Patch.com La Jolla
The new resident company is Eveoke Dance Theatre
There’s something new at the La Jolla Playhouse: the latest resident theater.
Four years ago, Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley initiated the program to encourage the artistic development of up-and-coming and/or rootless local companies. The first resident was Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company (2008), followed by Moxie Theatre (2009) and the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theater (2010). The latest addition is Eveoke Dance Theatre.
“We are especially excited to name Eveoke – our first dance organization – as the resident company this season,” says Ashley, “broadening the spectrum of artistic offerings at the Playhouse. This innovative troupe brings a fresh vision to each of their projects, with strong ties to the community through their numerous education and outreach programs.”
“We are incredibly jazzed and grateful,” says Eveoke artistic director Erika Malone. “It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the wisdom of the La Jolla Playhouse staff and be exposed to organizational best practices. It’s a rich opening for our organization to expand, stretch and deepen the roots that will sustain us as a passionate and activist dance theater company.”
Eveoke Dance Theatre was founded in 1994 by dancer/choreographer/activist/powerhouse Gina Angelique, who asserted that “Eveoke’s work isn’t neat and pretty…but rather rides the waves of the same horror and beauty we all face when we truly live our lives. We create work that shoots like an arrow into the belly of complacency and apathy… We use our dance to communicate deeply with our audience…the things no words could ever convey.”
Community outreach and social activism through dance are of paramount importance to the company, and the two productions that comprise their La Jolla residency reflect their mission of compassionate social action.
First up is a retooled version of “Las Mariposas,” a piece they recently created, and performed for the visiting author Julia Alvarez, whose book, “In the Time of the Butterflies,” inspired the dance work. It’s the story of three activist sisters known as ‘Las Mariposas’ (‘the butterflies’) who, on November 25, 1960, were brutally murdered for their participation in the resistance movement against the long-term dictatorship of General Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. A fourth sister lived to tell the tale of courage that forms the bedrock of the production.
After the Playhouse run, September 8-25, the company will take 14 dancers and 6 designers and theater technicians to the Dominican Republic for a three-city tour that includes the sisters’ hometown; they’ll be there on the 51st anniversary of the sisters’ death, headlining a festival honoring Las Mariposas.
The second production of their residency is “Refuge” (May-June 2012), which will feature work by two emerging choreographers: Becky Hurt and Myriam Lucas. Both have been dancers in the company, and both have a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse.
“We decided to explore violence on women and its effect on women’s sexuality,” says Malone. The piece will feature eight dancers, as well as spoken word and personal stories. “It will be very emotional,” Malone promises.
Eveoke will preview excerpts from “Refuge” this coming Saturday (April 16) at their University Avenue teaching/rehearsal space, with input provided by Kathy Jones, former SDSU professor of women’s studies.
“There will be interactive elements in this piece,” says Malone, “to get the audience up and moving, and to determine who in the room has been affected by violence. It’s to set the stage and create a safe space.”
Meanwhile, the current La Jolla Playhouse resident company still has one more production to complete its one-year award. The San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre will present “Flower Drum Song: A Musical Revival in Concert,” to coincide with Asian Heritage Month. This is the 2002 update of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legendary (later, controversial) 1958 musical, adapted by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (“M Butterfly”). The story follows Mei-Li, a young woman who flees 1950s Communist China and arrives in San Francisco, looking for love while struggling to balance tradition and assimilation.
Definitely a taste of something new and different at the La Jolla Playhouse. Savor the varied flavors.
Eveoke Dance Theatre’s sneak peek at “Refuge,” which will premiere next year as part of their La Jolla Playhouse residency, will take place Saturday, April 16, 7:30-9:00pm, at 2811 University Ave., San Diego 92104. (619) 238-1153; www.eveoke.org
The San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre’s “Flower Drum Song: A Musical Revival in Concert,” plays May 12-June 12 (with previews May 6-7), in the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre on the campus of UC San Diego.
Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm
Tickets are available at 619–940-5891 or firstname.lastname@example.org