Pop up dance theater

Pop up dance theater
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Opal Street Dance Improvisation Theater 
is performing at the 
July 14 & 15, 2014
I met with Opal Street’s co-directors Bianca Brzezinski and Adele Thurston in San Francisco’s BernalHeights neighborhood on June 16, 2014. Thurston and Brzezinksi first collaborated as students at San Francisco City College. A Portrait of Expression is an ever-evolving piece first performed by Thurston in New York City. This is the company’s first time working with a dramaturg
OonaWhat does improvisation afford that you can't achieve with a choreographed and/or scripted piece?
Bianca & Adele: During improvisation, we are allowed to go where we choose, without a plan, [so] the choices we make really count. We gain a sense of ourselves and our abilities in the present moment and this is what we are interested in sharing. To reach the place of fullness in doing and being.
OonaHow does one rehearse for an improvised piece like A Portrait of Expression?
Bianca & Adele: Improvisation is about opening up and playing with the known and unknown factors. Having a score as a structure helps create order and a sense of direction.You create a structure to invite these factors, exactly how you create your life experiences. Intention and deliberate awareness open us up to perceive more, to perceive change, respond to the moment, and participate in creation-- to explore the ranges of idea, emotion, style.
Oona: What is the dynamic of your collaboration?
Bianca & Adele: There’s a lot of space. When we had [the] initial roles of dancer and choreographer, neither one of us really wanted to take those on. We have endeavored to create a conversation that’s so honest and so necessary, but we’re also really good friends. A lot of times it’s about inspiring the other; if one of us lacking in feeling, it’s usually because we’re doubting something or not in the moment, so it’s about pulling that person back and reminding them there’s a ton to work with.
Oona Hatton is a freelance dramaturg who loves collaborating with other theatre artists to develop new work. In her spare time, Oona teaches performance studies and devised theatre at San Jose State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University. (Photo: Oona Hatton)

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