Join us for a short live performance excerpt from choreographer Rachel Bernsen and writer Rachel Kauder Nalebuff’s I Know You So Well, A Sound and Movement Choir For People Who Work in Healthcare, followed by the debut screening of an experimental documentary by Justice Nnanna about the performers and the surprising intersections of healthcare and the sacred. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmaker and cast, and the Rachels’ future plans for the project.
Loosely adapted from Plato’s symposium, I Know You So Well examines the fracture of an industry or place. Its first iteration, commissioned by Artspace New Haven and performed at 2018 City Wide Open Studios: Wellbeing, focused on healthcare. It brought together eleven healthcare workers who had never connected in their professional lives to think holistically as a community about what it means to heal.
This interdisciplinary work layers song, text, choreography and improvisation to convey the emotions and life-experiences of an unlikely group of performers. In bringing together intergenerational, diverse groups of strangers, this choir allows improvisational elements and variance of meaning to shape our understanding of the work of caregivers, what it means to give care, and to discover what we can learn from each other’s isolated practices.
The short film, directed by Justice Nnanna is a lush cinematic rendering of I Know You So Well. A documentary that hovers between visual expression and journalism, it weaves together interviews he conducted with each participant, a unique visual perspective on the work itself, and imagery from Nnanna’s personal archive. An associative expression of live performance through film, it adds another layer in the form of the performers reflections on the work they do and its meaning in their lives.
I Know You So Well: a Sound and Movement Choir for People Who Work in Healthcare was created by choreographer Rachel Bernsen and writer Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, with musical direction by Taylor Ho Bynum and Kyoko Kitamura.
Rachel Bernsen is a choreographer, performer, dance educator and certified Alexander Technique teacher. She is one part of Masters of Ceremony investigating improvisational practices and interdisciplinary possibilities with dancer and choreographer Melanie Maar and composer/performers Taylor Ho Bynum and Abraham Gomez-Delgado. She created multiple works with visual artist Megan Craig including Traveling In Place (2017) for The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT and Colorada (2015) for Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, Neuenhaus, Germany. Rachel has worked with legendary composer Anthony Braxton as choreographer for the Sonic Genome project (2015) at the Torino Jazz Festival, Torino, Italy, as choreographer for and performer in his opera Trillium J (2014) at Roulette, NYC, and as a performer in his interdisciplinary Pine Top Aerial Music project. Her own projects have been presented throughout New York City, New Haven, CT and internationally. She’s been a guest teaching artist at schools and universities throughout the US and abroad, is on faculty at Movement Research and maintains a private practice in the Alexander Technique. She holds an MFA in Dance from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and a BA in English Literature from Macalester College. She lives in New Haven, CT. https://rachelbernsen.com/home.html
Rachel Kauder Nalebuff is a writer exploring new kinds of community. She is the editor of My Little Red Book (Twelve Books, 2009) and co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project (Feminist Press, 2015). She directs 3 Hole Press, a small press for performance works in printed formats. Her work and collaborations have recently been presented by the STUK House for Dance, Image & Sound, Artspace, Reimagine End of Life, The Public Theater, La Ferme du Buisson, NYU Performance as Therapy, PRELUDE, the BBC, the Steirischer Herbst Festival, the Skirball Cultural Center, REDCAT, the Hammer Museum and Machine Project. Rachel is a lecturer in the English Department at Brooklyn College. http://www.itsrachelkaudernalebuff.com/
Justice Nnanna is a Director based in Brooklyn & Lagos. He graduated from NYU Tisch & studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His work is predominately non-fiction inspired and explores ways of seeing social-political experiences. He’s worked across five continents and is eager to collaborate with partners committed to supporting important, unique, narratives. His projects “Maria el Diablo” & “Megolonyo: With a Mother You Are Rich” are in current award contention at The Nitehawk Film Festival, Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) and the Brooklyn Film Festival. https://www.justicennanna.com/
Caregivers + Performers
Ziael Aponte: Therapeutic dance instructor
Janice Baker: Healer through the expressive arts
Nathalie Bonafe: Death doula
Marian Evans: Daughter, wife, professor
Bill Fischer: End of life doctor
Ann T. Greene: Cancer buddy
Lynn Lantieri: Caregiver for family
Alejandro Mestre: Nurse
Jenessa Payano Stark: Midwife
Laurie Sweet: Birth Doula
Jackie Trimble Shapiro: Physical therapist