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Black Choreographers Festival


Black Choreographers Festival



Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum: May 16-19, 2013

28 January 2013 – San Francisco, CA: Liss Fain Dance ( announces its 2013 San Francisco Home Season featuring “The Water is Clear and Still,” a performance installation that combines dance and music with spoken text from Jamaica Kincaid’s short story collection At the Bottom of the River. Fain’s provocative blend of choreography and literature is performed in a surreal immersive installation and sound environment in which the dancers, actor, and audience move together. A hybrid of dance, literature, theater, visual art and music, “The Water is Clear and Still” premiered in San Francisco at Z Space in May 2012. “The Water is Clear and Still” will be presented at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY, on March 7-8, 2013, in coordination with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, publisher of Kincaid’s new novel See Now Then (2013), following a reading by Kincaid at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 6. For the 2013 San Francisco Home Season, “The Water is Clear and Still” will be performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum (701 Mission Street @ Third) from Thursday, May 16, through Sunday, May 19, 2013. Performances are Thursday-Friday-Saturday at 8pm; and Sunday at 5pm. Tickets are $30 general/$15 students and seniors. For tickets and information visit

“The Water is Clear and Still” interweaves Liss Fain’s choreography with the spoken text of Kincaid’s sharp-edged and beautiful stories. In this riveting performance installation, the dance, spoken text, set, and sound environment encompass the performers and the audience. The set—a river in a strangely eerie and surreal grove of trees—and sound environment surround the six dancers, the actor, and the audience, which moves at will into the performance space, close to the dancers, and experiences the work from multiple perspectives.

“Fain’s choreography is both innovative and tied to geometric symmetries at the heart of ballet,” wrote Lauren Gallagher in the San Francisco Examiner (May 28, 2012). “She also welcomes audiences to either move around a piece, or, in the case of ‘The Water Is Clear and Still,’ into it.”

Dance View described “The Water is Clear and Still” as “another of Fain’s transparent and finely shaped works.” The Bay Guardian wrote, “This type of work and Fain’s type of craft are rare today. It’s a pleasure to see an active intelligence engaged in such full-bodied work.”

“The Water is Clear and Still” interweaves Fain’s imagistic, non-narrative choreography and her love of literature, through the spoken text of Kincaid’s stories. “The dance and the literature amplify and illuminate each other,” explains Fain. “The actor makes the images and emotions of the stories palpable. The text becomes a musical score for me. I use the cadences, images and feeling of the stories in creating movement. [Kincaid’s] writing is filled with striking images that can be strange, unsettling and also soothing. The choreography fluctuates as unpredictably as the text.”

“The Water is Clear and Still” was created as a collaborative effort, featuring Fain as choreographer; the company’s six dancers; Val Sinckler, a San Francisco actor with a background in dance who has worked with We Players, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and Stanford Summer Theater; Dan Wool, composer of the immersive sound environment; installation and lighting designer Matthew Antaky; costume designer Mary Domenico; and projection designer Frédéric Boulay.

Liss Fain Dance tours nationally and internationally with work for proscenium stages and performance installations. Fain’s performance installations have been presented at art galleries, libraries, unusual architectural structures, non-proscenium venues and theaters. “I want people to experience performance installations in places that they normally frequent,” Fain says, “to make them excited and enriched, in an everyday setting, by dance and performance and literature.”

Liss Fain’s work ranges from pure dance pieces to collaborations with composers, lighting and set designers, videographers, actors and technologists. The company’s performance installations bring the audience inside the set and close to the performers. Non-narrative, highly physical and emotionally resonant, Fain’s work fuses modern dance’s forceful energy with the kinetic precision of ballet. Since its founding in Boston in 1988, Liss Fain Dance has premiered over 45 works by Ms. Fain and collaborated with individuals and organizations that include MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, The Exploratorium and The Apple Multimedia Lab. The company has performed and taught at festivals and venues in Poland, Germany, Belarus, Russia and the UK as well as colleges, universities, festivals and presenting organizations in the US. For more information, call Liss Fain Dance at (415) 380-9433, or visit