Bad Unkl Sista
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Bad Unkl Sista

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In the post-World War II Japanese dance-psychodrama art form known as butoh, performers transport their audiences to a level of extreme hyper-realism and back to gentle repose: a kind of shock and awe.

Bad Unkl Sista’s choreographer Anastazia Louise brings her unique stamp to the custom in a world premiere titled “First Breath, Last Breath” this weekend on the Z Space stage... - The S.F. Examiner


In the post-World War II Japanese dance-psychodrama art form known as butoh, performers transport their audiences to a level of extreme hyper-realism and back to gentle repose: a kind of shock and awe.

Bad Unkl Sista’s choreographer Anastazia Louise brings her unique stamp to the custom in a world premiere titled “First Breath, Last Breath” this weekend on the Z Space stage... - The S.F. Examiner


Choreographer Anastazia Louise and her physical theater troupe, Bad Unkl Sista, have created a butoh-based performance, "First Breath, Last Breath," about the liminal spaces between the defining moments of our lives.

Louise grew up with a mother who was a dance teacher, so she'd already had ample experience with a variety of forms, from tap to jazz to ballet to acrobatics. Over the years, intensive character work, physical theater, comedy, costume-making and emotion-based choreography informed her singular style. But it was only when she discovered butoh that she found a form that tied it all together.
"When I discovered butoh, I thought I'd found God," she recalls. And while many people wouldn't describe Louise's multidisciplinary pieces as strictly butoh, "it's always been very consonant with what I do."

Louise's forays into large-scale production first took shape with the Carpetbag Brigade Physical Theater Company, an acrobatic stilt-walking troupe of which she was a core member. Over time, much of Louise's work became focused on large-scale events like festivals, where she worked with troupes as large as 50. Setting this piece in a theater with an audience will be a new experience, she says, because "a lot of our work was in parks and out in public, where we found so much energy and beauty."

This time around, Louise has assembled a group of artists that includes contortionists, trapeze performers and musicians. A cast of 12 creates the space and provides the trajectory for the performance... - San Francisco Chronicle


Choreographer Anastazia Louise and her physical theater troupe, Bad Unkl Sista, have created a butoh-based performance, "First Breath, Last Breath," about the liminal spaces between the defining moments of our lives.

Louise grew up with a mother who was a dance teacher, so she'd already had ample experience with a variety of forms, from tap to jazz to ballet to acrobatics. Over the years, intensive character work, physical theater, comedy, costume-making and emotion-based choreography informed her singular style. But it was only when she discovered butoh that she found a form that tied it all together.
"When I discovered butoh, I thought I'd found God," she recalls. And while many people wouldn't describe Louise's multidisciplinary pieces as strictly butoh, "it's always been very consonant with what I do."

Louise's forays into large-scale production first took shape with the Carpetbag Brigade Physical Theater Company, an acrobatic stilt-walking troupe of which she was a core member. Over time, much of Louise's work became focused on large-scale events like festivals, where she worked with troupes as large as 50. Setting this piece in a theater with an audience will be a new experience, she says, because "a lot of our work was in parks and out in public, where we found so much energy and beauty."

This time around, Louise has assembled a group of artists that includes contortionists, trapeze performers and musicians. A cast of 12 creates the space and provides the trajectory for the performance... - San Francisco Chronicle


Last night, I fell into a poem
one that made my heart expand so much, that I felt at times as if I was suffocating
on dreams
on fantasy
on truth
on reality
on everything that I keep hidden, and everything that I give away.
Last night, I fell into a dream
one that filled my heart so much, I felt that I could finally breathe
because everything that I give was finally accepted
and everything hidden was finally exposed
and I was raw
and I was beautiful…
and I still am, today... - CultureFlux Magazine


Last night, I fell into a poem
one that made my heart expand so much, that I felt at times as if I was suffocating
on dreams
on fantasy
on truth
on reality
on everything that I keep hidden, and everything that I give away.
Last night, I fell into a dream
one that filled my heart so much, I felt that I could finally breathe
because everything that I give was finally accepted
and everything hidden was finally exposed
and I was raw
and I was beautiful…
and I still am, today... - CultureFlux Magazine


I could tell the performance I was about to witness late last month was extraordinary even before entering the auditorium, just from watching the audience trickle into Z Space in San Francisco. There was a man who had somehow fused his beard with a slinky-like spiral pipe and wrapped it around his neck like a scarf. There were a few women in Betty Page/rockabilly outfits and the attendant shellacked beehive and Winehouse eyeliner. One girl’s hair resembled a Pantone swatch sheet—literally—small squares of dye checkered her shoulder-length crop. One man, who we found out later was the set designer for the production, had sausage links hanging from his belt loops. There were leather and piles of silver, feathers and dreadlocks, tattoos and guy-liner. I’ve never felt like such a square; even before the performance began it had rendered my life meaningless... - ZYZZYVA


I could tell the performance I was about to witness late last month was extraordinary even before entering the auditorium, just from watching the audience trickle into Z Space in San Francisco. There was a man who had somehow fused his beard with a slinky-like spiral pipe and wrapped it around his neck like a scarf. There were a few women in Betty Page/rockabilly outfits and the attendant shellacked beehive and Winehouse eyeliner. One girl’s hair resembled a Pantone swatch sheet—literally—small squares of dye checkered her shoulder-length crop. One man, who we found out later was the set designer for the production, had sausage links hanging from his belt loops. There were leather and piles of silver, feathers and dreadlocks, tattoos and guy-liner. I’ve never felt like such a square; even before the performance began it had rendered my life meaningless... - ZYZZYVA


Discography

Reincarnations (2013)
A diverse collection of "First Breath - Last Breath" remixes, with acoustic compositions interpreted by an array of DJs and producers. Available on iTunes, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Spotify, and other online channels.

First Breath - Last Breath (2012)
Music from the production "First Breath - Last Breath" featuring an eclectic range of compositions, from operatic arias to Tuvan throat singing, looped viola to percussion improvisations. Available on iTunes, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Spotify, and other online channels.

Photos

Bio

Bad Unkl Sista delivers much more than music. Combining elements of music, movement, costuming and theater, Bad Unkl Sista performances are multi-sensory experiences that seek to reach each witness at a personal level.

Artistic director Anastazia Louise offers a personally developed performance style that combines over twenty years of choreography, costuming and design experience. Under her direction, Bad Unkl Sista dancers are integrated into the music, blurring the boundary that traditionally exists between dancers and musicians.

Bad Unkl Sista performances feature music director and multi-instrumentalist Goyo Aranaga combining piano, hang, duduk, Tuvan throat singing, and a variety of other instruments. He is joined by Daniel Yasmin, a percussionist who hand-crafts his own instruments, and a rotating lineup including bass, operatic soprano, viola, and others. Electronic musician F'kir Eldercake manipulates the acoustic material in real time, blending the familiar with the unfamiliar and transforming the final mix into the unexpected.

The music is a multi-genre mashup of styles and sounds, a myriad of acoustic instruments digitally manipulated to create sonic tapestries of tone, pulse, and texture. It manifests in unexpected ways – ECM colliding with Squarepusher, hand-cast percussion instruments resonating through DJ mixing tools, Opera blended with Electronica.

An overarching Japanese-inspired minimalism complements the Butoh-based choreography and design aesthetic, with dancers providing the non-verbal voice of the ensemble. The addition of couture costuming and physical theater elements put the finishing touches on a performance not to be missed.

Since its conception in 2002, Bad Unkl Sista has produced hundreds of presentations for local and regional promoters and festivals, from solo feature acts to opera-scale productions involving 50+ performers and musicians.