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  • CHIME Announces 2010 Grantees for San Francisco, Los Angeles and Across Borders


    Monday, January 18, 2010

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Download PDF San Francisco, January 18, 2010 – Deborah Slater Dance Theater celebrates 20 years of viscerally powerful, visually stunning and theatrically innovative work with the world premiere of Men Think They Are Better Than Grass in seven performances April 29-May 9 at Z Space / Theater Artaud in San Francisco. The large-scale, evening-length work is inspired by the beauty and fragility of the natural world and W. S. Merwin's poetry (from which it takes its title) and explores the interrelationship between humanity and the environment. Choreographed and directed by Deborah Slater, Men Think They Are Better Than Grass incorporates text, animation, visual design, an original score and video. The work uses interactive technology to create a stage environment that changes over time, through a wikipedia-like web component that will be uniquely different from performance to performance. This reciprocity between art, technology, and the stage--artistically innovative, participatory and solution-oriented--is at the heart of Men Think They Are Better Than Grass and will shape the creative process and the performance experience for artists and audiences alike. Performances will be given Friday, April 30, at 8 p.m. (Preview); Saturday, May 1, at 8 p.m. (Opening Night with post-performance Gala); Sunday, May 2, at 5 p.m.; Thursday, May 6-Friday, May 8, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 9, at 5 p.m. Z Space / Theater Artaud is located at 450 Florida Street, San Francisco. Slater has assembled an award-winning creative team for the premiere that includes composers Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Thom Blum, webmaster Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang, stage designer Mikiko Uesugi, lighting designer Allen Willner, videographer Elaine Buckholtz, dramaturge and co-director Jayne Wenger; and DSDT's eight-member performance ensemble. Men Think They Are Better Than Grass is produced in association with the Z Space. Two Decades of Innovation and Collaboration For 20 years, Deborah Slater Dance Theater has been at the forefront of dance-making in the San Francisco Bay Area, creating large-scale, multi-disciplinary dance theater works that cover a broad range of compelling subject matter. Influenced by the work of the avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines, magical realism, and collaboration with some of the seminal theater, dance, literary and visual artists of the region, the Company's work is replete with unexpected visual metaphors and layers of movement, theater, sound and meaning that jostle and coalesce in performances of stunning emotional depth and beauty. Deborah Slater Dance Theater was founded in 1989 and has premiered more than 15 evening-length productions under the leadership of Artistic Director and Choreographer Deborah Slater. The Company is dedicated to the creation and production of highly collaborative work that use the metaphor of the visual, the associations of storytelling and the recognition of intimately personal movement to explore issues that are deeply imbedded in our collective consciousness. The Company’s repertoire includes the 2007 Isadora Duncan Dance Award-winning Hotel of Memories, which was featured on PBS television, and the Isadora Duncan Dance Award nominees A Hole in the World and The Sleepwatchers. The Company kicked off its 20th anniversary year with performances at New York’s Joyce SoHo in March of 2009. During the entire 20th anniversary year, Deborah Slater will be one of three choreographers nationally chosen to work intensively with master choreographer/mentor David Gordon under the auspices of a Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) Across Borders inaugural year grant. In addition to its local performances at West Wave Dance Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Summerfest, San Francisco Dance Festival, Bay Area Dance Series and many others, the Company has toured to New York, Philadelphia, Tulsa, in Canada, and up and down the West Coast, and has conducted residencies at colleges and universities across the country. Selected to be on the roster of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Artists for the New Millennium, DSDT has participated in the NCCI/Dance USA Residency program. DSDT has received major commissions from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Cocteau Centenary in LA, the Kings County Arts Commission in Seattle and the Djerassi Resident Artist’s Program in Woodside, CA. In February, 2010, Deborah Slater Dance Theater was awarded a $75,000 grant by the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for a collaborative work with playwright Julie Hebert and ODC Theater for 2011. Artistic Director Deborah Slater is a recipient of nine NEA Fellowships and has been one of the Bay Area dance community’s most active members for more than two decades. She was a co-founder of Circuit Network, an innovative arts management consortium that grew into one of the Bay Area’s most important professional development, booking and touring assistance organizations; was a founding board member of the People’s Theater Coalition (Life on the Water Theater), another seminal arts organization of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s; and a founding board member of Dance Bay Area; the main support infrastructure for the entire Bay Area dance community, a role now filled by Dancers Group. Over the years, Ms. Slater has collaborated on her works with such outstanding artistic partners as composers Bill Fontana, Erling Wold, and Gina Leishman; playwright and writer/director for television Julie Hebert, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Chris Beaver, and San Diego Repertory Theater Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse. Ms. Slater serves as a Mentor for the Vision Series for High School and Emerging Choreographers and recently completed six years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program Board. For moreinformation, visit Tickets for Men Think They Are Better Than Grass are priced $20-25 with discounts for seniors, students and groups and may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-838-3006. ###