New Releases: HSOB015 and HSOB018 by David Bernabo


A collection of recordings made during David Bernabo's college years from 2001 to 2004. (Released 4/19/2017)



Four dancers, three camera persons, and a musician perform The Reduction, an evening-length dance piece that attempts to alter time, the role of the performer, and the role of the audience. Featuring choreographer David Bernabo, bassist Darin Gray, dancers Ru Emmons, JoAnna Dehler, Lauryn Petrick, and narrator Lenka Clayton. (Released 4/25/2017)

The Reduction Documentation Begins by David Bernabo

The task of editing the five cameras worth of footage from last year's The Reduction has started.

The Reduction
by David Bernabo

An evening length movement work
Mario Ashkar    (+ videography)
Lenka Clayton
JoAnna Dehler
Ru Emmons-Apt
Darin Gray
Heather Mull (+ videography)
Lauryn Petrick
Stephanie Tsong (+ videography)

This work is both a culmination of 14 years of work in music, art, film, and dance and the first attempt to combine those efforts into a formal theater work. This work deals with various layers of realities, simulations, and perspectives. We are looking at how context, time, and positioning alters how an image, an action, or a sound is interpreted. By using improvisation, use of shared choreography generation, non-performer interference, we are looking at definitions of authenticity and ownership, controls within systems, and how formal considerations within “theater” can extend into the “real” world.

Archived Interview: newMoves Festival 2012 by David Bernabo

The newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival is back next week at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater from Thursday, May 10 through Saturday May 12. Check the Facebook page for more info. Choreographers from Hungary, New York, Philadelphia, and Ohio will be coming to town. Also, Pittsburgh's own Pittsburgh choreographers will be presenting new work. The newMoves festival is a great chance to see some emerging locals. Beth Ratasis a local dancer and now choreographer that will be presenting a brand new piece. Beth's piece will be performed Thursday, May 10 at KST alongside Jamie Murphy and Renee Danielle Smith (PGH), Simone Sobers (NYC), Alan Obuzor (PGH), Jasmine Hearn (PGH), Shannon Murphy (PHL). Beth shared a little about her work process and what we can expect next next Thursday.

DBWhat piece are you performing at newMoves? Who is involved in the ensemble?
Beth Ratas: I am creating a new work. It is a work-in-progress with the working title 'I dare you'. I am using 3 dancers plus myself. The dancers names are Alyssa Mayfield, Mariana Batista, and Jasmine Hearn.

DBWhere does your piece originate? What themes are you hoping to explore?
BR: My piece originated with the idea of women feeling the need to cover or veil themselves in society. As I became more clear, it shifted to the focus/idea of forbidden fruit/temptation. Through dissecting this topic, I started to explore the words allure, devour, and retract. If you are tempted by something, what do you choose to do, devour it or retract from it? 

DBHow does the choreography process start? Is improvisation involved?
BR: I like to start with a guided improvisation. Allowing the dancers to become aware of how their structure is working. Often times, I gravitate to how the body feels from the inside, out. Inspired by skeletal structure, blood flow, connective tissue and working my way out to the epidermis. Then I start to add words that relate to my piece like: allure, devour, retract, sensual, bound, violent, and orange just to name a few. I allow the dancers to create movement based on improv, and then I start to structure the piece around their own improvised movement language. 

DBI noticed a new facebook page (LINK) - can we expect more Beth Ratas work in the future?
BR: Yes, you should expect to see more of Beth Ratas! I actually have a performance coming up on Friday July 6th @ 6pm @ The Union Project titled 'Relative Positions'. Curated by Shana Simmons, it is a multi-media/multi-room art happening that will bring many different artists together.

We continue our interview series of newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival choreographers with Pittsburgh's Jasmine Hearn. Jasmine has danced with Dance Alloy, STAYCEE PEARL dance project, and others. newMoves will see her present a new piece called, "if god left the lights on could we walk alone at night." newMoves starts this Thursday at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and lasts through Saturday May 12. Check the Facebook page for more info. Check out the last week's interview with Beth Ratas here.

DB: What piece are you performing at newMoves? Who is involved in the ensemble?
Jasmine Hearn: I will be presenting an excerpt from a new work titled "if god left the lights on could we walk alone at night". Movement artists include Alyssa Mayfield, Riva Strauss, Beth Ratas, and me. Just so you know there is partial nudity in the work. 

