Roll over, Tennessee Williams, and tell Erskine Caldwell the news.

8232Yes, it’s true: as a general rule we video types will happily shoot anything that moves. That said, I believe there are few things as satisfying as shooting and editing dance, and if comes in the form of dance theatre, so much the better.

“Dance theatre,” much in vogue in the dance world these days, may be defined as the theatrical representation of a story that is set to music and performed by trained dancers. In much the same way that opera is drama expressed through music, dance theatre (also known as “concert dance” and “dance drama”) uses movement and gesture to define characters and propel the narrative.

29782John Malashock, Artistic Director of San Diego’s Malashock Dance, is an accomplished practitioner of dance theatre whose past work in the genre includes two collaborations with UCSD-TV (and Your Humble Correspondent), “Soul of Saturday Night” and “Love & Murder.” In “Snakeskin” Malashock has teamed with Krishan Oberoi, Artistic Director for the acclaimed choral ensemble SACRA/PROFANA, to present a piece inspired by the work of Tennessee Williams, in particular Williams’ 1957 play “Orpheus Descending.” “Snakeskin” tells the story of a small Southern town whose surface placidity is disrupted by the arrival of a drifter in a snakeskin jacket. His presence arouses (ahem) unseemly passions in several of the town’s womenfolk, and as you might expect the tale unfolds in the best Southern Gothic tradition.

29781All of the members of SACRA/PROFANA are singers as well as instrumentalists, and Oberoi’s original music and lyrics range through a variety of influences, from neo-baroque to folk-rock to Stravinsky. Malashock’s choreography is equally diverse, by turns lyrical, combative, and athletic. The Forum Theatre at UC San Diego proved to be the ideal setting for a work that relies on intimacy for its impact (and it’s an excellent video venue in the bargain).

“Snakeskin” is a cogent illustration of the artistic maxim that “there is universality in specificity.” Though the inspiration, costumes and stage design speak of a distinct period and setting, this oft-told story achieves freshness through the interplay of sound and kinetics, and acquires a near-mythic status as it plumbs themes of bigotry, class, small-town isolation, chauvinism, and sexual jealousy. Tennessee Williams would be so proud.

Watch Snakeskin – Malashock Dance + SACRA/PROFANA and browse more programs from Malashock Dance.


Contributed by John Menier, Arts & Humanities Producer


It's a Wrap! Don't Miss the Series Finale of "UCSD@50"

As UC San Diego concludes its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with the upcoming Alumni Weekend, UCSD-TV premieres the final installment in its 6-part magazine program, “UCSD@50,” which profiles the people, research and innovative spirit that make this campus an institution of national and international distinction.

In the season finale — online now and airing throughout the month — host Mary Walshok, professor of sociology and UCSD’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Extended Studies and Public Programs, presents stories on Physical Sciences, Engineering and Dance Theatre. We also visit with a staffer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s wonderful Birch Aquarium, wrap up the campus’ successful Volunteer 50 program, and treat you to a montage of UC San Diego’s Green Open House event.

Mary Walshok hosts the series finale of "UCSD@50"

“After such a spectacular year of anniversary celebrations, I’m honored to host the final episode of UCSD@50,” said host Mary Walshok, who helped launch UCSD-TV in 1993, as well as the successful CONNECT and San Diego Dialogue organizations. “Over the years, I’ve participated in and witnessed the transformation of this campus into a leader in everything from the sciences to theater, as well as cross-border collaboration, high-tech business development and so much more. It’s all the more exciting that we can share these accomplishments with the San Diego community through UCSD-TV. ”

You can find all six episodes of UCSD@50, as well as other anniversary-related programs, at our 50th website. And don’t miss the premiere of new programs from UCSD’s Innovation Day Expo and Symposia (IDEaS), airing Monday nights at 8pm beginning June 20. Programs include panel discussions with UCSD alumni, students, faculty and staff about the current state and future of education.

We hope you enjoyed this video snapshot of UC San Diego’s past, present and future, and we look forward to sharing much more with you in the years ahead!

New State of Minds Premieres in May 2010

Stay tuned for an new installment of UCTV’s State of Minds. Learn how the magic of Folkorico dance inspires a former UC Santa Cruz student to become a UCSC professor of anthropology and producer of documentary films. Follow along as UC Davis becomes the first university to use top green design standards for a new winery, brewery and food processing facility. Join UC Riverside researchers as they pursue the right mix for growing drought-tolerant grass. Look for these stories and more in May.