Dance Theatre for the Twitter Generation: Choreographer David Roussève/REALITY Premieres Stardust

Friday, January 3, 2014

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

College Park, MD— Known for his ability to weave movement and storytelling into potent dance theatre performances, David Roussève/REALITY presents the world premiere of Stardust at the Kay Theatre at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, January 31 and February 1 at 8pm. The artists will participate in a Talk Back following the Friday, January 31 performance.

Choreographed, written and directed by Roussève, Stardust is a coming of age story about an African American gay, urban teenager and his struggle to achieve his dreams and face his dark realities. Never seen onstage, the protagonist is present only by the tweets and text messages he sends, which are projected onto multiple surfaces on stage. Stardust juxtaposes fluidity and freneticism, in both its movement and musical score. Lush, jazz-inflected dancing in enlivened by frenetic, angular movement that is performed by a mixed-age company of dancers. The soundscape pairs the intimate romanticism of Nat King Cole standards with rough-edged, hip-hop inflected original music as well as some popular hits. The piece touches on issues of homosexuality and acceptance, bullying, the power of art and technology’s influence in our society.

Stardust is the first REALITY work with no spoken text and the first in which Roussève will not perform lead. He says, "Removing myself has been exhilarating: I can focus on developing a more dynamic movement language--long a goal--unlimited by my own body. While it is paramount that my work retain its emotional resonance, my giving the protagonist 'voice' only through short written text allows for a more fluid choreographic structure uninterrupted by the character monologues I usually deliver. I am thrilled by this leap forward in my work."

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center co-commissioned Stardust. As part of his engagement at the Center, Roussève was in residency during the fall of 2013 and worked with local ministries on issues of homosexuality and acceptance in the African American community. Additionally, he held workshops with students from UMD’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

About David Roussève

David Roussève’s highly original form of expressionistic dance theatre masterfully blends elements of dance and performance art with African American traditional and pop cultures. As Artistic Director of the dance/theater company David Roussève/REALITY, he has created thirteen full-length works that have toured throughout the U.S., Europe and South America, including three critically and popularly successful commissions for BAM’s Next Wave Festival. These collaborations were with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ysaye Barnwell (Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams), jazz/hip hop Grammy-nominee Me’Shell NdegeOcello (The Whispers of Angels), and Tony award-winning lighting designer Beverly Emmons (Love Songs). For his choreography of Love Songs, Roussève was awarded a “Bessie” Award.

Roussève received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create 2009’s Saudade, a work exploring “bittersweet” as that single moment when the greatest of joy and pain are experienced together. The piece toured to major spaces throughout the U.S. (including REALITY’s debut at Jacob’s Pillow) and received the 2009 LA Horton Awards for Best Choreography and Best Company Performance. Roussève’s other awards include the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, two Irvine Fellowships, seven consecutive NEA Fellowships, “First Place: Choreography” at the IMZ Int’l Dance Film Festival and another Horton Award for his The Year Chat.

Roussève has also been commissioned and has created works for Cleveland’s Dancing Wheels; Ririe-Woodbury; Cleo Parker Robinson; Ballet Hispanico (in collaboration with salsa great Eddie Palmieri); Atlanta Ballet (with a live performance by the 100-member Morehouse College Glee Club); Houston Ballet (with a live playing of Copland’s Appalachian Spring); and Ilkhom Theater company. In 2012, Roussève premiered his third dance film, Two Seconds After Laughter, which he directed, wrote, co-produced and co-choreographed. Filmed in Java by Stardust collaborator Cari Ann Shim Sham (video artist), the work has been screened world-wide and has received numerous awards.

Roussève’s writing has also been published in collections by Bantam Books and Routledge Press, and he was twice a screenwriting Fellow in the prestigious Sundance Feature Film Development Lab. He is currently Professor of Choreography in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he served as Chair from 2003-2006. He has served on the faculties of Princeton University, Bates Dance Festival, Columbia College, Randolph-Macon and UC Berkeley Extension. From 2004-07, David was the first artist to sit on the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.


More information can be found on our website. Tickets for this performance are $35/$10 (Regular/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory shared by the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The Center made its debut in 2001 and has grown into a national model for campus performing arts centers, presenting performances and programs by visiting artists as well as by students and faculty of SOM and TDPS in an environment of creative learning, exploration and growth. The Center remains active in the larger university community through its innovative partnerships and extraordinary experiences.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Peak Performances at Montclair State University co-commissioned Stardust, which will receive its world premiere at the Center. This tour of David Roussève is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This project is also supported in part by an Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The presentation of Stardust was made possible by the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project. Major support of NDP is also provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.