American Realness

Keith Hennessy


World Premiere

THURS JAN 8, 7:00 PM
FRI JAN 9, 8:30 PM
SAT JAN 10, 7:00 PM
SUN JAN 11, 2:30 PM

Run time: 65 minutes

466 Grand Street / tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

Motivated by grand spectacle and ambitious prayer Bear/Skin appropriates Nijinsky’s choreography for Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) to consider Modernism’s dependence on appropriations of the indigenous, folk, exotic, and oriental to ask questions about ritual and art today.

“There will be a bear dance that has nothing to do with gay bears and everything to do with Rite of Spring, teddy bears, the reconstruction of native/folk bear dances, action movies and virgin sacrifice, springtime in the northern hemisphere, the land I grew up on and where my parents are buried, and the land I now live on where my uncle and many others are buried. But it’s also about dancing and ritual and appropriation; the struggle between being both settler and indigenous, nomad-refugee and precarious freelancer. Don’t expect a lecture or much coherence. Come to heal and be healed or not.” – Keith Hennessy

Bear/Skin is produced by Circo Zero with support from the Zellerbach Family Foundaton and San Francisco Grants for the Arts. Project Management by Alec White. Fiscal Sponsorship by CounterPULSE.

Image by Robbie Sweeny.

Choreography, design, performance by Keith Hennessy
Produced by: Circo Zero
Production Management by: Alec White
Fiscal Sponsor: CounterPULSE
$4000 grant from Zellerbach Family Foundation, and a little bit of ongoing support from SF Grants for the Arts.
NYC performances co-produced by Ben Pryor/tbspMGMT, and American Realness Festival.

Thanks to the dancestors, CounterPULSE, Salta & PPP where it all began, American Realness, Gabriel for non-stop stomping, Jesse and Mica for motivating the shaman, Mark McBeth for following me into the street, my studio witnesses Tessa Wills, Margit Galanter, Larry Arrington, Sara Shelton Mann, & to Ian, Ruairí, Alec, Chani, Andres, Julie, my Davis queer critical race posse, SF Grants for the Arts, and you.

Keith Hennessy has been crafting imaginative and critical performance works since the early 80s. These performances have been awarded a USA (Kjenner) Fellowship (2012), a NY Bessie (2009), several Isadora Duncan Awards, a Goldie (2007), and the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship in Dance (2005). Hennessy was born in Sudbury Canada, a mining town in Northern Ontario. He lives in San Francisco, and works regularly in Europe. He is a Bessie and Izzy award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer.

Hennessy directs Circo Zero, a laboratory for live performance that plays with genre and expectation. Rooted in dance, Hennessy’s work embodies a unique hybrid of performance art, music, visual and conceptual art, circus, and ritual. Keith has an MFA in Choreography and is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at UC Davis. He is a highly sought teacher of contemporary dance, performance, and improvisation who teaches extensively in Europe and most recently (20011, 2013) in Senegal. Despite narrowly surviving the last two waves of violent eviction and gentrification, and the forced relocation of way too many of his close colleagues, Hennessy still lives in San Francisco.

“Hennessy is that rare artist who succeeds in translating fierce social concerns into artistically satisfying creations that enlighten and entertain. Against all odds he believes in art’s power to reassume its ritualistic and healing function.”
By Rita Felciano, SF Bay Guardian

“Hennessy is among those artists whose contributions have helped form the size, shape, and feel of art and life in the Bay Area. He’s brutally honest, passionate, sometimes overbearing and worth seeing for all those reasons.”
By J. H. Tompkins, SF Bay Guardian

“Keith Hennessy’s stage presence burns; he ignites any subject he tackles. Sacred, violent, and compassionate impulses shape our everyday lives; it is through a genius like Hennessy, though, that we can confront the state of the human condition.”
By Katia Noyes, SF Weekly