Granada Artist’s Premiere of and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… plus Celebration of the Work of Della Davidson Opens at UC Davis
The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance presents a two-part production: the world premiere of and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… byGranada Artist-in-Residence Ellen Bromberg and a celebration of the work of Professor Della Davidson through choreography and performances by her long-time collaborators. Performances are May 31 to June 3 in Wright Hall’s Main Theatre.
and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… was conceived as a staged installation by Della Davidson and Ellen Bromberg with choreography and media design by Ellen Bromberg in collaboration with Kegan Marling and the dancers.
The second half of the evening celebrating the work of Della Davidson, Department of Theatre and Dance professor 2001-12 who passed away in March from breast cancer, includes choreography, performances and a film by her long-time collaborators from Sideshow Physical Theatre and members of the Bay Area dance community.
The title of and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… derives from the famous James Joyce poem, “The Dead.” Visual elements, including live video of various perspectives onstage, play a large role in a meditative environment of changing light, forms and sound. Performers exist in vignettes as images that rise and fall in time and space, engaging ideas of life, beauty and loss.
In planning this new work, Granada Artist Ellen Bromberg had begun collaborative discussions with Della Davidson. Aware that her life would soon end, Professor Davidson had been deeply probing issues of life, death and beauty. The nature of and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… is driven by Davidson’s inquiry. Bromberg continued the collaborative process with Kegan Marling, former dancer with Professor Davidson’s Sideshow Physical Theatre, and Ryan Ross Smith who has composed an original sound score.
Bromberg said she hopes the audience takes away from and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… “a feeling of the beauty of the present moment through images and vignettes that engage a range of human experience.”
“Della intended it as an exploration of beauty and death,” Bromberg continued. “And it is also an exploration of life. Beauty is tinged with the knowledge of its ending, as is life. They are all part of the same experience.”
Although and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… is influenced by themes of loss because of Davidson’s passing, Kegan Marling noted the show will be an exploration of concepts that had fascinated Davidson throughout her career.
“While the theme of death implied in the title certainly evokes a strong connection to the loss that we all are feeling, the work comes instead from ideas and images that Della has been exploring for years— the permission to let beauty and pleasure exist without critique or justification; the sense of how we feel and experience time; and the capacity for art to be a meditation practice or a way to slide into our dreaming place,” Marling said.
Bromberg and Davidson had been friends and collaborators since their late twenties when they met at a summer dance workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah. When Bromberg became director of the San Francisco Moving Company, Davidson acted as associate director. The two collaborated in many capacities throughout their careers, including the evening-length media dance piece The Weight of Memory, which premiered at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in 2006. Bromberg says that Davidson was the first choreographer to invite her to create video for a stage work after she pursued video as a creative practice. Performed also at the Mondavi Center, this work was a collaboration with Santa Fe’s Theater Grottesco entitled “A Dream Inside Another.”
The work of Professor Davidson will be celebrated with choreography and performances including: a duet by Kegan Marling and Nol Simonse in the style of Davidson’s celebrated work The 10 P.M. Dream; a solo by Kerry Mehling about mermaids and dreams of being a fish; a dance film by Eric Kupers inspired by Della’s creative process; and a playful duet by Jane Schnorrenberg honoring the humor and joy that Davidson brought to her colleagues and audiences.
The evening will close with Undimmed, a piece that was originally choreographed by Davidson and Schnorrenberg in celebration of their friend and collaborator Tracy Rhodes. The work illuminates the brightness of the human spirit and its continuation beyond death. Schnorrenberg originally performed it as a solo, however, in this performance Schnorrenberg will be joined by dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area and Davis/Sacramento.
Ellen Bromberg, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, has been creating dances for companies and solo artists for over 40 years. She has received numerous accolades including three Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bonnie Bird American Choreographer Award, a Pew National Dance/Media Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her video works have been screened at film festivals throughout the world. She is currently Associate Professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Modern Dance.
Eric Kupers has co-directed, choreographed, and
performed with Dandelion Dancetheater since its inception. Eric
is Assistant Professor of Dance at Cal State University East Bay
and is directing the development of the Inclusive
Interdisciplinary Program in the Theatre and Dance Department. He
has been an artist-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center,
ODC Theater, CELLspace, CounterPULSE and the Jon Sims Center for
Kegan Marling is a choreographer, writer, designer and arts consultant. His work reflects ever-shifting interests. He and Jane Schnorrenberg co-direct their own company, entitled spoon. In addition, he has created work for the Move(men)t Festival, National Queer Arts Festival, and has been a resident artist at CounterPULSE. Kegan studied choreography and sociology at UC Davis, where he received the Jere H. Curry Award for Excellence in Dance.
Kerry Mehling holds an M.F.A. in Choreography from UC Davis and a B.F.A. in performance from the University of Utah. In 2005 she formed Talismanic Physical Theatre. Kerry has performed and toured in the companies of Della Davidson’s Sideshow Physical Theatre, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Della Davidson Dance Theatre, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company and several other West Coast companies.
Jane Schnorrenberg received a B.A. in Dance from Mills College and an M.F.A. in Theater/Choreography from UC Davis. She has performed and toured in the companies of HT Chen (N.Y.C.), DanceArt Co. (U.K./U.S.), Lily Cai (San Francsico), Tracy Rhoades’ Exploding Roses, Nancy Karp + Dancers, and Paufve/Dance. She and Kegan Marling currently co-direct their own company, entitled spoon.
What: Two part production: world premiere of and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead… by Granada Artist-in-Residence Ellen Bromberg; and a celebration of the work of Professor Della Davidson through choreography and performances by her long-time collaborators.
When: Thursday–Saturday, May 31-June 2 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 3 at 2 p.m.
Where: Main Theatre, Wright Hall, UC Davis
Tickets: General $17/19; Students, Children & Seniors $12/14