May 20-22

Come As You Are: Re-Imagining Art with a Conscience

The final weekend focuses on a trifecta of relationships– Art makers, consumers and sponsors. How can we make commercial art that is socially relevant, appealing, and entertaining? Can we create new systems of value and new models of socially accountable and affordable art production? Can community-centered art pay? How do artists retain their integrity and become/remain commercially viable? How can we build creative markets that don’t dumb its consumers down or lock others out?

Collaborating Artists: Silvita Diaz Brown, Nicole Garneau & Lani Montreal; Nicole LeGette; The Ladies Ring Shout, Ayako Kato & David Boykin; and with Special Guests Joel Valentin-Martinez & Liz Zastrow

Silvita Diaz Brown is a choreographer, dancer, movement teacher and Yoga instructor.  During her time at the Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico, she danced with contemporary dance company, UDLA- Danza, under the direction of Sunny Savoy from 1997 to 2001.  Silvita had the opportunity to work with many different choreographers, among them: Gerardo Delgado, Karla Barragan, Krissy Spessard, and Pedro Beiro.  In 2002 through UDLA’s scholarship Excelencia Yenkings, Silvita participated in an exchange program with Juniata College in PA, where she discovered Physical Theatre and immediately became a member of the Juniata Theatre Ensemble and performed European Clowning under the direction of Don Rieder, (Clown director of Cirque du Sole), and physical theatre under the direction of Andrew Belser, artistic director of the Gravity Project. In 2008 she obtained her MFA in Theatre with a Movement Diploma Certification from York University in Toronto. While at York University, she  worked with La Belle Époque Gallery, who invited her to create and present work in collaboration with other artists.  In 2008 Silvita moved to Chicago, at which point she worked with David Dorfman as a guest artist for “Underground.” She also was part of the Epiphany Church Dance Experiment with the Chicago Contact Improvisation Community. Over the past two years she has been teaching Yoga and movement for Roosevelt University, UIC, Yoga Now, Self Centered Yoga, Cheetah Gym, Copernicus Center, Bend Yoga and private groups and singles.  From May 2009 to November 2010 Silvita was a member of Antibody Dance Company under the direction of Performance and Butoh artist Adam Rose. Silvita has also created and presented her own works in various venues in Chicago. Currently, she is working on the Supple Trilogy which will premiere in February 2011 at Links Hall; and later at the Susana Alexander International Theater Festival in Mexico.  In addition to the “Supple” project, she is working with OosImaginary (an interdisciplinary performance ensemble directed by Sam Goodman and Lisa Frank).

Nicole Garneau is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist making site-specific performance and project art that often addresses a political issue. She is interested in creating work that is directly political, critically conscious, and community building. Her current projects are UPRISING—5 years of monthly outdoor performances exploring practices of revolution, and EVIDENCE—color postcards documenting the work for subscribers. UPRISING and EVIDENCE are supported by Chicago’s Links Hall. She also curates and co-hosts (with Erik Roldan) the Northern Lights Queer Performance and Dance Party.

Her work is documented at  www.nicolegarneau.com.

Lani Montreal is a Filipina writer, teacher, and performer whose works have been published and produced in the U.S., Canada, the Philippines, and in cyberspace. Among her memorable plays are: Gift of Tongue, Looking for Darna, Alien Citizen, and her most-toured (and personal favorite) comedy drama about gender and immigration, Sister OutLaw (produced by CIRCA/Pintig). She is a recipient of the 2008 3Arts Ragdale Residency Fellowship in Playwriting. Other awards include: 2002 Ostrowsky Award for her memoir “Summer Rain,” and 1995 JVO Award for Excellence in Journalism for her environmental expose “Poison in the River.” Lani teaches at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. She lives, writes, and plays in Albany Park with her spouse, daughter, one dog and two cats.

Nicole LeGette, blushing poppy productions, has been the epicenter for butoh activities in Chicago for nearly 10-years as a performer/teacher and producer hosting international butoh artist events through innovative partnerships with organizations in Chicago and across the US. Recently, Nicole had creative projects in Japan and Indonesia. In Tokyo, a duet-performance grew out of collaboration with a member of Sankai Juku. In Kalimantan, Nicole performed a solo and introduced contemporary performance practice to traditional dance/theater students in a workshop/choreography project at the Lanjong Arts Festival.

Please visit, www.blushingpoppy.org or Facebook: Nicole LeGette or Chicago Butoh Resource.

