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Tara L. Burns
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Alexandra Beller's 'us' @ The Tank to be presented August 22, 2008

by Tara L. Burns
August 22, 2008
The Tank @ DCTV
87 Lafayette Street (Corner of White Street)
New York, NY 10013
The Tank @ DCTV



August 22, 2008

The Tank @ DCTV
87 Lafayette Street (Corner of White Street), New York, NY 10013

"Beller makes us rethink the symbols and ideas of patriotism to which we are daily exposed, and calls on us to question our own relationship with the U.S., love, war, bigotry, hate, sex, the French: Beller covers it all with sophistication and a full throttle performance."
Carley Petecsh The Brooklyn Rail (7.2007)

In honor of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, The Tank presents two nights of political dance to kick off a week of convention watch-parties and politically themed programming, the first night features US, choreographed and performed by celebrated dancer Alexandra Beller and directed by HERE Artistic Director Kristin Marting. Us will play ONE NIGHT ONLY, Friday, August 22 at 8:30 pm at The Tank @ DCTV, 87 Lafayette Street (Corner of White Street), New York, NY 10013.

us blends highly athletic, sensual and dynamic movement with song, text, video and a layered soundscape to create a deeply personal commentary on the state of the union. This hybrid work explores issues of humanity and morality and examines the relationship between a country and its citizens. A series of cinematically woven duets with inanimate objects suggests dialogue with those who might not otherwise have a voice. By employing literal and metaphorical devices, choreographer/performer Alexandra Beller takes "us" along on her quest to build a healthy relationship with her country.

Beller created this work from the perspective of a woman who is at a crisis point in a love relationship, unable to continue as is, but heartbroken at the idea of leaving her life partner. In us, with her country as her life partner, she embarks on a journey toward reconciliation while questioning that which she finds intolerable. Beller remarks, "I hope to relate to people not through the brain but through a visceral, familiar and personal understanding of choosing to end a relationship. In this work, one's country becomes a lover, friend, parent, child – anyone to whom you have had to say, I cannot go on with you in this way." us touches upon hot-button issues while observing that patriotism can be an addiction that sometimes blinds "us" to the truth.

Alexandra Beller (Choreographer/Performer) created Alexandra Beller/Dances in 2001. Since then, she has created over forty Dance Theater works. A member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1995-2001, she is currently in her second year as an Artist in Residence at HERE Arts Center. Beller was an Artist in Residence at Dance New Amsterdam and received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in 2006. Alexandra Beller/Dances has been commissioned by and performed at Dance Theater Workshop, P.S.122, Aaron Davis Hall, Joyce SoHo, University Settlement, Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, Dixon Place and HERE Arts Center, as well as at Jacob's Pillow and in Michigan, Massachusetts, California, Florida, Korea, Hong Kong and Cyprus. Beller teaches at Dance New Amsterdam and The Atlantic Theater School, and has been an adjunct at Montclair State University, as well as a resident artist at Texas Woman's University, Bates College, Rhode Island College, MIT, University of Michigan, University of South Florida and many other schools.

Over the last 18 years, Kristin Marting has constructed 20 works for the stage, including eight original dance-theater pieces, eight new adaptations of novels and short stories, and four adaptations of classic plays. Recently at HERE, she directed a workshop production of James Scruggs' RUS, as well as the acclaimed production of Scruggs' Disposable Men in 2005. She also directed Orpheus, a 21st-century version of the popular Greek myth as an alt-rock musical developed collaboratively with writer Stephanie Fleischmann and composer Nikos Brisco and the design team of Juliet Chia, David Morris, Liz Bourgeois and James Scruggs. Marting is co-founder and Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events for HERE's two performance spaces—including ten OBIE-award winners—for an annual audience of 50,000.

us was developed through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP) which provides development, commissions and full production support. Since 1993, the OBIE-winning HERE Arts Center has been a premier arts organization in NYC and a leader in the field of new, hybrid performance work. Under the artistic leadership of Kristin Marting, HERE has served 11,000 emerging to mid-career artists developing work that does not fit a conventional programming agenda.

"Pick any topic over which conservatives and liberals lock horns—immigration, Abu Ghraib, abortion, politicized religion, same-sex marriage; Beller visits them all. How she does it is pretty astonishing. Beller—a bright young force on the experimental scene—dreamed up the idea and the choreography. And her voluptuous, no-nonsense presence socks almost every point imaginatively home."
Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice (7.2007)

us will play August 22, 2008 at The Tank @ DCTV, 87 Lafayette Street (Corner of White Street), New York, NY 10013. General Admission $15. For tickets go to www.smarttix.com. More information call The Tank @ 212.563.6269
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