Spirit of the New World
Conceived and directed by Michael Sakamoto
Choreographed and performed by D. Sabela Grimes, Krenly Guzman, Michael Sakamoto, and Waewdao Sirisook
Film short by Michael Sakamoto
Available for touring and presentation
UCLA Fowler Museum
UC Riverside Dance Department
UC Irvine Drama Department
Spirit of the New World explores ritual embodiment, cultural history, the birth of motion pictures, religious fervor, and museum practices in a unique, live-art setting in the courtyard of the Fowler Museum. Four performers enact secret spiritual practices sprung from mysterious events that may or may not have happened during the Columbian Exposition and World Parliament of Religions events in Chicago in 1893. Created in collaboration with the ensemble, “Spirit of the New World” questions the role of audiences and museums in determining our understanding of traditional and contemporary cultures and the purpose of art in society, as well as their relationship with performing artists.
D. Sabela Grimes is a multi-hyphenated artist who merges the elements of language, sound and movement. In addition to performing internationally as a vocalist, dancer, actor and poet, Sabela teaches Funk-a-mental and Metakinetix dance/movement workshops. His evening-length solo peformance, “Bulletproof Deli,” recently premiered at Highways Performance Space. Sabela is a former member of Rennie Harris PureMovement, and toured internationally in the company’s acclaimed production, “Rome & Jewels,” as Ben V.
Krenly Guzman has performed, taught, choreographed, and adjudicated for dance festivals in the United States, Mexico and South America. He has performed with Jan Erkert & Dancers, Mordine and Company Dance Theater and served as Associate Artistic Director of Lucky Plush Productions from 2003-2006. Krenly was on faculty at Columbia College Chicago from 1994-2006 and is currently an MFA student at UCLA where is working on his thesis concert which will premiere at Glorya Kaufman Hall in Fall of 2008.
Waewdao Sirisook is a choreographer, dancer, and costume designer from Northern Thailand’s Lanna region. As a professional traditional and contemporary dancer, Ms. Sirisook has participated in international cultural exchange programs with the Tourist Authority of Thailand since her teenage years, performing in cultural missions throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. In 2002, she studied Balinese dance in Bali, Indonesia. Ms. Sirisook’s choreography focuses on expressing the diversity of the authentic traditional Lanna arts and culture. Her intention is to maintain the root of the original arts and culture of her own region and bring it to diverse audiences. Ms. Sirisook received a fellowship to participate in the Asian Pacific Performing Exchange 2006 and has been funded for two years by a major fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to complete her Dance MFA degree at UCLA. Ms. Sirisook also participates in the non-profit organization, LA Thai Kids, providing traditional Thai dance lessons to the Los Angeles Thai community.
(Film clip from Spirit of the New World)