Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 15, 2012.

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The Water is Clear and Still combines literature and dance in an installation that brings audiences inside the theatrical experience.

The Project:

The Water is Clear and Still is a new performance installation by Liss Fain Dance that combines the visceral energy of dance with text from Jamaica Kincaid’s sharp-edged and beautiful short story collection, At the Bottom of the River. Using the entire 60-foot depth of the Z Space theater in San Francisco, the piece invites the audience to enter the set and sound environment with the performers, giving them the opportunity to move around and through it and to become an integral part of the performance themselves. The Water is Clear and Still will premiere May 31-June 3, and as part of this project, the company is teaching workshops about the creation and integration of movement and language to students at 826 Valencia, a non-profit organization in San Francisco that supports students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills.

Who We Are:

This project is a collaboration between Liss Fain, choreographer and director of Liss Fain Dance; six dancers (Alec Lytton, Carson Stein, Jeremiah Crank, Katharine Hawthorne, Megan Kurashige, and Shannon Kurashige) who develop and enrich the movement; Val Sinckler, the actor who performs the text; Dan Wool, who is composing the original score; Matthew Antaky, whose lighting and set design creates the world for this to live in; and Mary Domenico, who is designing original costumes.

The Water is Clear and Still reflects the voices of all of these artists, but the final collaborators are the members of the audience. Their rhythms—walking, standing, shifting focus—create the final, fascinating layer of intimacy and unpredictability. They make each of these live performances a unique and entirely different experience.

Why We Need Your Support:

This Kickstarter campaign will raise money for production costs for set construction and the commissioned score, and will support our outreach workshops with 826 Valencia.

Founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari in 2002, 826 Valencia offers an enormous range of free programs that support and inspire both students and teachers in the literary arts. We are thrilled to be teaching these workshops where students experiment with creating text and movement, and seeing how one can influence or intensify the other. They are given free tickets to our performances so they can see a finished piece that builds on these ideas. We have already taught one workshop in April and our next workshop at 826 Valencia will take place on June 23rd.

Our mission is to bring dance into people’s lives. In addition to our outreach workshops and performances in theatrical venues, we present performance installations in public spaces such as galleries, libraries, museums, and atriums. We bring dance to people in places where they might not expect it, to excite them about the possibility of art in an everyday setting.

A Note From Liss Fain:

“Jamaica Kincaid’s stories are built on lush imagery and fluid cadences. They layer memory, fantasy, and reality with unexpected transitions and juxtapositions. Her writing is filled with images that can be strange, unsettling, and soothing at the same time. As I choreograph, the text becomes a sort of musical score, and its rhythms, images, and sensations help me create the movement. This piece is about the changeable nature of perception, how we see things differently at different times, and how quickly change happens.”

More About the Company:

Liss Fain Dance

Liss Fain Dance tours nationally and internationally with work for proscenium stages and performance installations. The company has performed and taught at festivals and venues in Poland, Germany, Belarus, Russia, and the UK, as well as colleges, universities, festivals and presenting organizations in the US. Home seasons in San Francisco are presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Z Space. In addition, LFD performs in free outreach events throughout the Bay Area.

Liss Fain’s work expresses the unpredictable course of events that comprise one’s life and peoples’ responses to unforeseen situations. Non-narrative, highly physical and emotionally resonant, her work fuses modern dance’s forceful energy with the kinetic precision of ballet. Since its founding in Boston in 1988, Liss Fain Dance has premiered over 45 works by Ms. Fain and collaborated with individuals and creative organizations that include MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, The Exploratorium, and The Apple Multimedia Lab.

Liss Fain

Since 1988, Liss Fain has created more than 45 pieces, many of which integrate the work of film makers, video artists, composers, actors, and technologists. She has developed bilateral artistic exchanges with companies from abroad that include shared performances and workshops open to the public. Liss Fain's choreography has been performed at and presented by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Z Space; Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CA); Open Look Contemporary Dance Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia); Belaya Vezha International Theater Festival, Minsk Philharmonic Society and Grodno Drama Theater (Belarus); Silesian Dance Festival (Bytom), Zawirowania Festival (Warsaw), the US Embassy and Contemporary Dance Forum (Poland); California State Summer School of the Arts; Southside Theater, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Celebrate Dance; West Wave Dance Festival; Central Coast Summer Dance Fest; Theater Artaud; Cowell Theater; ODC Theater; Julia Morgan Center for the Arts; Zeum; San Jose State University; the International Computer Music Conference; the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; Downtown Dance Festival, NYC; ArtCulture Resource Center, Toronto; Dance Umbrella, Boston; Harvard University; University of Massachusetts; Colby College; Clark University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Matthew Antaky

For over 20 years Mr. Antaky has created and collaborated on both scenic and lighting designs for the performing arts including, dance, opera, theater and music. He has worked with Liss Fain Dance for 15 years. Recent designs for other dance productions Include: Listening Last with ODC Dance Company, Dreams Recycled with Zhukov Dance Theater, Meditations on Being Lost with FTPG and Hiding in the Spaces Between with RAW Dance. Recent opera, theater and music designs include: 4 Saints in Three Acts, The Great Gatsby and Orphee for the Ensemble Parallele opera company, Oakland Symphony, The SF World Music Festival and La Traviata and Most Happy Fella For Festival Opera. Mr. Antaky is a seven-time nominee and four time recipient of the Isadora Duncan award for outstanding visual design.

Dan Wool

Dan Wool is a San Francisco based composer who has created scores for more than 45 feature film and broadcast television projects, including seven films for celebrated cult filmmaker Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy). He is perhaps best known as the principal composer in the soundtrack-group Pray for Rain. He has also worked extensively writing music for domestic and international television advertising and as sound-designer for several short films and documentaries. In the performing arts, Dan has composed scores and designed sound for Axis Dance Company, Liss Fain Dance, choreographer Sonsheree Giles, and The Tea Dancers/Ballet de la Compasion. 

Photos by RJ Muna, 2012.

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    Our sincere thanks and your name listed in the program for the premiere performances of "The Water is Clear and Still."

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    A Liss Fain Dance sticker, designed especially for Kickstarter backers. Plus: your name listed in the program.

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    A signed Liss Fain Dance poster designed for the premiere of "The Water is Clear and Still" featuring the photography of RJ Muna. Plus: a sticker and your name listed in the program.

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    A digital download of the original score for "The Water is Clear and Still" composed by Dan Wool. Plus: a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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    A digital download featuring audio interviews with Liss Fain and the collaborating artists about the creation of "The Water is Clear and Still." Plus: digital download of the original score, a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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    A performance DVD of "The Water is Clear and Still." Plus: digital downloads of audio interviews and the original score, a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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    Two tickets to one of the premiere performances of "The Water is Clear and Still" at Z Space in San Francisco, May 31-June 3, 2012. Plus: digital downloads of audio interviews and the original score, a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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    An archival quality print of one of the publicity photos taken by photographer RJ Muna for "The Water is Clear and Still." Plus: a DVD of the performance OR a pair of tickets, digital downloads of the audio interviews and the original score, a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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    Send us a written memory or story (one page maximum) and we will create an original phrase of movement based on your words using the same processes and ideas that lie behind "The Water is Clear and Still" and our outreach workshops with 826 Valencia. We will film ourselves dancing it and send the video to you. Plus: a print of an RJ Muna photo, a DVD of the performance OR a pair of tickets, digital downloads of the audio interviews and the original score, a signed poster, a sticker, and your name listed in the program.

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Funding period

- (42 days)