Photo by Chelsea Rowe

Yannis Adoniou's KUNST-STOFF Looks for TKO as it Heads into 11th Home Season at Yerba Buena Forum

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Press Contact Liam Passmore Shave and a Haircut 415-865-0860
Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release -Joni Mitchell
Company known for thinking outside the box will examine grief and humor within the confines of a 50 x 50 square boxing ring set-up in order to accelerate the impact of the dancing on the audience seated around all four sides of the perimeter; male/female duet will emphasize vulnerability of the male torso through shared partial nudity.
YBCA Forum Performances: June 12 & 13 at 8pm; June 14 at 7pm; Tickets $18-22 available at YBCA Box Office
May 2004 - San Francisco CA Yannis Adoniou's KUNST-STOFF heads into its 11th San Francisco home season with two world premieres both choreographed by Adoniou: (Where) Every Verse is Filled with Grief and Raqs al Moza. While Raqs is a collaboration with dramaturge Talal Al-Muhanna, Grief will feature violinist Paul Festa performing live, the music of pioneering European composer Alfred Schnittke, arranged by Nathaniel Stookey. When: June 12 & 13 @8pm; June 14 @ 7pm Where: YBCA Forum 701 Mission St @ 3rd San Francisco, CA 94103-3138 415.978.ARTS (2787) Tickets: $18-22 @ YBCA Box Office Stage as Boxing Ring? Each of the dances will be performed in YBCA's Forum, set up boxing-ring fashion, i.e. the audience seated around the perimeter of a 50 x 50 square at the same level as the dancers. This allows for four very different views of the action and accelerates the impact of the dancing on the audience. The purpose, says Adoniou, is to bring the viewer as close as possible to the dancers so he or she can sense the confusion, fear and emotional journey taking place inside the ring. Much like an audience at a real boxing match has the opportunity to do. Juxtaposing Grief and Humor Grief is not an uncommon emotion expressed in dance. Humor is both rarer and trickier to pull off. The slate of Raqs and Grief juxtaposes these thematically challenging to work with opposites into a single evening. Adoniou wants to shake assumptions, customs and apathy. Its important, he says, to remember how crucial laughter and humor are in maintaining perspective. Raqs al Moza (40 minutes) In Arabic Raqs al Moza means Banana Dance. About love during wartime, Raqs can almost be seen as a silent movie comedy featuring a boy, a girl and a single table. More theater based than Grief, it uses black outs, scene changes and timing in order to answer questions like, what makes us laugh? Or, why is someone falling down sometimes funny and sometimes not so much? Work on Raqs al Moza began in March 2008 when Mr. Adoniou was in residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. Together with Talal Al-Muhanna, he found himself wanting to explore a theme often absent from the intensely introspective act of choreography: humor. Original music featured in Raqs is the work of Florida-based composer and sound designer Alex Davis, with whom Adoniou collaborated during his recent MANCC residency, in addition to music from Tom Waits and Radiohead. Dancers are: Marina Fukushima, Spencer Dickhaus, Justin Andrews (Where) Every Verse is Filled with Grief (10 minutes) (Where) Every Verse is Filled with Grief is an amplification and personification of the energy and expressiveness of the music being played live by violinist Paul Festa. Starting with a small prologue, it moves onto a larger canvas of surrender and abandonment, driven by the waves of energy that make up sadness, anguish and despair. Grief will feature a male and female duet danced topless. The purpose is not to expose the woman as much as reveal the vulnerability of the male torso. Grief is set to the haunting music of pioneering European composer, Alfred Schnittke. Arranged by Nathaniel Stookey, of The Composer is Dead fame among other things, it will be played live by violinist Paul Festa. The score, says Adoniou, is stunning. I am thrilled at being able to work with artists of Nathanial and Paul's abilities. Dancers are: Suzanne Lappas, Spencer Dickhaus, Marina Fukushima, Justin Andrews In the end, reiterates Adoniou, I want to create work that juxtaposes heaviness and sorrow with lightheartedness and vitality. And leave an audience feeling a sense of catharsis and freedom. That we've told a tale with true emotional scope. About Yannis Adoniou and KUNST-STOFF Yannis Adoniou's KUNST-STOFF is a San Francisco-based, Goldie award winning, contemporary dance company that has been creating eclectic movement-focused art experiences in the Bay Area for the past 10 years. Under the artistic direction of Yannis Adoniou, the company will celebrate its 11th Anniversary Season with two world premieres at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts main stage in June 2009. These premieres are a continuation of more than a decade-long dedication to creating conceptually driven work that challenges and expands the boundaries of our perception. With themes that reflect upon and respond to contemporary society, KUNST-STOFF's work reaches across cultural and social boundaries in search of that which resonates on a universal level. Visit for more information About Paul Festa Paul Festa (musician) studied violin at the Juilliard School before studying English at Yale, from which he graduated with honors. His award-winning fi lm Apparition of the Eternal Church has been screened at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, London's Barbican Centre and the Library of Congress. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, an adaptation of that fi lm. His essays appear in three Best Sex Writing editions, Nerve: The First Ten Years and online at The Daily Beast, Salon and other publications. He premiered Messiaen's Fantasie in Boston, New York, San Francisco, L.A. and Washington DC. As a violinist and actor he has appeared with the Stephen Pelton Dance Theater and the North Bay Shakespeare Company. Residencies include the MacDowell Colony, the City of Paris/Centre des R�©collets and ODC Theater. For more information visit About Nathaniel Stookey Composer/arranger and San Francisco native Nathaniel Stookey has collaborated with a remarkable range of artists from The Mars Volta to the Philadelphia Orchestra. At age 23 he was awarded the first Hall�© Orchestra Composition Fellowship, serving as resident composer under Kent Nagano 1993-96. In 2000, having returned to the US, Stookey received a three-year New Residencies award from Meet The Composer to serve as composer-in-residence with the North Carolina Symphony. That partnership yielded five new works, including Big Bang for the opening of Meymandi Hall, Wide as Skies for the centennial of the first manned flight (a co- commission with the Dayton Philharmonic) and Out of the Everywhere for the final subscription concerts of retiring music director Gerhardt Zimmermann. In 2006 the San Francisco Symphony premiered their commissioned work, The Composer is Dead, with libretto by Lemony Snicket, which was immediately taken up by the Toronto Symphony's New Creations Festival and has since been programmed by orchestras across North America including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Dallas Symphony.