La Peña Cultural Center presents:
SKIN(S): a dance work by Rosy Simas
May 19th & 20th, 2017
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705 www.lapena.org
“Skin(s) — the dance — explores what we hold, reveal and share through our skin. It is performed by five exquisite sensing beings. That is what makes this dance a dance. I have just been their guide. I build the frame, the container… they are the sweetness, the energy, the ones that draw us in and make us love the world of the senses.” – Rosy Simas
For the Berkeley iteration of Skin(s) director Rosy Simas (Seneca) is joined by her main collaborator French composer François Richomme, lighting designer Valerie Oliveiro, and performers Zoë Klein, Lela Pierce, and Taja Will.
Simas larger Skin(s) project is multi-faceted in order to demonstrate the multitude of ways contemporary Native people view themselves in the world. Skin(s) is a visual art exhibit, a dance, a film, and a web based media project that will grow over the years. From 2016 through 2017 Skin(s) is being developed in three regions: the Twin Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago metropolitan area.
The Skin(s) project was inspired by Simas’ visits with other Native people in cities and rural areas where she has been touring. Native people are mostly invisible to the wider population, yet the diversity of Native identity is vast. There are 567 federally recognized tribes, and thousands of Native people identifying in multiple ways – defining for themselves who they are.
The Skin(s) film by Elizabeth Day and Heid E. Erdrich celebrates urban Native identity – post relocation in Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities. The film will premiere in the Skin(s) exhibit at intermedia.
The Skin(s) media project is an ever evolving website dedicated to visually demonstrate the diversity of Native identity throughout Turtle Island. This dedicated website will launch May 2017.
“I am Native, I am Seneca, I am also a dancemaker. This is what makes my work Native. This is what makes my dance about Native identity. Because just simply being a Native dancemaker is political. It is my continual embodied political act of creating more visibility of Native people. My Skin(s) dance is a multi-dimensional moving image. It is ever evolving and will shift and change in each location it travels to: Duluth, Berkeley, Oakland, Chicago, Evanston, Riverside. It will accumulate stories and emotions. It will carry those into each new iteration of the work. Skin(s) right now is a dance of sensing… sensing the visible and invisible. It is a dance literally informed by skin, what we hold in our skin, what we reveal, what we sense and how it carries us through the world.”
“The Skin(s) project is dedicated to the memory of Roger Buffalohead (Ponca). Roger was a Native scholar, educator and a historian. Throughout his life he was dedicated to Native education and helping Native students earn higher education degrees at a time when this seemed impossible to many. He taught me many things in subtle ways that I didn’t realize until I was in my 40s. I carry in all that I do his care and love for me and for Native American people.”
– Rosy Simas
Skin(s) is a National Presenters Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Intermedia Arts in partnership with La Peña Cultural Center, Eastside Arts Alliance, Rosy Simas Danse, and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).
Rosy Simas is a 2015 Guggenheim Creative Arts Fellowship. Simas is also a fiscal year 2016 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Skin(s) is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a Minnesota State legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Rosy Simas Danse would like to thank the dedicated staff of La Peña Cultural Center, Eastside Arts Alliance, and Intermedia Arts. As well as shout a big thank you to the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, the American Indian Association of Illinois in Chicago, the Aloha Center in Chicago, Birchbark Books and Kelly Wisecup – who all helped in different ways with our filming. Rosy would like to thank IAIA MocNa, The Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver, and the Right Here Showcase for supporting early stages of this project through residencies and performance opportunities. Rosy Simas Danse all the lovely people who participated in our filming, and our recent donors.