The Ladies Ring Shout (Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal) seek to widen the scope of representational possibilities for women of color. Compelled to the public testimonial space of performance, we revitalize the call to action articulated by our black/women of color feminist foremothers – Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Barbara Christian, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moruga, M. Jacqui Alexander, Octavia Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Ntozake Shange. While envisioning our performance work as a measure of feminist-focused social justice, the Ladies Ring Shout also uses performance as a workshop curriculum encouraging women to utilize wellness strategies of deep reflection, play and experimentation. The Ladies Ring Shout uses the tools we use every day in our smaller circles of female support – sharing words and laughter, divulging secrets, engaging images, text, rhythm, movement and other forms of expression – in order to cope, to be functional, to heal and to thrive.

Visit The Ladies Ring Shout at http://ladiesringshout.wordpress.com

Ayako Kato is a dancer and choreographer and originally from Japan. Kato established the music and dance group Art Union Humanscape (AUH) with double bassist Jason Roebke in 1998. Fall 2010, Art Union Humanscape ++, an expanded version of the group, performed as a part of Chicago Jazz Festival at Millennium Park together with Josh Berman, cornet; Lisa Gonzales, dance; Julia Mayer, dance; Jason Stein, bass clarinet; and Brian Labycz, electronics. Summer 2010, Kato premiered fifty-one minute dance-piano duo “Dear BACH – Goldberg Variations” with Ayako Yoshioka in Tokyo, Japan. Her works have been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, NYC; Joyce Soho, NYC; Die Pratze Dance Festival, Tokyo; Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg, France; The Other Dance Festival, Chicago and other festivals and venues. Since fall 2010, she is honored to be an artist in residence at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater, the home of Chicago Moving Company. She has been studying anatomy and Ideokinesis with Irene Dowd since winter 2007.

Learn more about Ayako at www.artunionhumanscape.net

David Boykin is one of the most original and dynamic artists in the Chicago music scene. He is a composer, bandleader, and a multi-reed instrumentalist performing on the tenor and soprano saxophones, the Bb soprano and bass clarinets, and the drum set.  He has received many grants and awards for his talents as a composer.  He is the leader of the David Boykin Expanse; founder of Sonic Healing Ministries; partner of the cooperatively led Boykin, Seigfried, and Reed; and a collaborator of many other artists. David Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997.  Since 1997 he has released 10 album length recordings as a leader and appeared on other prominent musician’s recordings; and performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and abroad.

Recently featured on Chicago Artists Resource, Joel Valentín-Martínez assembled Valentín Projects, a collective of three artists—himself, Liz Zastrow (dancer/writer), and Javier Marchán Ramos (dancer)—to develop his work presented in SOMBRAS.  Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Valentín-Martínez initiated his theater and dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamencos, Oakland’s Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. He was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) from 1990-2003 and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2003, Mr. Valentín-Martínez has devoted his time to teaching at the university level and developing his own choreography projects. On a shared-bill program, his work Tlatelolco Revisited (2008) was recognized by the Chicago Tribune and hailed “the most galvanic debut of the evening” by the Chicago Sun-Times. Both this and his Misplaced Flowers (2010) with Fulcrum Point New Music Project were commissioned by Luna Negra Dance Theater and premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. Valentín-Martínez recently choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (2009) at the Steppenwolf Theatre, and has developed choreography for the Joel Hall Dancers and the multimedia performanceImperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta/A Mariachi Opera in Four Acts (2008), which was performed at El Museo del Barrio in New York City (2009) and throughout California. Valentín-Martínez is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Theatre Department at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Northwestern, he taught dance at Arizona State University and the University of Rochester.  In May 2011, he will be awarded his Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts—Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts.

Liz Zastrow began formal dance training in college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, augmenting her studies at Milwaukee Ballet School, Bates Dance Festival, Joffrey Ballet School, and Garth Fagan’s Summer Movement Institute on full-tuition scholarship. She danced her choreography at Milwaukee Art Museum’s Lakefront Festival of Arts and has performed with Your Mother Dances and Li Chiao-Ping Dance. Recently, she danced in Liz Lerman’s critically acclaimed The Matter of Origins world premiere and wrote for the Dance Exchange blog. She edits the Wisconsin Dance Council Newsletter, is a grant writer for Joel Valentín-Martínez, and awaits the publication of her Dance Studio Life Magazine article in May. Upon earning her Dance BFA, Journalism Minor, and Honors College Degree from UWM in May 2010, she received Deans Honors, awarded to graduates with one or more major achievements in the arts.


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