Dance Discourse Project #22

Dance Discourse Project 22:  animal, human, posthuman
Mon, Mar 28, 2o16 7:30pm
CounterPulse, 80 Turk St, SF

Taxonomies have boxed in humans (and in particular certain humans) as separate and above other lives. Posthumanism & decolonization are knocking “human” off the pedestal of privilege relative to all other life forms. How do we as dance artists feel and express these myriad ways of seeing the human form? In DDP22, animal, human, posthuman, we examine and blur the lines of bodies and intelligences, individual and collective, within dance, technology and nature. As we question decaying artificial taxonomies, we find ourselves on un/familiar. Moderated by Christina Leyva, with panelists Eddie Madril, Abby Crain, and Maurya Kerr.


Christina Leyva is on staff at Dancers’ Group. She directs The Bee Dance Project, an intertraditional dance & art activist installation about pollinators, the beauty of their world, and the environmental crisis we face together, in collaboration with her partner David Michael Karabelnikoff (Aleut/Athabaskan). They are active in the social and environmental change community, and performed the piece at Bioneers and NorCal Climate Mobilization (2015). She also co-directs anthrocollagik sound + movement co., a site specific and dance film company, with composer-filmmaker Amy Ling Huynh, screening work in the US and Mexico. Christina’s background is in improvised movement; she has studied modern dance at The Ailey School, Cornish College of the Arts, and received her BA in World Arts & Cultures, Dance at UCLA, with a focus on choreography and arts activism. She has performed with Waewdao Sirisook’s Lan Sattha Thai dance company since 2008 in the US and Thailand, and has studied Balinese dance with Gamelan Çudamani (Indonesia), Gamelan Burat Wangi (LA) and Gamelan Sekar Jaya (Berkeley). She is currently in choreographic mentorship with Rulan Tangen, director of Dancing Earth. Many thanks to Edgar Mendez for wonderful insight and conversation on this topic, Mary Armentrout for her ideas, mentorship and trust, Deni Leonard for sharing his writing, Pennie Opal Plant for her advice and advocacy – and to David Michael Karabelnikoff for getting a dream off the ground and asking, “What do the Bees say?”


Abby Crain is an Oakland, California based artist who makes dances and other obscure structures for performance. Most recently she has been engaged in a year long epic collaboration with Mara Poliak and Maryanna Lachman called Snake Talk, a disquieting feminist gothic sublime transformational spectacle for the stage that premieres April 1-3, 2016 at Counterpulse. Snake Talk is the third component of a three year (so far) cycle of work she has been engaged in which she sometimes calls “Interspecies Navigations,” which included Elephant (2014) and CREATURE HUMAN CREATURE HUMAN CREATURE HUMAN (2015). Abby has taught and performed nationally and internationally primarily with Miguel Gutierrez and Sara Shelton Mann. Her curatorial projects include working with the FRESH festival and organizing the NO THANK YOU SHOW, which asked artists to represent or

stage work that has been rejected by granting organizations, theaters, collaborators, or the artists themselves. Her work is influenced by an ongoing polymorphous teaching and research project with Margit Galanter called Art Workouts, and a collaborative dialog around language and performances with Oakland poet, David Buuck. She was certified by Stephanie Skura to teach Open Source Forms in 2014. She is the mother of two children.

Maurya Kerr founded tinypistol after a twelve-year career with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. tinypistol has been honored by a 2011 Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition award, a 2012 CHIME grant, a 2014 University of Minnesota Cowles Visiting Artist grant, and selection to Whim W’Him’s 2015 Choreographic Shindig. Her project beast (2014) was funded by grants from the Rainin Opportunity Fund at ODC Theater, the Zellerbach Family Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Lighting Artists in Dance, CA$H, and the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation. Maurya’s work has been commissioned and presented by AXIS Dance Company, Whim W’Him, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, WestWave Dance Festival, the Black Choreographers Festival, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival, among others. Maurya is on faculty with the LINES Ballet educational programs and has conducted residencies nationally as a visiting guest artist with BODYTRAFFIC, Hollins University, University of South Carolina, Webster University, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow, among others. She is currently an ODC resident artist, and pursuing an MFA through Hollins University. She is grateful (for everything).

Eddie Madril is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora Mexico. For over 30 years, he’s been an active member of the Native American community and a representative of his culture through various aspects. He has been an active participant as a member of the Board of Directors for Friendship House of American Indians Inc. for 15 years and a member of the advisory committee for 10 years at the De Young Museum for their Native programming where he recently produced an all Native fashion show including traditional regalia and his modern designs. He was recently awarded the KQED Community Hero award for his contributions to the Bay Area Native community. He teaches American Indian studies courses at San Francisco State University and the College of Marin. As a dancer and educator he has performed throughout the United States, and has taken his Native dance group on tour to France. He was also nominated for the prestigious Isadora Duncan Dance Award as a soloist for his hoop dance presentation in the play Sun Dagger Solstice and again for visual design at the Ethnic Dance Festival.