Maureen Whiting Company Presents:

BURDEN OF JOY

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AUGUST 25 | 2:00 PM
Z SPACE | 450 Florida Street, San Francisco

From Maureen Whiting:
Burden of Joy is an interactive dance and music quartet combining elements of grief and joy to open the door for transformation, possibly viewing joy as a radical act or choice amid death and sorrow. It is inspired by my mother’s life and my experience of her suicide over twenty years ago.  The stark Western ranching world she grew up in—the bear stories, red cowboy boots, the fences and horses—is embedded in this work as much as the cryptic messages of my mother’s dreams that she wrote about the months and days before she took her life.  I am guided by a deep belief that art can transform and heal. Through this avant grade installation based dance work, I hope the audience can see life and death with equanimity, that joy is a radical act in the face of grief, and we can be encouraged to live more fully through an experience of art. 

Live music is by Motoko Honda (performer)  and recorded music is by Composers Michael Zapruder and Eyvind Kang (soloist Kala Ramnath).  Dancers are Ezra Dickinson, Valencia James, Meredith Webster and Maureen Whiting.  Costume and Design are by Danielle Blackwell. This project was supported by Z Space’s Technical Development Residency Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

ABOUT MAUREEN WHITING

Maureen Whiting is a choreographer, dancer, and mathematician based in Oakland, California. She has shown work in the Bay Area for the last six years as well as teaching in Oakland Public Schools. Her work was supported in Seattle for over 20 years by On the Boards, Seattle University, Velocity Dance and ACT Theatre where she also developed “Ramayana” with nationally acclaimed directors. She taught dance at Seattle University’s Theatre Department for 3 years and has taught many workshops on improvisation and the creative process. As well as theatre work she has done installations in hotel rooms, outside in a military fort, and in galleries. Beyond the West Coast she performed her work in New York, Philadelphia, Alaska, and Europe. Company work expands to site specific pieces and films. Maureen created film and video projects for Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum and released a short as part of Seattle Women in Film in 2007. Maureen grew up a ballet dancer and trained in improvisation with Stephanie Skura (while dancing in her company) and Joan Skinner among others. She graduated with a degree in Mathematics in 1989 from Smith College and currently teaches mathematics. This is her Ted Talk on Art and Mathematics.

Maureen has had a dance company since 1997. The creations within her dance company with her collaborators are deeply investigative, well researched and with rich visual imagery. Maureen Whiting’s work reflects colliding forces of rigorous mathematical thinking and subconsciously sourced visual poetry. She mines her own personal narrative to achieve the kind of immediacy associated with a fascinating myth or an unshakable dream. Conceptual, visceral and personal, her work strives to be as immediate and available. The result is choreography that has been described as ritualistic “particularly beautiful and eccentric…making a ritual you’re convinced you remember from a dream.” (Seattle Weekly).