in San Francisco since 1990, Fain has assembled a stellar cast of six dancers for "After the Light," including Jeremiah Crank, Katharine Hawthorne, Alec Lytton, Carson Stein and sisters Megan and Shannon Kurashige, whose company Sharp Fine just presented a captivating production at Z Space based on a narrative poem of Neil Gaiman's, "Queen of Knives."
Liss Fain channels Virginia Woolf in world premiere of 'After the Light' at Z Space in San Francisco
More than a dance performance, "After the Light" is an immersive theatrical experience. Designed to evoke the feeling of a medieval cloister with a walkway surrounding a central courtyard, Antaky's set consists of a series of elegant arches through which the audience is encouraged to wander. Rather than the strict temporal control inherent in most dance productions, Fain invites audiences to experience the subjective flow of time in Woolf's prose.
"She opens the book with this very present burst of childhood energy, and then as young adults who feel like they own the world and the future is theirs to define," Fain says. "And then she takes it to when they're older and more reflective, thinking about who they are and choices they've made and the people they never will become. She so beautifully defines how other people influence who you are and how you gradually perceive that in your life."
Exploring the elusive abstraction of Woolf's writing in an installation requires a level of creative confidence that's grown over the course of several projects. The team first collaborated on 2010's "The False and True Are One," an installation inspired by Lydia Davis' writing performed by Jeri Lynn Cohen.
For Fain, the text was the project's launching point. Rather than trying to glean action and incident from Woolf's lapidary approach to time and character, she "uses the text the way I'd use a musical score, drawing on Woolf's rhythms and cadences, images and ideas when I create movement.
"It's not about somebody doing something and then something happens. It's really about an unfolding understanding of life. It's about solos and introspection and the outward energy of a solo. I've tried to bring out the emotional elements in relationships."
Building on the text of Jamaica Kincaid's short story collection "At the Bottom of the River," Fain's team created the 2012 installation "The Water is Clear and Still," which allowed audiences to walk around and through the set during the performance. With "After the Light," the team expanded the audience's realm, placing them inside the action, much like Woolf puts readers in the heads of her characters.
"I don't try to portray this in any narrative fashion," Fain says. Prada Bag Baby Blue
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"In the first and second installations," Fain says, "we created environments where the audience could walk around the performance space.
"The Waves." The piece is Fain's third collaboration in four years with a creative team that includes visual designer Matthew Antaky, costume designer Mary Domenico and composer Dan Wool, who has incorporated spoken passages from "The Waves" into the score.
With her slippery modernist prose and extended interior soliloquies, Virginia Woolf's novels have proved famously resistant to cinematic interpretation. They haven't found much resonance in the world of dance, either, where movement is much better suited for expressing action and vivid emotion than reflective states of mind. But one Pouch Prada San Francisco choreographer isn't afraid of Virginia Woolf. Liss Fain Dance presents the world premiere of "After the Light" at Z Space from Jan. 9 12, a performance installation inspired by Woolf's experimental 1931 novel Prada Bag Leather Types
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