House of Names Program

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Photo by Marina Eybelman

Cassandra has the gift of prophecy, but when she rebuffs Apollo, he curses her: she will always tell the truth but no one will ever believe her.  Here, we look at this Greek myth today: who is believed, who is heard, who has the power?  She takes us through the rest of the ballet, looking at the stories of other women—

Lot’s Wife looks back.  In the Old Testament, God tells Lot He is going to destroy the city where he lives; Lot can take his wife and two of his daughters and escape, but they cannot look back. Lot’s wife (we name her Mira) does look back and is turned into a pillar of salt.  For us, this story is contemporary too; if you are forced to immigrate, what do you take, what do you leave? And if you knew everyone you cared for would be destroyed, would you turn your back or hold out a hand?

La Llorona is betrayed by her lover, the father of her children.  In revenge she drowns their children, and spends the rest of eternity in grief, searching for them. This section looks at the story as a postpartum psychosis narrative.  La Llorona is an overwhelmed young mother; she is haunted by the voices in her head: Anxiety, Paranoia and Depression.  They begin to manipulate her until they become integral to her.

Miriam leads her people into hope through song and dance.  Also from the Old Testament, Miriam is Moses’ sister.  As children, she saves his life by making sure he is rescued by the Pharos’ daughter.  As an adult, she is an unsung hero: leading her people in song and dance, keeping their spirits lifted during harrowing times.  It is Miriam who leads the women of House of Names into hope for change.

At the end, Cassandra is finally believed; she is seen and heard, and at last, the other women join their voices with hers.  They are all part of the same tribe:  the tribe of humanity, living together in the House of Names.



 

Artistic Collaborators

 

Dance Artists

 

Cassandra:

Sasha Gologorskaya

Ismael Acosta

Young Cassandra: Masha Gologorskaya

Narration by Lena Mullins from Cassandra by Kerry Greenwood

Lot’s wife:

Jenna Marie

Calvin Thomas

Narration by Sara Felder of Lot’s Wife by Kristine Batey

La Llorona (and the Voices in her head):

Alysia Chang with

Katerina Beckman

Vinnie Jones

Tess Lane

Fabiana Santiago (understudy)

Narration by Chelsea Hollow of a poem by Reetika Vazirani

 

Miriam:

Erica Felsch

Camille Barlow (understudy)

Narration by Tsurah August of a Chabad midrash

Ending: 

All the women


 

Artistic Team

 

Choreographer: Marika Brussel

Music: Carla Lucero

Cinematographer/editor: Peter T. Ruocco

Lighting Designer: Allen Willner

Music co-Producer/Mixer: Spencer Keene

Ballet Master: Kai Davis

Costumes: S-Curve Apparel & Design

with additional costumes by Josh Ugarte

 

Musicians: 

Chelsea Hollow: Soprano

String players:

Dawn Harms

Kathy Marshall

Elizabeth Prior

Vanessa Ruotolo

Music Recorded at Different Fur Studios

Engineer: Lien Do

 

Lot’s Wife Music

“Overture,” “Rough Trick,” and “The Capture,” 

From the opera WUORNOS by Carla Lucero

Featuring pianist Ninowska Fernandez-Brito

 

ASL Interpreter: Eboni Gaytan

Painting on Miriam's phone: "Restoration," by Lauren Sarat


 

Thank you for watching this performance.  We began rehearsals for House of Names in late 2019, expecting to perform it live, at ODC Theater, in April 2020.  Over the 15 months of the pandemic, this ballet took on new artists, and shifted its shape.  I am so grateful to everyone who was involved in this process (see acknowledgements below).  And am so indebted to you, our audience, for keeping hope alive and for investing yourself in the arts. 

-Marika Brussel




 

Acknowledgements

 

There are so many people I want to thank for making this production possible. Each person made this ballet deeper and richer. 

 

First of all, Carla Lucero, my collaborator and composer of the music.  We came up with the ideas together and created this together.  The dance artists who first worked on this with me at Keshet Makers Space in Albuquerque: Chris Bornet, Kiera Johnson, Kira Petersen, Kelly Ruggiero and Jaclyn Younger.  The dance artists who originally worked on La Llorona in San Francisco, but were unable to perform: Alexis Borth and Coral Martin, Charlotte DeRoulhac, Maya Sprague and Kiko Tilles .   The studios that gave me residencies so we had space to work:, I am forever grateful: Keshet Arts, Levydance and Moving Arts, and everyone at ODC Commons, especially Monica Ascencio, Joseph Copley and Nick Wagner.  Amy Foley, who worked with me and her own dancers in 2019 in preparation of this show. Special thanks to Kathryn Roszak and Women Ballet Choreographers and Composers for introducing me and Carla. And not least, my husband, Kevin Keeker, who is always in my corner. 

 

This production wouldn’t be possible without the  generous financial support of Nancy Curtiss, Cindy Grand, Nancy Marks,  Larry Price, and so many of my students and friends. 

Filmed at ODC Theater