1310 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94103 * Tel. 415.626.2060 * Fax. 415.626.1643 * www.counterpulse.org

For Immediate Release: Dance/Theater

Contact: Ryan Crowder, Communications Manager

415-626-2060 or ryan@counterpulse.org

CounterPULSE Presents:

Home is That Way? & New Rituals for a Desperate Era

New Works by Winter 2010 Artists in Residence

Kendra Kimbrough Barnes & Jose Navarrete & Violeta Luna

April  1-4, 2010


"Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings"

-Angela Davis

"Water is a commons. . . It cannot be owned as private property and sold as a commodity."

-Vandana Shiva

San Francisco, February 2010-- 1 in every 100 Americans is in prison. This is a sobering statistic. But when 1 in every 9 black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is incarcerated, black families in America have the most frequent experience of how incarceration can affect family life.

Over the past three decades a worldwide water crisis has been brewing. The increasing pollution, depletion and privatization of water resources around the world has drawn attention to issues surrounding water rights and scarcity. If water is a right we all share, what happens when corporations own and start charging a lot more for what essentially boils down to life?

Breaking the cycle of of incarceration and creating new ways to confront water privatization are the subjects of two new works by CounterPULSE's Winter 2010 Artists in Residence Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and Jose Navarrete in collaboration with Violeta Luna.  Together they weave dance, theater, and multimedia into creative and provocative performances with broad political implications.

New Rituals for a Desperate Era

By José Navarrete (NAKA) and Violeta Luna


New Rituals for a Desperate Era reinterprets ancient Mexican mythology and iconography to address pressing ecological issues around water rights and shortages. Drawing from the poetry and didactic power of pre-Hispanic myths, it constructs a compelling discourse on the depletion of our natural resources, in a production that combines contemporary dance, performance art, new music composition, visual art installation, and video.


New Rituals for a Desperate Era is the product of the artistic encounter between two Mexican artists living in the U.S., Jose Navarrete and Violeta Luna, and their collaboration with video/film artist, Ricardo Rivera, music composer, Javier Torres Maldonado, and visual artist Lauren Elder.  Luna and Navarrete are interested in the socio-political impact of their work, as much as they are in forging new aesthetic values.


Rituals puts our post-industrial realities in dialogue with the symbolic power of ancient Mexican mythology in the figures of the god Tláloc and the goddess Chalchihuitlicue.  These deities will help them embody metaphorically the human struggle to conserve natural water reserves and resources, and bring awareness to water’s life-giving properties.  They will also assist the artists in asking questions about the rapid commodification of water, the keystone of all life in the planet.  Aside from issues of contamination and depletion, Rituals seeks to bring attention to the emerging struggle of communities around the globe to have free access to clean water.

Home is That Way?

By Kendra Kimbrough Barnes


What happens when one begins to re-trace his/her steps home and has no idea which way to go? Kendra Kimbrough Barnes delves into the experience of her own brother's decade-long incarceration and its dislocating effect on her family.  According to Barnes, "The title is a direct quote from my brother. When I visited him at a facility he had just been transferred to, we went outside to get some fresh air. He had never seen this area of the prison and he began trying to re-trace his steps of arriving there.  He pointed in the direction he believed to be the ocean and then in the way he thought could've been a highway and then said, 'home is that way right?' This resonated on so many levels."

Barnes parlays this experience into the story of Eli, a fictional boy with magical powers. Unbeknownst to him, he gains strength in these powers by playing with a soccer ball. As he grows older he begins to retrace steps, changing his understanding of home, recalling his upbringing, and questioning which direction to go in (literally and figuratively).   Told in four chapters, Home is That Way? is a dance drama that that recalls the innocence, genius, tragedy, and rebirth of this imaginative boy. The performance features a dynamic cast including Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, Clairemonica Figueroa, Travis Rowland, and Dezmond Monroe Robinson. Clairemonica Figueroa will also contribute line drawings of characters to delineate each segment of the piece. Original sound score by the Sounds of Boon and Delina Brooks and set design by Shelley Davis.

Subjects covered include:



Calendar Editors:

What:         New Rituals for a Desperate Era & Home is That Way?