DB: Where does your piece originate from? What themes are you hoping to explore?
JH: My piece is a simple, sensual moving collection of images that have been remembered from literature, film, and experience. While humanizing the many labels bestowed upon women, the piece focuses on one question: why has the female sex been so over valued but her sexuality so underappreciated? 

DB: How does the choreography process start? Is improvisation involved?
JH: There are many different processes that we have tried; creating a phrase and teaching the dancers to see how they interpret it, guided improvisation, and asking the dancers themselves to contribute phrasework are some examples.

DB: What else is going on? Any upcoming performances or projects?
JH: I will be presenting another section of "if god left the lights on..." at Pittsbugh's Pride Festival Sunday June 10th. I also hope to present the entire length work here in Pittsburgh, and also in Houston, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also for more info go to my facebook artist page:

DB: Who else are you looking forward to seeing at newMoves?
JH: Honestly everyone. The line-up is pretty amazing this year.

Next, we catch up New York City's Marjani Forté. Marjani is a touring member of Urban Bush Women Dance Co. (who performed in Pgh in the '07/08 season), half of LOVE|FORTÉ with Nia Love, and has worked with Earl Mosely's Diversity of Dance, Garth Fagan, Blondell Cummings, Camille A. Brown, and others. Marjani will perform Friday, May 11 alongside idiosynCrazy Productions (NYC), anonymous bodies (PHL), and August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble (PGH). Check out the interview below and head over to Kelly-Strayhorn Theater's website for ticket and performance info:

DB: What piece are you performing at newMoves? Who is involved in the ensemble?
Marjani Forté : I'll be performing EGO. EGO is solo, choreographed and performed by myself Marjani Forté (, with an original composition by Everett Saunders/Ngozi Flux ( The work was our second collaboration.

DB: Where does your piece originate from? What themes are you hoping to explore?
MF: EGO came from my observations of who and what I became in crowds, among strangers, or even close acquaintances. As it evolved, the piece began to capture, at a glance, my journey towards self-acceptance, and Everett's journey towards self-acceptance. It manifested in 3 distinct personalities, that held the multi-faceted and complex nature of over and under compensating.

DB: How does the choreography process start? What steps occur along the way?
MF: I began this work drawing inspiration from a song, that seemed to speak my frustrations with self- "Out my mind" by Erykah Badu. It quickly evolved beyond the song and into my body. It was first presented as an idea at New Orleans McKenna Museum. It later found its way into my journal. I began writing about the work, thinking about who or what I was trying to protect by "putting on". What if the song was really addressing the emphatic destructive commitment to one's own EGO or ideal self. I later fashioned my words into a Haiku Structure, then deconstructed the product of that work. The text spoken in the score is the remnants of that work.

DB: What else is going on? Any upcoming performances or projects?
MF: I have an ongoing creative "marriage" with choreographer Nia Love, called LOVE|FORTÉ, a collective committed to making work with social and politically conscious weight, that challenges norms, and shifts the performance and witnessing experience. We'll be performing this month at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, and Movement Research's Judson Church. I am currently an Artist-In-Residence with Movement Research. I also recently premiered a new work at Danspace for the PARALLELS: Platforms Series curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones. I'll be looking to develop this work, titled Here..., over the next few years. Here... was an observation of Mental Health in the face of systematic oppression, and will evolve to examine Addiction through the same lens. 


This one comes from Texture's Alan Obuzor.

DB: What piece are you performing at newMoves? Who is involved in the ensemble?
Alan Obuzor: I will be performing a new piece titled "Taken". It will be a solo on myself. In the future, I plan to extend the piece so that this solo will be the 2nd movement, and I will add a 1st and a 3rd movement that will include more dancers. The music is by Philip Glass.

DB: Where does your piece originate from? What themes are you hoping to explore?
AO: The starting point for this piece come from the music, that is mostly true of all of my work. In this piece I am exploring the emotions that one goes through after a tramatic life event. 

DB: How does the choreography process start? Is improvisation involved?
AO: A lot of listening to the music, then playing around in the studio with movement, sometimes improvisation sometimes not. Basically creating/finding movement or material that supports my vision for the piece.

