theater and holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. She can usually be seen dancing for ka·nei·see|collective, Blind Tiger Society, and Garrett + Moulton Productions. Additionally, she has worked with Cali & Co., Kate Mitchell, Mary Carbonara, Risa Jaroslow, Northwest Dance Syndrome, and West Edge Opera. In addition to dancing, Rebecca teaches classical Pilates and is in the process of choreographing her first evening length work—Upon Waking, It Has No Name, which premieres at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center March 20-21, and 27-28, 2020.
Jennifer Twilley Jerum
Jennifer Twilley Jerum is a native Californian, freelance dancer and full time mom to 8 year-old son Adrian. She has been working with Nina Haft and Company since 2016. Jennifer continues to dance, assist and collaborate with Wendy Rogers, and cherishes the relationship; 21 years and counting.
Jesse Wiener grew up exploring movement in Minneapolis, MN, continued her study at Oberlin College and now resides in Berkeley, CA. Past dance projects include works with Nina Haft, Molly Rose-Williams, Kyoungil Ong, Holly Handman-Lopez, and Ann Cooper Albright. She also is currently a co-artistic director of Jiten Daiko, a Bay Area-based taiko drumming ensemble. When Jesse is not dancing or drumming she teaches creative movement, taiko drumming and artistic literacy to preschool and elementary age children, where she continues to learn about the power of bodies, movement and play.
Much of her lengthy career has been spent collaborating within the dynamic world of performers. Her design work has ranged from solo artists (Violeta Luna) to major companies (ACT), as well as her own visual spectacles. This work has been awarded 3 “Izzies” for Visual Design. Since 2000 she has turned her attention to environmental issues and creates lively public spaces and events together with communities in the US and in Latin America - such as the Havana Biennial, Cuba (2012). Interactive works on climate change have been created for various venues (Bioneers National Convention, city streets and the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center). www.laurenelder.com
Ian Winters is a San Francisco Bay Area based video & media artist working at the intersections of physical performance, installations / architectural form, and time-based media. In addition to individual work he often collaborates with composers, directors, and choreographers to create staged and site-specific media environments through performance, visual and acoustic media as well as traditional visual design for dance and opera. He teaches and lectures widely on intersection of live media, installation, and performance and is a 2018-2020 visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex Digital Humanities Lab.
Gretchen Jude is a composer, performer and scholar who was born and raised in the wild state of Idaho. Improvisatory interaction with herimmediate environment forms the core of Gretchen’s sonic practice, as she explores the liminal spaces between natural and artificial. Gretchen holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media (2011) and a PhD in Performance Studies (2018), along with certificates from the Sawai Koto Institute (Tokyo) and the Deep Listening® Institute (New York). Gretchen composes extensively for dance and film–most recently Midnight Traveler, which premiered at Sundance and Berlinale in 2019.
David Coll is a composer of concert music, installation art, and interdisciplinary projects that engage physical presence with technology to create dramatic and introspective works, often to playful effect. David’s music has been featured at festivals around the world. As an educator, David has lectured at both US and Korean Universities. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, with further education at IRCAM (Cursus and Cursus 2), the Orpheus Institute, and the University of Illinois.