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Cal Performances’ fall lineup brings rich mix of culture, tradition and dance to stage

By September 23, 2019 No Comments
The Hawaiian classical dance ensemble Hālau O Kekuhi will make a rare mainland visit with a performance on Oct. 20 at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. (Photo courtesy of Kalei Nuuhiwa)

While world views seem to grow more distant daily on social media platforms, it might be wise to let some of humanity’s time-tested unifying traditions take the stage instead.

Let’s try music and dance.

Cal Performances’ fall lineup, with a sampling of global forms of dance and movement — from Japanese butoh and Hawaiian hula to Andalusian flamenco and international acrobatic arts — provides a path to cultural connection here in Zellerbach Hall’s small corner of the universe on the UC Berkeley campus.

“Today, perhaps more than ever, we seem to be searching for ways to bring people together, to strengthen our understanding of those who share this small planet with us,” said Cal Performances executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen.

“Everyone benefits through exposure to the history, traditions, beliefs and aspirations of other cultures,” he said. “Experiencing the world’s diverse — and entertaining — performing arts traditions increases the possibilities for such interaction.”

Sankai Juku, acclaimed as one of Japan’s finest butoh performance ensembles, will take the stage Oct. 12-13 at Zellerbach Hall. (Photo courtesy of Sankai Juku)

First up on Oct. 12-13, is Sankai Juku, acclaimed as one of Japan’s finest butoh performance ensembles. The company will share its production of “Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land,” a poetic meditation on time and the natural world, created by artistic director Ushio Amagatsu, inspired by the ebb and flow of water and the cycle of the Earth’s seasons.

The performances will be accompanied by a free butoh workshop and panel discussion.

Next, on Oct. 20, the Hawaiian classical dance ensemble Hālau O Kekuhi will make a rare mainland visit. The troupe specializes in the kinetic and vigorous ‘aiha‘a style of hula and chant, handed down from woman-to-woman for more than eight generations of the Kanaka’ole family in Hilo. It calls to mind the intimate relationship of the Hawaiian people to the power and beauty of the natural world.

As part of the visit, a community class will be held on the day of the performance, teaching the fundamentals and traditions of Hawaiian hula. It will be led by Māhealani Uchiyama, an award-winning dancer, musician, composer, choreographer, teacher and an advocate for cross-cultural understanding.

MOMIX, the famed company of dancer-illusionists, will bring its family-friendly spectacle “Viva MOMIX” to campus Oct. 26-27. (Photo courtesy of John Kane)

MOMIX, the famed company of dancer-illusionists, will bring its family-friendly spectacle “Viva MOMIX” to campus Oct. 26-27, performing a collection of vignettes and acts from some of the company’s most memorable productions, including the “Botanica,” “Lunar Sea” and “Opus Cactus,” about the landscape of the American Southwest.

Last, but certainly not least, Farruquito — also known as Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya, heir to the storied dynasty of “puro” Gypsy flamenco dancers in Andalusia, Spain — returns to Berkeley on Nov. 4.

Farruquito — also known as Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya, heir to the storied dynasty of “puro” Gypsy flamenco dancers in Andalusia, Spain — returns to Berkeley on Nov. 4. (Photo courtesy of Farraquito)

Considered one of today’s most electric dance artists, Farruquito performs in a muscular, explosive style, balancing strength and power with grace and finesse. He’s also known for the chemistry he cultivates with the guitarists, singers and percussionists in his 15-piece world-class ensemble.

For ticket information on Cal Performances’ fall lineup, call 510-642-9988 or visit www.calperformances.org.