DB: What else if going on? Any upcoming performances or projects?
AO: Texture will be performing a new work at "Speaking of..." on June 16th. Then we will be having Texture's 1st Birthday Party on July 7th, there will be new work presented and performed throughout the evening. Then we will be having our main summer show July 19th - 22nd at the New Hazlet Theater.
From more detailed info on any of our upcoming events you can visit our website:

DB: Who else are you looking forward to seeing at newMoves?
AO: I am Happy the be performing on the same night as The Murphy/Smith Dance Collective as I personally danced with them last year, but I am excited to see all of the other performances.

waywardland by David Bernabo

I am thrilled to be part of Jil Stifel and Ben Sota's new work, WaywardLand.  The piece is an evening length dance work that will premiere as part of the New Hazlett Theater's CSA Program. Here is a bit of information.

A new work that searches out the intersections between, modern dance, contemporary circus and physical theater. We look for the very root of our species nature, finding entanglement, support and relationships as we meet, dance, fly, balance, and rock through this WaywardLand. by Jil Stifel and Benjamin Sota, with Anna Slowdanger Thompson, Taylor Slowdanger Knight, set be Blaine Siegel, sound by David Bernabo, costumes by Casey Lee Droege, and lighting by Scott Nelson.

Thursday, Feb 12 @ New Hazlett, 8pm (one night only!)

I have been very fortunate to work with all of these people before. Taylor and I co-curate the Lightlab Performance Series and have performed together in the majority of pieces that I have danced. Likewise, I have worked with Anna in a number of pieces - she was also part of the original MODULES crew. Jil gave me my first taste of dance when we danced a short duet in one of Gia Cacalano's pieces. Oh, Ben and I have never worked together! First time! Blaine and I have been a part of a number of things together, and I am excited to announce a duo art show in 2016 (that I will announce later). Casey has graciously involved me in a number of her awesome projects! and Scott and I worked together on Sprout Fund's Tenacity. Working with Scott is actually very exciting as he can maintain an incredibly high level of creativity and professionalism. I'm a bit envious of that professionalism. 

Anyway, this is all to say that you should check this out! Besides there being a number of things in this piece that don't exist in Pittsburgh dance, the piece is really quite wonderful - lots of surprises, subtlety, and some fun. 

This has actually been one of the most challenging music projects that I have undertaken in a while, but I'm happy to say that the music is feeling really good and there is new ground being covered. The music has grown to include three main strains: accordion music, drum groupings, and ambient or drone-based pieces. Years ago, when my grandfather passed away (1994), I inherited his accordion. It has made appearances here and there - Vale and Year's lost album, Greg Cislon is Truant, my score for Mark C. Thompson's Kimono, and  2007's Graphic Scores CD in duet with violaist Ben Harris. In Waywardland, it exists as a standalone piece called "The Momentary," which is one of my favorite recent pieces. I'm very happy with how it plays against the movement. It also exists as a drone and looped element. One haunting inspiration is Antony's score for Robert Wilson's The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, especially this piece:

There is much to love here, but what I gravitate toward the loop - it does not call much attention to itself. As you may know, I generally hate looping or, at least, looping pedals.

I won't ruin too many of the surprises, but I'm happy that an old composition is seeing the light of day. In the last month of my high school career, Eric Graf, Greg Cislon, and I started recording a record that was as they say "eclectic." It was also partially a plunderphonic record before I knew what that meant. There were heavy doses of Ornette Coleman, Luigi Nono, Stockhausen, Luc Ferrari, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis, Mark Dresser, Varese. It was a time where I had a lot of free time, audio galaxy provided a wealth of free and relatively obscure music, and allmusicguide was my, ahem, guide to "related artists." At the time, I was heavy into Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," but thanks to audio galaxy's fragmented downloading method, I only had the slower duet sections. (There was another piece labelled as "O Sacrum Convivium" that I had forever held as one of the most beautiful pieces, but I haven't actually been able to find who composed it and if that is the true title.) Anyway, I composed my own version of a Messiaen piece for violin and piano.  My classmate Muriel is on violin and I am on piano. 

Another collaborator: David Cherry created the trailer (below). Back in 2004, David ran a collective publishing organization called Incredibly Thin. Through Incredibly Thin, I met a number of folks, including Blaine. Anyway, small town Pittsburgh. Check out the trailer and hope to see you a week from Thursday!

One more: I was able to work with Kelly Miskis on some of the vocal bits for the score.