EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Dada Gert,” a multimedia dance theater work inspired by the life and performance career of a Weimer-era Expressionist cabaret artist and dancer will transport audiences to early 1920s Germany when it is performed at Northwestern University.
Valeska Gert, who was born in Berlin in 1892 and died in 1978, has been called “Germany’s forgotten performer.” A “renegade” artist in her heyday she was known for her frenzied body movements, grotesque facial movements, ferocious voice and dramatic self-designed costumes. Some claim that she helped inspire the punk movement of the 1980s. She also appeared in silent films.
Presented by Striding Lion Performance Group, “Dada Gert” will be performed at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center’s Ballroom Theater, 10 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus.
The four intermission-free hourlong performances will be hosted by the School of Communication’s dance program. Conceived and choreographed by Northwestern dance faculty member Annie Arnoult Beserra, the production examines Gert’s life and work. It will feature striking black-and-white stage sets and costumes and archival film.
“’Dada Gert’ surrounds the audience with rhythm, athleticism and the intently focused theatricality of Striding Lion’s performers as they embody the raucous performance world of Valeska Gert,” said Beserra. To view excerpts from the production, visit Striding Lion.
Featured dancers will include Beserra, Britt Banaszynski, Dana Dardai, Michaela Federspiel, Calyn Guberman, Jeff Hancock and Ericka Vaughn Lashley.
The Dada-inspired set installation by Jeff Hancock will feature projections designed by Christopher Ash and sound by Nick Keenan.
“Dada Gert” is the third in Striding Lion’s series of dance installations exploring geographically- and historically-inspired subjects. It is a part of Beserra’s transformation of significant history-related source material into performance pieces that present the “truth” from diverse perspectives.
Tickets are $20 for the general public; and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at Dada Gert.
For more information, contact Melanie Esplin, Striding Lion’s executive director, at (773) 769-7540 or Melanie@stridinglion.org.