Lionel Popkin Investigates Ruth St. Denis & Modern Dance's Past
Questioning the acts of cultural sourcing, representation and transmission
Lionel Popkin Investigates
Ruth St. Denis & Modern Dance’s Past
In an evening-length premiere, California-based Lionel Popkin returns to Dance Place on Saturday, March 2 at 8pm and Sunday, March 3 at 7pm to investigate the cultural and chronological intersections between dance’s past, present, and future. Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore features a compact cast of three dancers and two live musicians, led by composer Guy Klucevsek in his original score for accordion and violin.
Through his exploration of the life and career of Ruth St. Denis, Popkin questions the acts of cultural sourcing, representation and transmission. By confronting his own uncertainties and awkwardness with representations of South Asians, Popkin, who is half Jewish and half Indian, faces some of the most enduring questions placed by this formative moment in the modern dance canon: Was her Orientalism an act of cultural appropriation or a legitimate examination of sources of dance? Can a century of perspective help the contemporary choreographer reach his own point of equilibrium?
Miss Ruth revolutionized the concert dance world, first with her “Oriental” dances from the early 1900s and then again from 1914-1931 with the creation of the Denishawn company. Popkin has foraged through Miss Ruth’s archives in L.A., where she died the year before he was born, and examined her journals, photos, programs, sketches, costumes and notes. Her journals are filled with references to the costumes as the starting places for her dances, and Popkin will follow her through this point of entry. A vast array of fabric and clothing will be strewn across the stage, the performers mirroring our own acts of ordering the past with their arduous attempts to sort through the mess.
About Lionel Popkin
Lionel Popkin has had his choreography presented nationally and internationally at numerous venues throughout the world including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, London, Guongzhou China, and of course, Washington DC. From 1999-2000 Lionel was a Choreographer-In-Residence at the Susan Hess Studio in Philadelphia, PA and he has been commissioned by San Diego's Lower Left Performance Collective, the Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company, Carolyn Hall, and Nejla Yatkin.
As a dancer, Lionel has performed throughout the US and Europe in the companies of Trisha Brown (2000-2003), Terry Creach (1996-2000), and Stephanie Skura (1993-1996). He has served on the faculty of Bates College, London's Laban Centre, Sarah Lawrence College, Temple University and the University of Maryland. He is a certified teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique. Currently Lionel is an Associate Professor of Choreography and Performance at UCLA.
WHAT: Lionel Popkin Presents Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
WHEN: Saturday, March 2 at 8pm and Sunday, March 3 at 7pm
WHERE: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017; two blocks from Redline Brookland/CUA Metro station; free and convenient parking
TICKETS: 2 General Admission; 7 Dance Place Members, Seniors (55+), Teachers (pre K-12), Artists; 0 College Students; for Children (ages 2-17);
To purchase tickets visit www.danceplace.org or call (202) 269-1600
About Dance Place:
Founded in 1980, Dance Place builds a community of dance artists, audiences, and students through high quality performances, commissions, training and educational program. We are committed to enriching the field of dance locally, nationally and internationally. Our thriving arts campus serves as an anchor in the development of our Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC.