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Three Acclaimed Caribbean Dancers Premiere Work from First-Time Collaboration

Painted Bride Art Center continues its tradition of commissioning new dance works with Landscape on Hold, the result of a season-long collaboration between Tania Isaac, Marianela Boán, and Gabri Christa. All three dancers grew up in the Caribbean before resettling in the United States. Isaac and Boán are longtime pillars of the Philadelphia dance scene, while Christa made a name for herself in New York with residencies and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop, among many others. Working together for the first time, they have turned their attention back to their homelands, using movement and new media to evoke the memories and images of the islands they left behind.

In commissioning the project, the Bride was drawn to both the commonalities and distinctions between the three artists. While their homes share a distinctive natural beauty and climate, they differ widely in cultural
influences, inherited from three different colonizing nations. The Spanish of Boán’s Cuba, the Dutch of Christa’s Curaço, and the English of Isaac’s St. Lucia all leave very different marks on the hybrid dance and rhythmic traditions native to each island. Individually, the artists work between the influences of island and mainland culture. As a group, they find common ground in this experience, but also negotiate the varied heritages across the Caribbean islands.

One thing all of the artists share is an interest in new media, which has emerged as a core element in Landscape on Hold. First, technology has restructured the ways in which the artists work together. Facebook has been a very important part of the process, since it allows us a space for sharing words, thoughts, and images about our similarities and differences, commented Boán. Christa went on to remark, media to me is another performer. Early in residency sessions, they began to film each other, honing in on particular gestures and motions. The final work incorporates live video projections of their tightly framed movements, amplifying subtle particularities to a grand scale.

Obie Award-winning videographer Marilys Ernst will be on stage handling media, joined by acclaimed writer and musician LaTasha Nevada Diggs providing musical accompaniment. Bessie-award winning costume designer Liz Prince has also created original attire for the project.


Marianela Boán
Marianela Boán is recognized as one of the most important artists of contemporary Cuban dance. As choreographer, dancer and professor Boán has worked in more than 40 countries around the world. Now working in Philadelphia, she teaches at Temple University and runs her company BoanDanz Action and BoanDanz Studio.

Her new piece Voyeur was premiered at Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, in September 2007 and performed at Bogotá, Colombia, National University in November 2007. False Testimony (2006) has been successfully performed at la MaMa Experimental Theater in New York, Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Bates Dance Festival (2007), Annenberg Center (By Local Festival, Philadelphia). Chorus Perpetuus (Cuba, 2001) has been touring for five years.

Her work has been presented at diverse venues and festivals across Europe and South America. She has created works for companies and institutions including the American Dance Festival (2000), NYU Politic and Performance Hemispheric Encuentro (2001 in Mexico, 2002 in Peru, 2003 in NYC), Barnard College, Columbia University (2001, 2002, 2003), DTW, Princeton University. She is a recipient of a Rocky Award 2008, commissions and grants including from Cuban Artists Fundation (CAF) 2005, Painted Bride Arts Center, National Performance Network (NPN) 2006, Dance Advance 2007 and 2008, Independence Foundation 2008. This summer Boan will premier two new pieces: DECADERE for BoanDanz Action at Dominican Republic and Bogota, Colombia and STAMPEDE for Hedwig Dances, at Joyce SoHo NY.

Gabri Christa
Gabri Christa’s artistic work lives where dance, theater and film merge, and the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas converse. Born and raised in Curaçao, the Dutch Caribbean, she came to New York, via the Netherlands, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Gabri Christa started making films in 2002. Her first short film High School was a finalist at the Dance on Camera Festival and has shown at Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Cantor Film Center, Monaco Dance Film Festival and on the web through dvrepublic.org. Gabri was a digital fellow and artist in residence at Dance Theater Workshop and at dvRepublic a project of the Black Film Maker Foundation. Her new film series places narrative contemporary dance into historical important buildings for the Diaspora.

She is a recipient of John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards and commissions including from the Jerome foundation, Pittsburg Dance Council, National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund, Arts International U.S. Fund for American Artists at International festivals, United States Information Agency, The Netherlands America Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Culture, Council of the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, and Dance Theater Workshop’s Suitcase fund. Most recently she became the recipient of the Barishnikov Fellowship for the development of her project the Dance Conduction Continuum.

Her work regularly appears in New York, across the U.S., and abroad. As a performer she has appeared in her own work and the work of numerous other choreographers and has been a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. She has been a contributing author to Caribbean Dance from Abakua to Zouka de la Torre Bueno Price winning book.

Tania Isaac
Weaving together movement, text and video, Tania Isaac has toured through the US, the UK and Japan and been supported by organizations such as the Leeway Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Independence Foundation, and the National Performance Network. Additionally, Ms Isaac has been a Resident Artist at Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, and a US/JAPAN Exchange Artist through Philadelphia Dance Projects, Dance Theater Workshop and the Japan Foundation. Her company, Tania Isaac Dance, creates projects, performances and residencies that invite audiences into the process of giving a voice to individual experience.

Tania is a former Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and a former member of Rennie Harris Puremovement, Urban Bush Women and Li Chiao-Ping Dance. In 2006-2007 she was in residence at MANCC (Maggie Allesse National Center for Choreography). She continues to write independently, to conduct presentations and workshops as a Commonwealth Speaker with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and to teach internationally.

She is a graduate with honors from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and received her MFA from Temple University where she was a University Fellow.


Landscape on Hold

May 01, 2009 08:00 pm
May 02, 2009 02:00 pm
May 02, 2009 08:00 pm
Tickets: $25/$12.50 for Bride Members

The Bride is located at 230 Vine Street in Old City, Philadelphia.
Order tickets in advance 24 hours a day at paintedbride.org
or Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6pm at 215.925.9914

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