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Until his death from AIDS in 1988, multidisciplinary choreographer John Bernd stood at the forefront of New York’s experimental dance scene. Discovering a piece of paraphernalia from that time, Bernd’s onetime friend and collaborator Ishmael Houston-Jones asked: What would contemporary dance be like if the gay/dance communities hadn’t lost a whole generation of creators to the epidemic? Together with choreographer Miguel Gutierrez, Houston-Jones mashed up Bernd’s work into a wholly new dance piece which proposes enticing answers to this question.
Performances of Variations of Themes on Lost and Found are accompanied by an exhibition presented in collaboration with David Acosta, a Philadelphia-based poet, cultural scholar, and co-founder of Casa de Duende. The presentation displayed in the lobby of Christ Church Neighborhood House charts the AIDS crisis in Philadelphia, providing city-specific context in relationship with John Bernd’s own personal history. The exhibit will be open one hour before performances begin through one hour after performances end. There will also be a talkback with Miguel Gutierrez, Ishmael Houston Jones, David Acosta, and John Anderies following the performance of Sunday, September 16 at 2 PM.
The performance on September 15 at 8 PM will feature ASL interpretation by Hands Up Productions.