                                   New Works by Winter 2010 Artists in Residence

                                  Jose Navarrete & Violeta Luna & Kendra Kimbrough Barnes


When:        Thursday – Sunday, April 1-4, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

                 Post-show discussions following Friday & Saturday performances


Where:       CounterPULSE

                 1310 Mission Street @ 9th, San Francisco


Tickets:      $15-20 Sliding Scale

                 www.counterpulse.org or 1-800-838-3006


Web:          www.counterpulse.org



About the Artists:

Kendra Kimbrough Barnes holds a BA in Dance, from San Francisco State University and an MA in Arts Administration from Golden Gate University. She graduated with honors and is a recipient of the "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges" award and as of 2008 the "Who's Who Among American Women." Aspiring to be a choerographer at age 7 and beginning classes at age 12 she has studied a variety of styles including Contemporary, African, Brazilian, Indian, and Dunham & Horton Techniques. She has also performed with such notables as the late Malonga Casquelord's Fua Dia Congo, Chitresh Das' Chaandam School of Kathak Dance, Donald Byrd, Robert Moses, Robert Henry Johnson, Bebe Miller, Bill T. Jones, and Rosangela Silvestre. Kendra has been guest choreographer for San Francisco State University's Dance Department, Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble, Move Dance Theater of Oakland, and Abundent Life Christian Fellowship (resident choreographer for all major productions). In 1996 she founded the Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble (KKDE) which has presented work at the East Bay Dance Festival, Alice Arts Center, the Black Choreographers Festival, Summerfest/WestWave Dance Festival, and Dance Mosaic. Kendra currently teaches dance to adults and children ages 7-18 through Dimension's Rites of Passage program in Oakland at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts and Jazz/Pilates/Yoga at San Mateo and Laney Colleges.

José Navarrete has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and M.F.A in Dance from Mills College.  Navarrete continued studying contact improvisation with Sara Shelton Mann, Taiko Drumming with Hiroyuki (Jimi) Nakagawa and Argentine Tango with Nora Dinzelbacher. Navarrete has performed with Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theater, June Watanabe In Company, Pearl Ubungen Dancers and Musicians, Shakiri/Rootworkers, and Sara Shelton Mann/Contraband. He has performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Boston’s Dance Umbrella, Dancing in the Streets in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Open Look International Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Navarrete’s choreographic work has been presented by the Bay Area Dance Series, the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Dance Festival, Summerfest, Theater Artaud, ODC Theater, and Dance Mission Theater. He has received grants from the California Arts Council, the Zellerbach Family Fund, and Theater Bay Area. He has also received two nominations for the Isadora Duncan award in choreography and performance. In 2004, he was the recipient of a Bessie Schönberg Choreographers residency at The Yard, and a Djerassi Resident Artist Program fellowship. Navarrete has created and presented his own work as an independent choreographer since 1993. In addition, he co-directs Navarrete x Kajiyama (NAKA) Dance Theater, a contemporary dance-theater company founded in 2001 to produce the work of Navarrete and Japanese-American choreographer Debby Kajiyama. NAKA has been presented by Summerfest, the Lesbian & Gay Dance Festival, Dance Mission Theater, the Queer Arts Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, California State University at Hayward, the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s performance series, Movement Research NY, Southern Theater Minneapolis, Philadelphia Dance Projects, Velocity Seattle and the Hemispheric Institute of NYU in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2006, NAKA was named one of the “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. Currently Navarrete works at YBCA as a Performance Arts Educator for the YAAW (Youth Artist At Work).

Violeta Luna obtained her graduate degree in Acting from the Centro Universitario de Teatro in Mexico City. She has performed under the direction of relevant Mexican artists such as José Caballero, Raúl Zermeño, José Ramón Enríquez and Estela Leñero.  In 1995 she founded Grande y Pequeño (“Big and Small”) an all-women theater company that focuses on developing original works and experimental stagings of classical theater. Violeta has toured her work extensively throughout Mexico. She has also performed and taught workshops in Cuba, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Spain, France, Portugal, Norway, Egypt, UK, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and the USA, to name some touring destinations. She works in community centered projects in Mexico, and with incarcerated and recently arrived immigrant women in San Francisco. Since 1998 she is an associate artist of La Pocha Nostra, a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary performance collective under the direction of Guillermo Gomez Peña. In San Francisco, she is also the associate director of El Teatro Jornalero!, a theater company that brings the voice of Latin American immigrant workers to the stage, and the performance collective Secos & Mojados. Her current work explores the relationship between theater, performance and community engagement.

About CounterPULSE:

CounterPULSE provides space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture. CounterPULSE acts as a catalyst for art and action; creating a forum for the open exchange of art and ideas, catalyzing transformation in our communities and our society. We work towards a world that celebrates diversity of race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity & sexual orientation. We strive to create an environment that is physically and economically accessible to everyone.

About the Artist Residency Commissioning Program:

The Artist Residency Commissioning (ARC) Program represents an expansion of CounterPULSE's decade-long and highly-acclaimed Artist in Residence Program.  CounterPULSE identifies artists whose work is ready to be experienced by a larger audience, and offers the space, resources and support to develop new work.  Select artists are commissioned to further develop their work into full-length premieres.  The program is made possible by support from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.



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