The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and Rabbit Island Foundation present a world premiere inspired by the Keweenaw

HOUGHTON — NYC-based contemporary dance company Abarukas, led by choreographer Yoshito Sakuraba, is presenting a new performance set to a live score acclaimed London-based Israeli composer, Na’ama Zisser. Anchorage World Premiere appears on the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts stage this Saturday, Nov. 13, as a collaboration between the Rozsa and Rabbit Island Foundation.

Choreographer Yoshito Sakuraba and composer Na’ama Zisser were selected for the 2019 inaugural Rabbit Island Choreographer and Composer Residency, hosted on Rabbit Island in partnership with the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University. This residency is a unique concept that offers one composer and one choreographer who had never met the opportunity to inhabit a remote ecological island in Lake Superior, Michigan, and explore different approaches to collaboration. During this time, the artists have the space for research and reflection, engaging with themes of wilderness, nature, the environment, and the human experience. The Rosza Center for the Performing Arts grants the artists support and resources in realizing this collaboration and bringing Anchorage World Premiere to life. This brand-new performance weaves a storyline inspired by both artists’ shared experiences on Rabbit Island, investing in visual and theatrical presentations with dynamic choreography and live musicians on stage. The performance will mark the culmination of their residency.

To learn more about the performance and purchase tickets to Anchorage World Premiere, visit events.mtu.edu/event/anchorage_world_premiere. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for youth. The ticket cost is included for those Michigan Tech students who have paid the Experience Tech fee. Tickets may be purchased online, via phone at 906-487-2073, or in person at the Michigan Tech Central Ticket Office, located in the Student Development Complex. For those who are unable to attend in person, the performance will stream live on Youtube, Facebook Live, and the Michigan Tech Visual and Performing Arts Live Stream Page.

Na’ama Zisser is a London-based composer originally from Israel, where she grew up in an Orthodox-Jewish background before moving to the United Kingdom. She recently completed her doctoral composer-in-residence with the Royal Opera House and Guildhall School of Music & Drama where she composed a newly commissioned opera MAMZER/BASTARD, the first opera to feature and reference Orthodox-Jewish Cantorial music with a role written for a Cantor. Na’ama has composed for and worked with a long list of groups including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, DanceUK, and

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Her work has been performed at various venues that include a number of prominent performance spaces throughout London, and has been broadcast on the BBC and other radio outlets.

Artist statement— “My work is visually driven and often collaborative with other art forms; with a focus on opera, contemporary dance, staged performances, film and instrumental music. My music is concerned with intonation, textures, repetition, intimacy and nostalgia, and has been described as ‘free of cliches’ (The Guardian) and ‘hauntingly melodic’ (the Stage). I have always been interested in the use of musical found material, drawing upon my

surroundings and personal experiences. I am interested in telling stories, and often push myself to deal with questions of identity and emotional authenticity in the cultural landscape I operate in.”

Yoshito Sakuraba is a New York City based choreographer originally from Japan. He is the artistic director of the dance company Abarukas, which he founded in 2012. His work has been seen in Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Israel, Mexico, and throughout the U.S. Yoshito’s choreography has won multiple awards, including the International Choreographic Competition at NW Dance Project and Choreographic Shindig at Whim W’Him; the Best Choreography Award in Italy by FINI Dance; and Audience Prize at Masdanza International Contemporary Dance Festival in Spain. His work has been performed at numerous venues throughout New York City and around the world.

Artist statement — “It all starts from one idea or image, and I let it grow until it doesn’t. In my process of making dance I find a way to push boundaries and create imaginative images by offering feeling, resonance or exhilaration with the work. Subsequently, I build a visual storyline and weave a narrative that reverberates with ideas of love, loss, and human struggle. I value originality, style, design, approach, technique, and theatricality.

Theatricality, however, is perhaps the main objective within all of my past work. To me, it represents the density of signs and sensations built up on stage starting from the first lighting cue; it is the ecumenical perception of sensuous artifice–gesture, tone, distance, substance, light–which submerges the text beneath the profusion of its external language, and the belief that dancing is the most powerful way to tell a story.


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