DAVID ROUSSEVE’S “STARDUST” PREMIERES AT PEAK PERFORMANCES, FEBRUARY 6-9
How does human intimacy fare in a world bewitched by speed and technology? This question is central to “Stardust,” David Roussève’s most recent dance/theater work, which is scheduled for its local premiere at Peak Performances, February 6-9.
Using a sound score that juxtaposes the creamy warm romanticism of Nat King Cole with the rough-edged, hip-hop-based original music of d. Sabela grimes, Roussève’s choreography is divided between lush, jazz-inflected dancing, and the frenetic, angular expression of the protagonist’s anxious mind. The dance, in which grief and joy, beauty, and horror collide, marks Roussève’s first work without spoken text, and the first without the choreographer in the leading role. In Stardust, the protagonist, a gay African American teen, is never seen on stage; his emotional and spiritual situation is expressed in unanswered text messages that are projected onto a screen.
Cari Ann Shim Sham’s video art, serving as a backdrop for Rousseve and his 10 performers, illuminates the tension between the heightened sense of connection and concurrent loneliness created by the cyber-age. Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns was the dramaturge. Christopher Kuhl designed the lighting and Leah Pieh, the costumes.
Where To Go
The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043. Tickets are $20, and are available at the box office, www.peakperfs.org, or by calling 973-655-5112. The performance will take place at 7:30PM on Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7; 8:00PM on Saturday, February 8; and 3:00PM on Sunday, February 9.
Charter bus service is provided from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal – arcade on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues – to the Alexander Kasser Theater ($10 per person, roundtrip) for all Saturday and Sunday performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973-655-5112 or by visiting www.peakperfs.org. For train service, available only on weekdays, go online to www.njtransit.com or call 973-275-5555.
For restaurants close to the Alexander Kasser Theater, visit www.destinationmontclair.com. February 6-9
Times: February 6-7 at 7:30pm, February 8 at 8:00pm, February 9 at 3:00pm
Choreographer, writer, director and performer David Roussève is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he studied politics, theater, dance, and African studies. Roussève founded David Roussève/REALITY, a dance/theater company of ten performers with the dual commitment to theatrical performance and community outreach in 1989.
Since its founding 25 years ago, REALITY has performed to overwhelming critical acclaim in venues ranging from intimate alternative theaters, to vast opera houses, to major festivals across the globe. Some of the U.S. venues and festivals include the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center, The Kitchen, P.S. 122, LaMama, Peak Performances
at Montclair State University in NJ, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA, Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA, and UCLA’s Royce Hall, and The Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Abroad, the company has been seen at the American Center, Paris; Birmingham Repertory Theater, Birmingham, England; Biennale de la Danse, Lyon, France; Internationales Sommer Theater Festival, Hamburg, Germany; Carlton Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Mercardo Cultural Festival, Bahia, Brazil; and Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, England.
Tour engagements for REALITY always include community activities that feature a wide range of master classes, workshops, video screening, lectures, open rehearsals, and post-performance discussions for an equally wide range of (often disempowered) communities.
Roussève has made dances for the Houston Ballet; Salt Lake City’s Ririe-Woodbury; Ballet Hispanico; the Atlanta Ballet; Pittsburgh’s Dance Alloy and Denver’s Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater.
In addition to being named a 2004 Guggenheim fellow, Roussève’s awards include the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, “First Place Screen Choreography” at the IMZ International Dance Film Festival, a Creative Capitol Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award, three Lester Horton Dance Awards, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance, a California Arts Council Choreography Fellowship, seven consecutive fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni. In 1996 Roussève joined UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Roussève served as Department Chair from 2003-6 and is currently Professor of Choreography.
Programs in this season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New Jersey State Council for the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts; Discover Jersey Arts; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; and the National Dance Project (NDP) of the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Stardust is commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University (NJ).
The presentation of Stardust was made possible by the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is also provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Additional funding provided by Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the University of CA Institute for Research in the Arts, and the UCLA Faculty Research Grants program.
This tour of David Roussève is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
photos by: Valerie Oliveiro