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Explore and experience touch and identity with MFA Thesis Choregraphies

Dance through the lives of choreographers Iu-Hui Chua and Christine Germain with MFA Thesis Choreographies presented by UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance. The production runs at Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre from Thursday, Feb. 21 to Sunday, March 3. The performance is rated R for nudity and adult language. Tickets are $17 in advance or $19 at the door and are available at the Mondavi Center.

Jarrell Iu-Hui Chua presents “Liglio” in collaboration with Bobby August Jr., traveling through the worlds of memories, dreams and present realities to investigate touch and its effects on relationships. Christine Germain presents “Transmutation,” in collaboration with Andrea del Moral and Deirdre Morris, examining questions of personal identity and identity shifts.

“Liglio,” or “link” in Esperanto, explores the choreographer’s connection to her cultural sensitivities. She and collaborator Bobby August Jr. identify lovingly as “Hapa,” or of half-Asian heritage, and their experiences with prejudice growing up Hapa in America are a major theme of the production. To express this struggle Chua creates a sea of white paper that she and August Jr. must overcome.

“The paper represents the majority status quo that Bobby and I tried so hard to fit into,” explains Chua. “And the paper scenes express the confusing back and forth of rejection and self-rejection.”

Despite the struggle, the use of Esperanto, which literally means “the one who hopes,” was intended to symbolize peace among people of different cultures. Above all, “Ligilo” explores the healing nature of touch through erotic love, humor, tenderness and other interactions.

“Transmutation” also has an autobiographical base in the lives of Germain and collaborators del Moral and Morris, including Germain’s experiences as a French-Canadian foreigner living in the United States and other countries.

“Relocating a number of times, I found myself frustrated not speaking the language well, being misunderstood, and misunderstanding others,” said Germain. “Injuries also affected how I saw myself. I became sensitive to, and interested in, the shifting of identity occurring after trauma (both psychological and physical) which can be experienced in so many diverse ways.”

The three women of “Transmutation” respond to identity changes in a multitude of ways including learning or relearning who they are in their relationships to others, space and the world. The work is inspired by Germain’s study of the Feldenkrais Method, a system providing tools for self-observation to increase self-awareness and improve habitual physical patterns. The audience is invited to participate in exercises with the performers, giving them an opportunity to and freshen their view of self-identity.

For more information including ticket sales, visit: theatredance.ucdavis.edu. 

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