JESS CURTIS (Choreographer and Performer) is an award-winning choreographer and performance artist committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S., Europe and the former Soviet Union with the seminal group Contraband under the direction of Sara Shelton Mann in the 80s and 90s. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. He co-founded the radical performance collective CORE in SF in 1994 and then in 1998 ‘ran away’ to France to join the Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard under the direction of Gulko. In 2000, after 15 years of making dance in the Bay Area as an independent choreographer, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography, Curtis’s other honors include six Isadora Duncan Dance awards, a Homer Avila award for leadership in the field of physically diverse performance, a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, two SF Weekly Black Box Awards and a Stolichnaya award for performance art.
Curtis is active as a writer, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance, and teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance for individuals of all abilities throughout the US and Europe. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. www.jesscurtisgravity.org
ALVA NOË (Philosophical Consultant) is a writer and a philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He works on the nature of mind and human experience. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004); Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009); and Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012). The central idea of these books is that consciousness is not something that happens inside us, or to us. It is something we do. Alva‘s new book on art and human nature, Strange Tools, was released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on September 22, 2015. Alva received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1995 and is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. He previously was a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has been philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company and has also collaborated with dance artists Deborah Hay, Nicole Peisl, Jess Curtis, Claire Cunningham, Katye Coe, and Charlie Morrissey. Alva is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a former fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a weekly contributor to National Public Radio‘s science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.
CHRIS COPLAND (Lighting Designer) graduated from Goldsmiths College with a MA Theatre Arts in 2001. He has worked extensively in theatre and dance since 1993 as performer, director, Production Manager and Lighting Designer. He has worked as Production Manager for such companies as Bedlam Dance, Nigel Charnock, Ursula Martinez, Laila Diallo, Mayuri Boonham, Wendy Houstoun, and Flexer & Sandiland amongst many others. Lighting Design credits include “Stupid Men”, “One Dixon Road” and “Ten Men” for Nigel Charnock: “Ostrich” for H2 Dance: “Heart of Darkness’ and “City of Tribes” for Tavaziva Dance: “Still” for Candoco, “My Stories Your emails’ and Free Admission for Ursula Martinez: “All Ears’ for Kate McIntosh: “Pact with Pointlessness” for Wendy Houstoun.
Chris also regularly lectures in acting and devising for the theatre.
LUKE PELL (Dramaturg) is an artist living in Scotland. He is fascinated by detail, nuances of time, texture, memory and landscape. As a maker and curator he collaborates with other artists and organisations imagining alternative contexts for performance, participation and discourse that might reveal wisdoms for living. His artistic projects take form as intimate encounters; poetic objects, installations and designed environments – choreographies – for physical and virtual spaces. He is Associate Artist with Candoco Dance Company, Janice Parker Projects and Fevered Sleep. Luke’s work has been presented throughout the UK and internationally including Not Simply Dancing, Greenwich Dance; Unlimited Festival, Southbank Centre, London; In Between Time, Bristol; E- Motional, Romania, Anti-Festival, Finland and Room of Requirement, Berlin. His recent collaborative work Take Me To Bed with Jo Verrent won the prize for ‘Best Overall Work’ at the inaugural Light Moves Festival of Screen Dance, Ireland, 2014 and will presented at Dance Live, Aberdeen; Dance International Glasgow, Tramway and Dansens Hus, Stockholm.
MATTHIAS HERRMANN (Composer) studied cello with Rudolf Mandalka at the Robert Schumann Hochschule, Düsseldorf, and is a graduate sound engineer. He has created numerous scores for the productions of international dance theater companies including Do Theater (St. Petersburg), Fabrik Company (Potsdam), Howard Katz (Berlin/New York), Claire Cunningham (Glasgow), Jess Curtis/Gravity (San Francisco/Berlin). He also created soundscapes for video-installations, music for short film and documentaries. He was working as a composer and musical director for Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Deutsches Theater Berlin, National Theatre of Scotland and others. In 2008 he was priced with the Isadora Duncan Award for the best soundtrack for ‚Under the Radar‘ for Jess Curtis/Gravity. In June 2014 his opera ‚Didi und Stulle‘ premiered at Neukoellner Oper Berlin.
YOANN TRELLU (Video Desginer) is a French video artist based in Berlin since 2003. He started working with live projections in Nantes, France, in 1999, first using photography and slide projections, but quickly moved to computer, video projection and real time media software such as Max/Msp/Jitter. He creates video content and develop custom video applications for performance and theater. Since 10 years he worked on more than 40 productions in Germany, France and USA: Post-Theater (Berlin, New York, Tokyo), Konzert theater Bern (Switzerland), Landestheater Coburg (Germany), Jess Curtis-Gravity (Berlin, San-Francisco), Tatraum Projekte Schmidt (Germany), Ten Pen Chii (Berlin), Shang Chi Sun (Berlin, Taiwan), Junge Staatsoper (Berlin), Theater Strahl (Berlin).
MICHIEL KEUPER (Costume Designer)graduated in fashion design from ArtEz the Institute of the Arts in Arnhem (NL). With his fashion label Keupr/van Bentm he presented his collections during Paris Fashion Week for several years and his work was covered internationally in numerous publications. His autonomous fashion work has been included in museum collections and has been exhibited in the USA, UK, Japan, Italy and France. Alongside working as a freelance designer, he has been teaching fashion design at BA and MA courses in the Netherlands and Germany. Lately he has extended his work to fine arts, performance and art direction. Recently he has worked with Hana Lee Erdman, Jeremy Wade, Miguel Gutierrez, Antonija Livingstone,
Peter Pleyer, Sheena McGrandles, Martin Nachbar, Lea Moro, Jess Curtis and Claire Cunningham.