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Two and IzumonookunI (excerpt)

A split-bill evening, featuring new work by Shura Baryshnikov and Adrienne Taylor, and Aretha Aoki and Ryan MacDonald.

Fri, July 22, 7:30 pm
65 mins
The BDF Tent

In Two, Shura Baryshnikov and cellist Adrienne Taylor, long term collaborators, have drawn upon their creative history together to build a process focused on deep listening, observation, and response. When examining the etymology of the word communication, we learn that it literally means “to make common.”  Within this fundamental pursuit, the duo has pursued shared choice-making structures, creating new – common – languages and modes of understanding through creative research into the vulnerable passage between choreographed/composed materials and improvisatory scoring.

IzumonookunI is a dance inspired by Izumo no Okuni, founder of the Japanese dance-drama form, Kabuki—a form that currently contains little trace of its female-centric, grassroots origins. Choreographer Aretha Aoki and sound and visual designer Ryan MacDonald are re-imagining Okuni as a punk rock/sci-fi figure in a landscape of built objects, digital design and live synthesizer. The piece touches on the tensions between erasure and hyper visibility and is an ode to the women in Aoki’s ancestry of whom little is known.

“…concentrated, somatic driven, and rich with succulent quality.” -The Huffington Post

“Aretha Aoki, uses her dances to research memory, uncover where it resides in the body and commune with ghosts from the past, “the effect of which is otherworldly and absolutely arresting…” -Maine Today

“Aretha Aoki: performs with abandon and an unequivocal commitment to any task at hand. She embodies tension, strife, triumph, and an occasional irony with an enduring deftness that has come to characterize her performance work.” –Cassie Peterson, The Brooklyn Rail

Shura Baryshnikov is a Rhode Island-based multimodal artist who works broadly as a dancer/actor/improviser, somatic movement educator, director, and choreographer for projects across dance, theatre, opera, and film. Recent performance, choreography, and directorial credits include projects with Boston Lyric Opera, Khambatta Dance Company, Urbanity Dance, Odyssey Opera, Trinity Repertory Company, The Gamm Theatre, and Betsy Miller Dance Projects, among others. Shura has co-founded a number of dance projects, including the Contact Improvisation research and performance ensemble Set Go and the contemporary dance project, Doppelgänger Dance Collective. She is Head of Physical Theatre for the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. 

Adrienne Taylor’s unique musical voice is inspired by explorative collaborations in chamber music and across genres and performance mediums. Formerly cellist of the Boston Public Quartet, Adrienne has collaborated in performances with innovative music ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, the Sphinx Virtuosi and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. 

Aretha Aoki is a choreographer, performer, and Assistant Professor of Dance at Bowdoin College. Her work has been performed most recently at Roger Williams University (RI), La Mama La Galleria (NYC), Kansas City Art Institute, the Kraine Theater (NYC), School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (Northampton, MA), and the Powell St. Festival (Canada). Aretha has received funding through the Maine Arts Commission (2021), New England Foundation for the Arts (2016), Northampton Council for the Arts (2014) and the National Association of Japanese Canadians (2006). She is part of the 2021/22 RDDI New England cohort. Aretha has collaborated and danced with numerous choreographers including Emily Johnson and Juliette Mapp. She will be performing solid objects by Heather Kravas at the Walker Arts Center in May 2022. 

Ryan MacDonald has worked in sound, text, video and dramaturgy with choreographers Aretha Aoki, Sara Juli, devynn emory and Vanessa Anspaugh. He was nominated for a 2017 Bessie Award in “Outstanding Composition and Sound Design.”  He has an MFA in Studio Art and an MFA in English from UMass, Amherst.

Inside Dance Event

Artist Talk
Tues | July 19 | 7:30pm | Check website for location


Funding for Untitled Duet provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.  
IzumonookunI is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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