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Work in Process Showing: Garden of Wilis
Work in Process Showing: Garden of Wilis

Sat, Feb 04


Guzzetta Hall Studio 194

Work in Process Showing: Garden of Wilis

Michael Sakamoto (Amherst, MA) and George de la Peña (University Heights, IA) continue their creative development of the devised dance theater work "Garden of Wilis" – blending ballet and butoh legacies and reflecting aesthetic and cultural shifts in the performing arts.

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Time & Location

Feb 04, 2023, 11:30 AM

Guzzetta Hall Studio 194, 228 E Buchtel Ave, Akron, OH 44325, USA

About the Event

Join us in Guzzetta Hall Studio 194 for a work-in-process showing of Garden of Wilis by choreographers Michael Sakamoto (Amherst, MA) and George de la Peña (University Heights, IA).

They are continuing the creative development of this work in collaboration with composer-musician Hyeyung Sol Yoon (Jersey City, NJ) and co-director-dramaturg Asher Hartman (Los Angeles, CA). The project is a devised dance theater work blending legacies in ballet and butoh and reflecting aesthetic and cultural shifts in the performing arts as embodied in the artistic, cultural, historical, and personal narratives of the lead performers.

Masks are required for audience members.

Michael Sakamoto (he/him) is an artist, scholar, educator, and curator in performing and media arts. His creative works have been presented in 16 countries, including at Dance Center of Columbia College-Chicago, Vancouver International Dance Festival, REDCAT, Tokyo International Butoh Festival, TACTFest Osaka, Gøteborg Art Sounds, and other venues. Recent touring works include Flash, a butoh/hip-hop collaboration with Rennie Harris, and Soil, a dance theater trio featuring Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian performers. Michael serves as Performing Arts Curator of the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center and published his book monograph, An Empty Room: Imagining Butoh Performance and the Social Body in Crisis, with Wesleyan University Press in 2022.

George de la Peña (he/him) is a performer-director-choreographer-researcher who seeks new knowledge through the arts and sciences. Beginning with American Ballet Theatre, he has worked with George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Clarke, Kenneth MacMillan, Mark Morris, Rudolf Nureyev, Dwight Rhoden, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, Twyla Tharp, Doug Varone, and many others. George portrayed Vaslav Nijinsky in the Paramount Pictures/Herbert Ross film, Nijinsky, followed by film and television projects as an actor, working with distinguished artists such as Alan Bates, Blake Edwards, Stanley Donen, John Turturro, Kathy Bates, and Patrick Swayze. George is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Laboratory. He is currently performing God's Fool with Martha Clarke and La Mama experimental theater.

Asher Hartman (he/him) is a transgender visual artist, writer, director, and maker of live performances. His works, which combine strategies of theater and performance art, grapple with social and political issues in an era of chronic crisis. His works are dense, visual, poetic embodied texts, infused with clown and cringe humor, evidence of trance and psychic journeying, set in engulfing installations designed to disorient, unnerve, and elicit strong feeling. Upcoming projects are It’s Better to Start Out Ugly at The Lab, San Francisco (2023), and to be announced in LA. Recent publications include five short plays for Lifes, curated by Aram Moshayedi at the Hammer Museum in 2022, and a book of plays, Mad Clot on a Holy Bone, published by X Artists’ Books in 2020.

Hyeyung Sol Yoon (she/her) is an artist at the margins of her American and Korean identities who plays the violin, composes, teaches, and organizes arts communities in a career that spans over 2 decades. Hyeyung’s experience of immigrating to the U.S. from Korea at the age of 7 and later traveling to her motherland to experience Korea’s shaman rituals and folk performances continue to inspire and inform her own creative work. Current projects include composing and performing a collection of musical poems: Uhmuhni, a collaboration between Yoon and Hanji artist Aimee Lee inspired by the often unheard stories of Korean and Korean-American women. She is the founder of Asian Musical Voices of America (AMVA), an organization devoted to community-building and activism for change for Asian diasporic musicians, and was a violinist in the Chiara String Quartet for 18 years before celebrating the ensemble’s last season in 2018. The Chiara held residencies at Harvard University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, touring and performing many works by heart, including the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók at the Ravinia Festival in 2016.

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Michael Sakamoto (photo Yvan Cohen), George de la Peña (photo courtesy of the artist), Asher Hartman (photo Ian Byers-Gamber), and Hyeyung Sol Yoon (photo by MG).

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