Gravity and CounterPulse present dark/lessons/rupture

An evening of performance featuring excerpts from new works by Jess Curtis, and Beyond Gravity artists Silk Worm and RUPTURE

November 18-20 at CounterPulse in SF

September 23, 2022 - Gravity and CounterPulse today announce dark/lessons/rupture, an evening of performance featuring excerpts from three new works by Jess Curtis, and Beyond Gravity artists Silk Worm and RUPTURE. Into The Dark, is a new ensemble work instigated by Curtis in collaboration with a diverse ensemble of Blind, Low Vision and Sighted performers, addressing the physical, subconscious, and literal effects of western culture’s binary mythologizing of darkness and light. Lessons in Anatomy, a new solo(ish) piece from Silk Worm, aims to create a repository for all the negative thoughts, fears, doubts, and second guesses that come with bodily transformation, namely with changing sex. Navigating a medicalized transition, it turns out, produces a landfill’s worth of psychic garbage, and Lessons in Anatomy hopes to take out the trash. &theruptureisnow, an excerpt of a large prismatic performance work by the RUPTURE collective (jose e. abad, Gabriele Christian, Stephanie Hewett, Styles Alexander, and Clarissa Dyas) premiering in late 2023, shares some of the group's research on Afro-Diasporic - primarily African-American - folk games and functions as sites of chance, vernacular, and transformation. Working through Fred Moten’s understanding of “study” as all that you “do with other people…talking, walking…under the name of speculative practice,” RUPTURE sources recreation, rest, and revelry as the anchors between community care and stage composition.

Performances of dark/lessons/rupture are 8pm on Friday, November 18, Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20.

Tickets are $10-$50

ABOUT THE LEAD ARTISTS AND COLLABORATORS Jess Curtis/Gravity creates exceptionally engaging body-based art that physically addresses issues of relevance to anyone with a body. The organization supports the work of founder and Artistic Director Jess Curtis, as well as that of emerging Bay Area dancemakers. Gravity has premiered 13 full-length productions and numerous shorter works with co-producers in the U.S. andEurope, touring to over 70 cities in 15 countries.

Silk Worm’s research-based and interdisciplinary work commingles the worlds of drag, theater, and dance. Silk has presented her work at Berkeley Art Museum, the Cantor Center for the Arts, 2727 California Street, Fierce! Festival, and the Pittsburgh Performance Art Festival. Her practice emerges from eight years of engagement with the Bay Area’s queer nightlife as a drag queen, producer, and barfly. Silk is known as a very good sport.

RUPTURE is a San Francisco Bay Area collective of movement-based artists conducting experiments of Black life and living locally and abroad. Parallel with the cohort’s ongoing research, they work with a Wisdom Circle of mentors to archive inquiries and stage instigations into the state of Black making.

jose e. abad (they/them; Performer/Collaborator, &theruptureisnow) is a queer social practice performance artist exploring queer futurity through anintersectional lens. abad is a collaborator in two queer performance collectives, Yum Yum Club and Lxs Des, and has performed solo and collaborative works nationally and internationally with artists including Joanna Haigood, Keith Hennessy, Scott Wells, Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers, NAKA Dance Theatre, Seth Eisen, Ivo Dimchev, Brontez Purnell Dance Company, and Detour Dance.

Sherwood Chen (Performer/Collaborator, Into The Dark) has worked as a performer with artists including Grisha Coleman, Yuko Kaseki, Amara Tabor-Smith, Anna Halprin, Min Tanaka, Xavier Le Roy, inkBoat / Ko Murobushi, Christine Bonansea and Sara Shelton Mann. Sherwood performed in two previous Gravity works Sight Unseen (2017) and (in)Visible (2019.) He leads workshops for performers in the studio and in natural and urban landscapes worldwide. For over twenty years he has served as a cultural worker in public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors focusing on community arts programming, arts education, arts grantmaking, and as an artist advocate in the United States, with a focus on supporting tradition-based, Native Californian and immigrant artists.

Gabriele Christian (they/them; Performer/Collaborator, Into The Dark and &theruptureisnow) is an Oakland-based conceptual artist and descendent of stolen folk experimenting within somatic practices, language, performance composition, video production and community arts facilitation to locate and center BlaQ (Black and Queer) experience, vernaculars and aesthetics as wellsprings for radical futurity. They are a founding member of BlaQ-led projects: &theruptureisnow, OYSTERKNIFE, and blaQyard. They’ve been involved internationally in multimedia productions and processes with choreographers, collectives and companies like jose e. abad/fugitivity labs, LXS DXS, Sherwood Chen, Lenora Lee Dance, SAMMAY, Skywatchers (ABD Productions), Kim Ip, Mica Sigourney/OX Productions, Sara Shelton Mann, Robert Woodruff, Joe Goode Performance Group, Jess Curtis/Gravity, WePlayers, Larkin Street Youth Services, Destiny Arts Center, et hella al. With this experience, they've also empowered the work and stories of Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) folk, black and brown youth, Tenderloin residents, and LGBTQ+ elders. At the heart of all of their work, they strive to excavate oral tradition and movement as conduits for equitable conversations around belonging, spirit, desirability, abundance, and care.

