PREHISTORIC BODY THEATER DEEP TIME ORIGIN STORIES

Interdisciplinary artist Ari Rudenko (www.arirudenko.com) is the 2017 featured artist in residence at The Ark Project (owned by visual artist Tobias Tovera, www.tobiastovera.com) at Peralta Studios in West Oakland April 24 - June 2.  Ari Rudenko is the creator of "Prehistoric Body Theater," a deep-time animal dance modality that explores our identity not simply as humans, but as vertebrates in an interrelated web of living organisms with a common story of familial ancestry stretching back hundreds of millions of years. "Prehistoric Body Theater" is a wild but refined dance experience, developed with a fusion of techniques from Japanese Butoh theater, inspiration from Indonesian animal dance traditions, movement research with living animals, and through mentorship and collaboration with leading paleontologists. The "Prehistoric Body Theater" project won the 2017 Bergstrom Award for Art+Science Interface, and will be a featured project at Seattle's Burke Museum and University of Washington from January-May 2018.

In the Ark Project Residency PREHISTORIC BODY LAB, Ari will lead explorations into deep-time animal dance - drawing deeply from butoh theater, Indonesian animal dance forms, vertebrate biomechanics, and the science of paleontology. In this laboratory, we will study the evolution of the vertebrate branch of the Tree of Life, starting with our great, great grandmother Haikouichthys - the first known animal with a notochord, the precursor to the backbone, which evolved in the Cambrian Explosion 535 million years ago (and is similar to the human embryo at 2 weeks old). Through both technical physical dance training based on comparative anatomy, and deep-time movement meditations, we will explore the grand inheritance of the Tree of Life, coming to understand our lineage as one amongst many branches. This project aims to activate a deep-time consciousness of the themes of vitality, survival, extinction, seduction and sexual desire, fear and intimidation, and the miracle of body and form in the endless flux of the natural world.

By concentrating the content of this work on the pre-human world, during prehistoric eras when the geography of the earth bore
little resemblance to the maps that delineate today’s national and cultural boundaries, this project hopes to unveil a space of radical neutrality
where evolutionary biologists and paleontologists can engage in creative and insightful collaboration with indigenous, traditional,
and contemporary dancers and art makers from around the world, uniting us in shared awe and wonder at the natural world.

BODY LAB SESSIONS are 2 hours long, and may be in certain cases extended. $15 per session drop in, or discount rate at $150 to sign up for all 12 sessions. Payment accepted in cash, or by Paypal - to sign up email ari.rudenko@gmail.com

ACCESSIBILITY DISCLAIMER: We aim for an inclusive and diverse artistic process. However, some Prehistoric Body Theater movement forms and exercises are physically challenging and were created with an able body in mind. Interested participants with health / accessibility issues or concerns should contact Ari directly by phone (206 4538688) or email (ari.rudenko@gmail.com).

SCHEDULE:
Week 1:
Sat April 29 4-6pm : Opening Session
Week 2:
Mon May 1, 6-8pm
Wed May 3, 6-8pm
Sat May 6, 4-6pm
Week 3:
Wed May 10, 6-8pm
Thu May 11, 6-8pm
Sat May 13, 4-6pm
Week 4:
Mon May 15, 6-8pm
Tue May 16, 6-8pm
Week 5:
Wed May 24, 6-8pm
Thu May 25, 6-8pm
Sat May 27, 4-6pm: Lab Closing Session

JUNE 2: Ari Rudenko Ark Project PERFORMANCE + EXHIBITION OPENING in collaboration with Tobias Tovera and Denise Susanne Townsend
** More details TBA **

ABOUT ARI RUDENKO (MFA Interdisciplinary Arts, www.arirudenko.com)
Ari’s performance work fuses training in Japanese Butoh theater with an ongoing relationship to Indonesian traditional and contemporary performing arts. Since receiving a Darmasiswa post-graduate scholarship to study dance at the Art Institute of Indonesia in 2012, and during the course of completing a low-residency Master of Fine Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College, Ari’s work has been based in the Indonesian archipelago. Ari works closely with Indonesian and international artists, facilitating encounters between contemporary practice and tradition, and rigorously engaging the potentials and complexities of cross-cultural performance making.

