Ask anyone the simple question, “Who are you?” and you are guaranteed a concise response that is boiled down to a few key points- ignoring the layers of formative experience that led to the construction of identity. This bothers Charles Slender, artistic director of FACT/SF, enough that his newest work, Pretonically Oriented v.3 seeks to dissect the formation of identity and render it in live, multidisciplinary performance, where the creation of a dance work stands as a metaphor for identity formation and video documentation of the rehearsal process is viewed along with the live presentation. “This project provides real insight into the creative process of dance-making… and creates a dialogue about how things become what they are.” (the “pre” of the word pretonic- “tonic” meaning the syllable of a word that is stressed or emphasized).
Slender is known for work that is both intellectual and witty, that ranges from highly minimal to highly physical. “Perfect pirouettes and elegant extensions are paired with something deep, slightly dark and always thought-provoking,” says SF Bay Guardian’s Ariel Soto. One never knows what they might do next, and the audience is often involved. But FACT/SF isn’t just about thought-provoking performance; it’s looking to increase the viability of the performing arts; stretching its boundaries and ensuring its future survival. To accomplish this (since its 2008 inception), the company has performed locally 53 times and completed a statewide live performance crusade in every one of the 173 Wal-Mart locations in California.
“Pretonically Oriented v. 3 is the most risky work I have made,” states Slender. “I have been really fortunate to study with choreographers from different cultural backgrounds, so I think I bring all of that diverse experience to the rehearsal process… having a broad experience hopefully contributes to creating work that can resonate with the audience on many levels.” The company’s 2011 residency with CounterPULSE provided space to experiment and investigate. “Often I feel pressure to work quickly towards a final product, and I think this limits how rich and deep a work can be… I think audiences will be surprised at how original this work is… perhaps knowing more about how it was created will unlock a new, helpful piece of knowledge for the audience.”
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