Rachael Dichter (Performer/Collaborator) is a San Francisco based dancer, performer, choreographer and curator. Rachael performed in two previous Gravity works Sight Unseen (2017) and (in)Visible (2019.) She works often with others and sometimes alone. She makes work about closeness. About the shortest distance and shortening the distance between things - between people. Having studied dance and art history at Mills College and was a 2015 Danceweb Scholar, a 2019 Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and 2017 Artist in Residence at Caldera and a recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. Her work has shown locally and in Berlin, St Erme France, Cork, Portland, Seattle and she had been lucky to collaborate with a number of fierce and talented folks and for four years she co-curated the San Francisco based live arts festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT.

Gerald Pirner (Performer/Collaborator/Dramaturgical Consultant) is a blind art critic, essayist, artist and photographer who studied theater studies and philosophy. In the eighties he wrote for various newspapers on the topics of factory work and social fights. In 1989 he went blind from retinitis pigmentosa. He made in 1992 an apprenticeship as media documentalist and worked as a lecturer. Since 2006 he has been writing for kultura-extra. Later, in 2014, he founded "Gerald Pirner TEXTE ZU KUNST (Gerald Pirner - essays on art), a web page where he publishes essays on fine arts, theater, music and film from the perspective of a blind person. In 2015 he started to work with photography and since 2017 he works mainly in the technique of light painting.

Tiffany Taylor (Performer/Collaborator) is a dancer, singer and actor whose practice is informed by her legal blindness. She uses performance and advocacy work to educate others on the social model of disability and challenge perceptions surrounding ableist practices in performance spaces. She celebrates the integration and intersections of her lived experiences of blindness and queerness into all aspects of her work. Tiffany holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Adrian College and has studied Shakespeare at The University of Oxford. Tiffany has performed under the direction of John Rutter at Carnegie Hall and was a member of the Berkeley Broadway Singers. In 2020 She was one of 12 participants in the flagship five-week Access Acting Academy intensive training for blind and low vision actors led by Marilee Talkington. Tiffany participated in the Axis Dance Company Choreography and Performance summer intensive in 2019 and performed in the virtual On Display Global performance for the 2020 United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities hosted by Heidi Latski Dance. She sits on the Blindness and Entertainment Committee for the National Federation of the Blind Performing Arts Division. Tiffany has been seen as a performer and collaborator in the piece (In)-Visible in San Francisco and Berlin in 2019 as well as Sight Unseen both with Jess Curtis Gravity. Tiffany serves on the board of directors for Jess Curtis Gravity and works as a Visual Access Consultant for Gravity Access Services where she advises on the accessibility and implementation of audio description, haptic tours, web/marketing content and outreach to the blind community.

Styles Alexander (they/them; &theruptureisnow) is a movement artist/choreographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Styles Graduated from the Boston Conservatory, where they received a B.F.A in contemporary performance and choreography. While attending the Boston Conservatory, Styles performed and collaborated in creative processes with choreographers such as Andrea Miller, Robert Moses, Dwight Rhoden, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Doug Varone and more. Styles has performed works by Gerald Casel, Joy Davis, Yin Yue, Loni Landon, Nicole Von Arx , and others. Styles is the co-founder of RUPTURE, a collective of BlaQ choreographers, based out of San Francisco.

Clarissa Dyas (she/her; &theruptureisnow) is a movement and visual artist with roots in the SF Bay Area, Ohlone Land. She centers her artistic practice through the truthfulness of Improvisation and the intersection of identities investigating black & asian lineage, queerness and the belief that movement is a spiritual practice and a conduit of change. Clarissa graduated from San Francisco State University in 2017 with a B.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Health Education. They have had the honor to be a company member of Robert Moses’ Kin and ka·nei·see Collective and have performed in works by Lenora Lee Dance, Cynthia Ling Lee, Talli Jackson and many others. Clarissa is most recently in collaboration with Flyaway Productions and Zaccho Dance Theatre as a company member since 2019 and with Sara Shelton Mann since 2020. She has presented work in CounterPulse’s SEED Residency and REYES Dance, Dance Thrill Fest in 2021 and in the Black Choreographers Festival in 2020. In collaboration with Jakob Pek, they received the 2022 Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency and recently opened an art performance space in San Francisco called The 3rd Floor.

Stephanie Hewett (she/they; &theruptureisnow) is a multidisciplinary artist working within the mediums of movement and sound. She is a graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts in New York City and has studied at the Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. She holds an MFA in Dance from Mills College. Hewett has held artist residencies at Counterpule in San Francisco and the Paul Dresher Ensemble in West Oakland. She experiments with different sonic frequencies to uncover ancestral vestiges in the body and DJ's and produces electronic music under the moniker, Madre Guía. She remains curious about ways of shaping creative resistance to oppressive powers by tapping into spiritual, physical, and sonic defense.

Jules Lc is a new media artist based in the Bay Area who works with electronic sounds to generate alien pop music. The musical experience is of transformation, from familiar to other and back, both for performer and audience. Performances as Shatter Pattern and Waxy Tomb have happened at CCRMA, the Lab, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival and have been released on labels such as Gilgongo Records and Embalming Lately.

CounterPulse is a dynamic movement of experimental art that sparks personal transformation and builds enduring community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture. CounterPulse acts as a catalyst for art and action; creating a forum for the open exchange of art and ideas, sparking transformation in our communities and our society. We work towards a world that celebrates diversity of race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We strive to create an environment that is physically and economically accessible to everyone.

dark/lessons/rupture is made possible with support from Grants for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Council, California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, The MAP Fund, and The Ford Foundation.