Mar 1, 2021SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony and Bay Area contemporary dance company Post:ballet partner to present Playing Changes, an intimate performance of seven works for solo violin and dance. SF Symphony Associate Principal Second Violin Helen Kim performs each piece alongside accompanying choreography created and performed by Post:ballet Artistic Director Robert Dekkers and Post:ballet dance artists. Playing Changes will be available for free streaming beginning March 4, 2021 on SFSymphony+ via sfsymphonyplus.org.
Filmed at West Oakland’s historic 16th Street Station by cinematographer and editor Ben Tarquin, Playing Changes features seven pieces for solo violin, three of which were commissioned for this project. Featured works include Samuel Adams’ Playing Changes from Violin Diptych; Philip Glass’ Knee Play 2 from Einstein on the Beach; the world premiere of Elizabeth Ogonek’s Cradle Dance; Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Filter; LJ White’s fly, into the light…; the world premiere of Mary Kouyoumdjian’s Water and Dust; and the world premiere of Ambrose Akinmusire’s kodo. Featured Post:ballet dancers include Charmaine Butcher, Cora Cliburn, Robert Dekkers, Landes Dixon, Emily Hansel, Caitlin Hicks, Babatunji Johnson, Jenna Marie, and Christian Squires.
Post:ballet Artistic Director Robert Dekkers: “Helen and I first started discussing the concept for Playing Changes in May of 2020. We were both craving a project to sink our artistic teeth into, something that was honest to the moment we were in and relevant to the experiences we were having, individually and collectively. As the program began to take shape and several new commissions by some truly incredible composers began to come in, I started my work together with the dancers of Post:ballet, rehearsing outdoors at various locations around the Bay Area including Golden Gate Park, Lake Merritt, and Sutro Heights. Each location informed the choreography, and as we found inspiration from our surroundings and explored ways to work with the various surfaces we were dancing on, I discovered new modes of creating and let go of some of the rigidity that had been holding me back when I was creating work in a studio environment. No mirrors, no expectations, just pure joy and gratitude for the opportunity to connect with one another in a safe, creatively charged, curious space. Each dancer brought their unique experiences of this time to our process, and some rehearsals were filled with as much talking as dancing. This opportunity to connect with one another, to reflect on the moment, and to express our feelings—highs and lows—allowed us to use our constraints as a catalyst for creativity and lean into the realities of the moment instead of running away from them. I'm grateful for everyone’s capacity and willingness to adapt, to explore, and to search for beauty in even the most difficult of times. This work is, for me, a celebration of our collective resilience.”
San Francisco Symphony Violinist Helen Kim: “Over the past several months, a common topic of conversation in my circle of family and friends has been the question of how to engage the artistic community around us to create meaningful, collaborative work during the pandemic. As this question became a well-trodden refrain, my husband, Samuel Adams, suggested I reach out to Robert Dekkers, his longtime collaborator and the artistic director of Post:ballet. Our conversations led us to the creation of Playing Changes, a collection of seven short works which weave together music for solo violin and dance. A ‘visual album’ of sorts, the films are framed by the beautiful architecture of Oakland’s historic 16th Street Station and shot by YAKfilms cinematographer Ben Tarquin.
As we felt it important to craft the entire program with music by living artists, Robert and I commissioned composers Ambrose Akinmusire, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Elizabeth Ogonek to write solo violin works to be performed alongside four pre-existing compositions by Samuel Adams, Philip Glass, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and LJ White. Building this project with so many dear friends during a time marked by unmooring and isolation was satisfying on many levels, but what I took away from the experience above all else was the humbling reminder that making work, at its core, is an act of optimism.”
Click here to access the Online Press Kit, which includes a promotional video, downloadable performance photos, and a PDF of this press release.
Named “25 to Watch” by DANCE Magazine, Artistic Director Robert Dekkers founded Post:ballet in 2010 with a vision to create interdisciplinary works that push artistic boundaries and challenge social norms. Dekkers and Resident Choreographer Vanessa Thiessen’s collaborative approach to dance making results in works that are “decidedly daring and always beautifully performed” (SF Arts Monthly). Integrating the company’s classically trained dancers with composers, animators, architects, cinematographers, designers, and sculptors, Post:ballet has been presented at Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Festival, SF International Arts Festival, Seattle’s Against the Grain Festival, SF Frameline Film Festival, and SF Dance Film Festival. In 2019, Post:ballet became the official company of Berkeley Ballet Theater, where Dekkers also serves as Artistic Director. Founded in 1981 with a mission to ensure all interested dancers can pursue rigorous pre-professional ballet training regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, or body type, Berkeley Ballet Theater prioritizes teaching ballet in a nurturing, inclusive, and forward-thinking environment. Combined with Post:ballet’s continued commitment to equitable hiring practices and intentional collaboration with diverse and exceptional artists, the company and school are in a unique position to meaningfully ask “what’s next” for ballet, training tomorrow’s dancers and bringing together some of today’s most groundbreaking working artists. For more information, visit postballet.org.
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
The San Francisco Symphony is widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the United States, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In the 2020–21 season, the San Francisco Symphony welcomes conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its twelfth Music Director and embarks on a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape. This exciting artistic future builds on the remarkable 25-year tenure of Michael Tilson Thomas as the San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director. Tilson Thomas continues his rich relationship with the Symphony as its first Music Director Laureate. In their inaugural season together, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony introduce a groundbreaking artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural disciplines: Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and Esperanza Spalding. This group of visionary artists, thinkers, and doers joins with Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony to chart a new course of experimentation by collaborating on new ideas, breaking conventional rules, and creating unique and powerful experiences. February 2021 saw the launch of SFSymphony+, the San Francisco Symphony’s on-demand video streaming service. For more information, visit sfsymphony.org.
Presented by the San Francisco Symphony
Produced by Post:ballet
Released March 4, 2021 on SFSymphony+ (sfsymphonyplus.org)
Helen Kim violin
Ben Tarquin cinematography and editing
Robert Dekkers choreography, in collaboration with Post:ballet dance artists
Samuel Adams audio recording, editing and sound design
Christian Squires costume design
Christopher Dunn costume construction
Travis Andrews mastering and audio consulting
Playing Changes from Violin Diptych (2020)
Landes Dixon, dancer
Knee Play 2 from Einstein On The Beach (1975)
Cora Cliburn and Robert Dekkers, dancers
Cradle Dance (2020) [world premiere]
Caitlin Hicks, dancer
Daniel Bernard ROUMAIN
Christian Squires, dancer
fly, into the light… (2013)
Emily Hansel, dancer
Water and Dust (2020) [world premiere]
Charmaine Butcher and Babatunji Johnson, dancers
kodo (2020) [world premiere]
Jenna Marie, dancer
[For the full PDF version of this press release, click the Download PDF link]