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THE ARTS: Science, art and dance in COLLAPSE, One Shot

By Dave Jones on October 12, 2007 in University

Science and art merge with dance in a pair of upcoming productions at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

COLLAPSE (suddenly falling down), a new work by choreographer and theater artist Della Davidson, explores the breakdown of social orders and ecosystems in a production comprising dance, spoken word and three-dimensional, computer-generated images the audience can view through special glasses.

The production is by Sideshow Physical Theatre, the resident professional company of the Mondavi Center and the Department of Theatre and Dance. COLLAPSE (suddenly falling down) is the first production in the Mondavi Center's new Creativity Project.

Said Davidson: "This piece has developed very collaboratively, in a process that involved several members of the university's science faculty, and with the 3-D computer projections, which the performers onstage can actually interact with, it's going to have a different look and feel from almost anything that local audiences might have seen before."

The images from UC Davis' W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences, or KeckCAVES, would typically be used to study landscape changes, yet proved a perfect way to integrate images of ecological change and decay into Davidson's stage presentation.

She collaborated with several faculty members: Louise Kellogg and Dawn Sumner of geology, James Crutchfield of physics and Michael Neff of computer science, plus research associate Gerald Bawden of geology and Oliver Kreylos of the Center for Computational Science and Engineering.

One Shot is choreographer Ronald K. Brown's tribute to photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris.

One Shot features Brown's troupe EVIDENCE, performing to jazz music and amid film and images taken by Harris. He spent almost four decades as a working-class photographer for the African American newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier.

Nicknamed "One Shot" because he rarely required his subjects to pose for more than one exposure, Harris took more than 80,000 photographs during his career with the Courier, a career that spanned the period from the Great Depression to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


COLLAPSE (suddenly falling down): 8 p.m. Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3; and 7 p.m. Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, Studio Theatre.

One Shot: 8 p.m. Oct. 27 (and school matinee 11 a.m. Oct. 26), Jackson Hall.

TICKETS: Mondavi Center box office, (530) 754-2787 or (866) 754-2787, or (Educators and others interested in purchasing tickets for the school matinee should call (530) 754-4689.)

PODCASTS: Mondavi Center discussions with choreographers Della Davidson and Ronald K. Brown.


Charles "Teenie" Harris photo exhibition, Oct. 21-Nov. 4, throughout the Mondavi Center. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Mondavi Center and the C.N. Gorman Museum.

Forum@MC panel discussion, "Legacy in the World of Dance: Ronald K. Brown, Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham," with Brown and Halifu Osumare, a dancer, choreographer and UC Davis professor of African American and African Studies. 4 p.m. Oct. 26, Studio Theatre. Free.

One Shot postperformance question-and-answer session Oct. 27, with Brown, Osumare and members of EVIDENCE.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,