Dada Gert is a continuation of Annie Beserra's pursuit to transform socially, politically, and historically significant source material into performance pieces that question the "truths" of their subjects from many angles. Valeska Gert was a Jewish "dance-pantomime" artist who lived in exile in Europe and NYC upon Hitler's rise to power. Many consider her the first punk. Many consider her the first performance artist. Others consider her the first dance theater artist and hence Striding Lion's great interest in her place in history. Gert's innovative hybrid of dance and theater was born out of a personal desire to perform simultaneously in both mediums, at a time when the "legitimate" dance community was, by most accounts, striving towards the ideal of absolute dance that reveled in movement alone. Striding Lion's production in her name will resurrect the jagged trajectory of this enigmatic woman in exile. Forced first to leave the stage and eventually to leave her country by the persistent censure of the fast ascending Nazi party, Valeska Gert performed her dance-satires throughout France and England before emigrating to New York where she opened The Beggars Bar, serviced by aspiring artists such as Tennessee Williams and Judith Molina. An openly defiant, Jewish maker-performer, Gert is hailed as the first performance artist, and the mother of socially and politically conscious dance theater.
Produced as an installation work, the dynamic, three-dimensional architectural environment invites the audience to explore each aspect of the piece from their own self-determined vantage point - walking through the action and getting as close to the performers as they prefer. They engage directly in the dramatic action through one-on-one conversations and social interactions with the performers; and they are invited to participate in the piece with a full bevy of senses instead of their eyes alone. Through their choices where to stand, when to move, what to acknowledge, and what to avoid the audience enacts the role of the social world surrounding Dada Gert, where the omnipresent themes gather both a personal and a political resonance.
Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater (View)
Hamlin Park Fieldhouse, 3035 N. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60618
|Kid Friendly: Yes!
|Dog Friendly: No
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!