A new space for dance and music has opened in North Oakland. Now open for rentals, choreographer Liz Tenuto shares her thoughts on The Meadow.
Tell us about yourself and your artistic practice/s.
I’m Liz, a Bay Area based choreographer. I create original dance pieces for film and theater. My practice is centered on the combination of listening and creating. I start the day with energy work (crystals, meditation, aromatherapy, etc.). I spend most of my time developing a physical language for a piece…like mixing a palette of paints. I love to get the exact colors I want for each work. Afterwards, I compose and arrange the material which I often draw out in a notebook. Once a piece starts to take form, I invite other artists into the space to try ideas with before bringing it into a rehearsal.
What is The Meadow?
The Meadow is my studio space in North Oakland. It has 30 foot ceilings and is filled with light. When I came to see the space initially it had great energy and felt like it appeared out of a dream. The name is a term in classical music that means ‘the transcendent space.’ Going to the meadow is the feeling of the state of creation to me.
What do you work on in the space?
Mostly choreography. I also play drums here daily. My partner is a songwriter so the space has a lot of music in it. We have a band (Casey Lee Hurt & The Natural Causes) with my brother that we rehearse here.
Favorite moments in The Meadow?
I put a few prisms in the space and when the sun is out, rainbows fill the room. It delights me every time.
What is a challenge for the space?
Hmm…there’s no air conditioner. Just a fan and a big garage door to open. It can get sweaty!
What is a list of a few dream ‘pieces’ you imagine happening there?
I have a vision of The Meadow being a hub for creation. Like a think-tank or a lab. It has been and continues to be a really inspiring place for me to make a lot of different pieces. I’m curious if it could be a sort of inspiration box for other artists as well. There is something really beautiful and fulfilling to me about creating the type of space that expands people’s visions and dreams.
How does it feel to have your own space?
Dream come true! It’s really shifted how often I create. And when. Sometimes my best ideas come late at night and it’s wonderful to have space to act on it as it happens organically.
If The Meadow had a favorite song, what would it be?
Heaven I Know by Gordi
What programs or activities do you have coming up at The Meadow?
We are starting to rent out the space to other artists through Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces, which I’m really excited about. I’m workshopping a new piece here this summer that will premiere in Brooklyn. I’m also creating some choreography for a couple plays [Shakespeare In Love (Marin Theater Company) and The Farm (Theaterfirst)] and have band practice. Lots of song and dance will be happening.