UCR Presents Dance Exhibition April 2-4

"REPO the body of work" features performance and conversation with choreographer Wendy Rogers

dancer with scarf

A performance of choreographer Wendy Rogers’ “Tropical Chenille” from 1978. Credit: Rondal Partridge

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UCR ARTSblock’s Culver Center of the Arts presents “REPO the body of work: a dance performance & exhibition in conversation with choreographer Wendy Rogers & collaborators,” which revisits or “repossesses” past choreography and archives.The exhibition runs April 2-4.

“REPO” is a multi-year project that encompasses the creation of new contemporary choreography and the archiving of dances, video and artifacts of Rogers’ work from 1968 to the present. Rogers has created dances for four decades, and throughout this time movement has remained compelling and primary. “REPO” engages directly with the temporality of dance and the dancer’s body, raising questions of who dances how over time.

“The immediate agenda of this project is to repossess the dancing from my past and to be repossessed by it,” says Rogers, professor of dance at UCR.

Rogers will be revisiting “Dancing–on–View” (1975), a collaboration directed by Sara Rudner, “Tropical Chenille” (1978), and other moments from her work from 1968 to the present. A short-run, pop-up exhibition, featuring sets and designs by painter Robert Kushner, will be on view at Culver Center of the Arts from April 2-4, 2013, concluding with a performance during First Thursday ArtsWalk on April 4 at 7:30 p.m.

For the performance, Rogers joins with collaborating artists to make dances that re-interpret, re-mix, re-purpose, or combine connections and departures from the past. This emphasis on visible influence, collaboration and accessing histories to create anew contests prevailing assumptions of individual authorship and innovation as the defining values of western contemporary dance. “REPO” makes an important contribution to current dialogues taking place across disciplines around ideas of influence, tradition, authorship, property and the role of history in contemporary art.

In the spirit of a wandering and roving First Thursday ArtsWalk audience, the results for the evening will be a lively presentation by Wendy Rogers of danced findings of the “REPO” process. The collaborating dancers performing with Wendy Rogers on April 4 include John Diaz, Sondra Kazama, Crystal Sepulveda, Patty Huerta and Edwin Siguenza.

“The project’s artistic agenda of revisiting work from the 1970s and ’80s bears similarity to the recent 2011-2012 ‘Pacific Standard Time’ exhibitions and performances instigated by The Getty Research Institute to make visible the histories and contemporary resonances of work by Southern California visual artists from 1945 to1980, said Tyler Stallings, curator for “REPO” and artistic director of the Culver Center of the Arts and director of Sweeney Art Gallery.

The UCR College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Dance Department, and UCR Academic Senate Research Grants provided support for the exhibition and performance.

About the Choreographer & Original Collaborators

Wendy Rogers has choreographed and performed contemporary dances for over 40 years, residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and now in Riverside, Calif., where she joined the UCR dance faculty in 1996. She has worked in projects produced by choreographers Margaret Jenkins, Carolyn Brown, Sara Rudner; composers John Luther Adams, Paul Dresher; and in one instance on the moon of Endor, filmmaker George Lucas. The Wendy Rogers Dance Company (1977-90), and her 10-year projects MAKESHIFT dancing (1991-2000) and WENDY ROGERS dancing (2001-2010) toured nationally and internationally. In her multi-year projects, currently See What Happens (2011 to the present), dances focused by singular concepts evolve and morph into specific performances allied to occasion and place. She has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and most recently, a 2009 Fulbright Fellowship in Malaysia. http://wendyrogersdancing.com

“REPO” began with Rogers’ desire to return to the “Running” section from “Dancing-on-View” (1975), a five-hour quartet directed by Sara Rudner in collaboration with Wendy Perron, Risa Jarolsow and Wendy Rogers, with sets painted by visual artist Robert Kushner. The dance was performed once at St. Mark’s Church in New York City, now called the Danspace Project, which has supported contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States for 35 years. The layout of the Culver Center of the Arts’ two-story atrium mirrors in many respects the layout of St. Mark’s Church in that the performing area is a long space extending from the entrance and both have balconies surrounding the space so that the dance can be viewed from above too.

Although Sara Rudner and Robert Kushner will not be present in person, their work and influence will be in evidence throughout the exhibition and performance.

Sara Rudner is a dancer and choreographer who participated in the development and performance of Twyla Tharp’s modern dance repertory from 1965 to 1984, and directed the Sara Rudner Performance Ensemble and its offshoots. She is a member/director of a dancers’ consortium whose ongoing work is periodically presented in New York City. Past collaborators have included Wendy Rogers, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Dana Reitz, and Christopher Janney. She has choreographed for theatre and opera productions at the Public Theater, the Salzburg Festival, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Paris Opera. Awards include a Bessie, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellowship, a Dance Magazine award, and support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. She is Director of Dance at Sarah Lawrence College. http://www.slc.edu/faculty/rudner-sara.html

Dance Advance, Rudner/Rogers collaboration: http://www.pcah.us/m/dance/capturing-the-tone.pdf

Robert Kushner was a founder of the “Pattern and Decoration” movement of the 1970s. His early works, painted on upstretched cloth, were often worn as costumes for performances. Kushner’s early work blended the artist’s love of Islamic pattern, French modernism, and the art of the Far East with his idiosyncratic outlook. He has continually addressed controversial issues involving decoration and art since the beginning of his career. In 1984, Kushner was the subject of one-person exhibitions at both the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, and in 1987, the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art organized a mid-career summary of his work. In the fall of 1997, Hudson Hills press released a major monograph on Kushner’s three decades of artistic work, entitled Gardens of Earthly Delight. http://www.robertkushnerstudio.com

UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside, and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks (6-9 p.m.). For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time. http://artsblock.ucr.edu.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Tyler Stallings
Tel: (951) 827-1463
E-mail: tyler.stallings@ucr.edu

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