The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University will present Edit & Revise, a shared presentation of two immersive multimedia performances choreographed and directed by Princeton seniors Yasmine Eichbaum and Michelle Yeh. Performances will be held March 8 and 9 at 8:30 p.m. and March 9 and 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hearst Dance Theater at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton University campus. The performances are free and open to the public, however advance tickets reservations are encouraged.
Edit & Revise represents Eichbaum and Yeh’s independent theses in the Program in Dance. Although presented as two distinct performances, the themes of boundaries, information, and technology weave through both pieces.
“rén(shān/hǎi),” a working title, is Yeh’s multimedia dance theater piece that explores and challenges the boundaries of storytelling through dance. The piece questions what is deemed as “language,” exploring how the body and movement act as storytelling media to supplement and fill the gap where the written word once stood. The piece begins in 1995 when a college-aged Taiwanese-American adoptee visits her birthplace, Ji-an, Hualien in Taiwan, looking for answers, and goes missing after a typhoon. What transpires after her disappearance is a meditation on absence and presence, exploring the sociopolitical, historical and colonial implications of written language as a means of intellectual memory and as a vessel of cultural knowledge. By bringing the audience on a journey through the Hearst Dance Theater, the piece aims to understand what is lost when language, and the stories it contains, cease to be, asking: How can the body lend voice and reclaim these elusive narratives? In addition to movement choreography, “rén(shān/hǎi)” incorporates spoken text, interviews, live music directed by Vince di Mura, Lewis Center Resident Music Director and Composer, recorded aboriginal Taiwanese music, and video projection to create an audiovisual landscape that blurs the lines between pre-recorded media and live performance.
Eichbaum’s immersive multimedia dance piece that interrogates the roles of the audience and performer but also ponders the tension between the individual and the collective, is titled OS X Ageratum (Turing Test Version). The performance begins with the product launch for a device powered by a novel operating system. OS X Ageratum is a fictional system software, wherein choreography represents the operating system that directs the dancers, who comprise the hardware of this machine. Upon entering the Hearst Dance Theater, the audience will be transported to a new realm. Because of the fluid nature of the staging, the boundaries—especially the physical boundary—between viewer and performer are blurred. The performers alternate between their part as a cog of a larger apparatus and their agency as individuals. The piece asks, how can technology impose news ways of being? The multimedia experience is underpinned by visual projections of the choreographic process and music that spans Janelle Monáe’s discography, with music direction by di Mura.
Yeh is a senior in the Department of Comparative Literature from Taipei, Taiwan. She is pursuing certificates in both the Lewis Center’s Program in Dance and the Program in Creative Writing, for which she is currently writing a full-length feature film in addition to her choreographic thesis. Though topically unrelated, Yeh views her two creative theses as one larger comparative project on how stories travel and translate from one medium to another. She is interested in how the same story can adapt and change to different forms. Her independent work in comparative literature focusing on modern post-colonial film and literature of Taiwan also informs her creative endeavors, exploring how storytellers and artists find voice and language through adaptation, translation, and non-verbal media. Through the Lewis Center’s Sam Hutton Fund for the Arts, the Eric Pai Asian American Student Research Fund, and resources provided by the Department of Comparative Literature, Yeh was able to travel to Taiwan over the past two summers to conduct research and collect various audiovisual materials that appear in both her dance and creative writing theses.
Eichbaum, a senior in the Department of Chemistry, is a California Bay Area native pursuing a certificate in the Lewis Center’s Program in Dance. Balancing time between the chemistry lab and the dance studio, she explains that she switches between creative processes in such a way that influences her choreography as she explores common themes of inquiry in both science and dance. Several years of collaborating on and dancing in Performance Lab pieces have greatly influenced her interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to dance; Performance Lab is an annual project of the Program in Dance that provides students an opportunity to develop interdisciplinary performance work under the extended mentorship of faculty. Outside of the chemistry lab and the dance studio, Eichbaum also serves as a residential college advisor for Mathey College, one of Princeton’s six residential colleges.
The student cast includes seniors Claire Chiu, Eric Ham, Amy Liu, and Julia Yu; juniors Tony Chen, Aleksandra Kostic, Amy Li, Soyeong Park, Jordan Stallworth, and Aleesha Ye; first-year students Chris Park and Jung Won Julie Shin; and graduate student Peter Wang. Lighting for the production is by professional lighting designer Madeline Best. The production stage manager is Mary-Susan Gregson. Tina Fehlandt and Dean Moss are the project’s faculty advisors.
Due to the interactive/immersive nature of the works, with audiences encouraged to move in and out and about the performing space, attendees are encouraged to bring a minimum of personal items to the performances. Seating is limited and guests are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance through University Ticketing at tickets.princeton.edu.
To learn more about this event, the Program in Dance, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts and lectures presented each year at the Lewis Center, most of them free, visit arts.princeton.edu.