CAC’s new performances will seek to unite us

The Contemporary Arts Center has announced the lineup for its 2017-18 Black Box Performance Series.

click to enlarge January’s "Live Cinema" will mix films with music and anecdotes. - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
January’s "Live Cinema" will mix films with music and anecdotes.
If you detect a certain urgency to the programs that comprise the Contemporary Arts Center’s 2017-18 Black Box Performance Series, it’s intentional. The performance curator, Drew Klein, had a theme in mind.

“A big part of this year is about the assembly of people — I wanted to have people come together,” he says. “We’re currently in this incredibly divisive landscape, and I wanted to see what power we have as a group to share a moment with the understanding that there’s a bond between audience and artist.”

He also wanted diversity. With that in mind, here is the upcoming season:

• Bouchra Ouizguen, Corbeaux (Sept. 16-17, 2017): 

The Moroccan choreographer and her Marrakech dance group present this show (translated as “crow” or “raven”) in which the women allow their white head-scarves to dip and swoop like birds as they make sounds that build in intensity. They will be joined by local women in their performance. 

• Tiago RodriguesBy Heart (Sept. 28-29): 

The Portuguese theater director, whose company specializes in modern remakes of classical works, has developed something different and intimately personal with By Heart. Inspired by reading poetry and prose to his grandmother as she was losing her sight, he asks 10 people to come onstage and memorize a poem. As they work to do so, he tells stories about himself — and about the importance of poetry and prose. 

• Shasta Geaux Pop (Oct. 26-27): 

A scripted performance as well as the name of a character played by Ayesha Jordan, Shasta Geaux Pop is described as a wild, uncensored dance party that celebrates 1980s-90s Hip-Hop culture. 

• Takahiro YamamotoDirect Path to Detour (Nov. 9-10): 

The CAC commissioned this new dance work from the Portland, Ore.-based choreographer through the National Performance Network. It features four dancers who seek to form relationships despite societal barriers. 

• Mithkal AlzghairDisplacement (Jan. 11-12, 2018): 

This Syrian choreographer/dancer, based in France after attending school there, uses three male dancers to explore how a body responds to the kind of war, migration and revolution experienced in Syria. 

• Brent Green & Sam GreenLive Cinema (Jan. 27): 

Two filmmakers, who are unrelated, join forces to present at Memorial Hall short films in a live context that allows for music, improvisation and anecdotes to make it less of a passive experience. Sam Green, who directed the Oscar-nominated documentary The Weather Underground, has also worked with Yo La Tengo and the Kronos Quartet. 

• Kaneza Schaal, JACK&JILL (Feb. 15-16):

A world premiere of another commission made with the National Performance Network’s assistance, this features director Schaal working with performer Cornell Alston on a piece that considers “the damages of being in prison — not the time one has served but the measure of one’s dreaming that is given to the state.” 

• Poliça & s t a r g a z e, Music For The Long Emergency (March 2): This program, developed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra through a “virtual residency” of Poliça, a Minneapolis Dream Pop band, and the Berlin New Music ensemble fronted by conductor André de Ridder, will be the Performance Series’ major musical program. “Some of the live music you’ll recognize from Poliça or s t a r g a z e, but with the other group influencing the way tracks play out,” Klein says. “But the rest will be new music that they’ve created together.”

• Kate McIntosh, In Many Hands (April 12-15): In this U.S. premiere, McIntosh will get the audience to “test, touch, listen, search and sniff” objects to sensitize themselves. 

Also, two artists with strong Cincinnati connections — visual artist Sheida Soleimani (March 29-30) and musician Ofir Klemperer (April 27) — will be developing performance programs for the series.

For more info, visit

CONTACT STEVEN ROSEN: [email protected]

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