Ari has been studying and practicing Butoh theater since 2009, and has had the honor of studying with lineage Butoh performers and master teachers including an intensive study and performance in Japan with world-class Butoh troupes Dairakudakan/Akaji Maro and Sankai Juku, the late Ko Murobushi, Ushio Amagatsu, Katsura Kan, Waguri, Mana Hashimoto, with Indonesia's Min Tanaka inspired master teacher Tony Broer, and with Western Butoh-based artists including Nicole LeGette and Blushing Poppy Productions, Cafe Reason, Macarena Ortuzar, DaipanButoh, and Diego Piñón.

EVOLUTION OF THE PREHISTORIC BODY THEATER

I have been dreaming into a dance theater concept that can tell stories from the evolutionary Tree of Life and extinct ecosystems with the human body - a deep time / deep body exposition on the nature of our identity not simply as humans, but as vertebrates in a interrelated web of living organisms with a common story of familial ancestry stretching back hundreds of millions of years. This project aims to activate a deep time consciousness of the themes of vitality, survival, extinction, seduction and sexual desire, fear and intimidation, and the miracle of body and form in the endless flux of natural world.

By concentrating the content of this work on the pre- human world, during prehistoric eras when the geography of the earth bared little resemblance to the maps that delineate today’s national and cultural boundaries, I hope to unveil a space of radical neutrality where evolutionary biologists and paleontologists can engage in creative and insightful collaboration with traditional and contemporary dancers from around the world, generating a performance methodology and educational model based on our shared inheritance of the natural world.

The Prehistoric Body Theater concept is an umbrella term refering to an overarching methdology and philosophy for creating physical theater performances based on scientific models of extinct organisms and ecosystems, utalizing active imagination techniques drawn from butoh theater, physical techniques drawn from Indonesian traditional and

contemporary dance forms (with the potential of expanding in collaboration with dancers from increasingly diverse traditions), and experimental movement research in intimate contact with living animals and in natural environments.

WHAT IS “PARA/AVIS”?

The title PARA / AVIS means “parallel to birds” and refers to a classification of carnivorous therapod dinosaurs that share a common ancestor with the birds, and like birds, they also had feathers and in many cases wings. The dromeosaurs, colloquially known as “raptors,” are the most popularly known clade of dinosaurs who share this parallel evolution with the birds - and are infamous for the iconic sickle claw on their feet and their representation in popular films such as the Jurassic Park franchise. These bird-like dinosaurs lived alongside the birds for 95 million years before their extinction along with the rest of the non-avian dinosaurs following the Chicxulub meteor impact 65 million years ago.

PARA / AVIS is a poetic dance performance inspired by speculations on raptor courtship dances and behavior.  Using a fusion of methods from Japanese butoh theater and technique from Indonesian traditional and contemporary animal dance forms, in combination with movement research with living birds, PARA / AVIS seeks to create a new fearsome and beautiful dance form that bridges cultures in collaboration with Indonesian and international performance communities. 

PARA / AVIS is currently in development, with live performance experiments in collaboration with Indonesian artists inPARA / AVIS Body Transcultural Madura with our Behind the Scenes video documenting our work with live chickens in a remote Indonesian village.  Ari Rudenko is has performed a solo version PARA / AVIS Dancing with Dinosaurs .

The PARA / AVIS project aims to work closely with dinosaur paleontologists and research institutions, examining closely the physiology, behavior, and ecology of raptor dinosaurs.  How can we use the latest scientific models to translate a raptor dinosaur's movement to the human body?  What experimental processes do the dancers need to find this body?  How do we tackle the anatomical differences such as the long agile tail, sickle claws, and gaping toothy jaws of a raptor dinosaur?  For the costume research and development for PARA / AVIS, we would like to partner with a research institution that can create light weight casts of the real fossil bones, as illustrated in the concept design sketch show above. 

PARA / AVIS is process oriented project featuring an ongoing series of workshops, solo and group performances, and unique international collaborations directed by Ari Rudenko.  In each incarnation, Ari will explore new methods and expand on previous research in response to the unique environments and communities where PARA / AVIS is held.  Here is a solo performance held at the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Fall 2016 at Goddard College, Port Townsend, WA, USA.