This week I sat down with Sam Stone, an Oakland based dancer/choreographer/maker of strange objects.
We chatted about her upcoming performance series this May. If you keep your eyes open you may run into the show at a farmers market, on your hike in the woods, or just about any space big enough to fit a couple of moving bodies.
You are performing a show called Hysterical Young Women during the month of May– Can you speak to your inspiration for the project?
Hysterical Young Women is a warp of many inspirations. Before working with the cast (the ultimate inspiration) I have been obsessed with Surrealism. Surrealism looks to undo our notion of what is the norm and what is absurd. It illuminates what has been dismissed. Those ideas alone became a filter of which I see the world through. My current focus – women.
Why the title Hysterical Young Women?
Hysterical Young Women is a title coming directly out of an Andre Breton (creator of Surrealism) reading. Really just a passing idea in the article, but suddenly it became my main obsession. My research turned to female hysteria in the early 20th century, a time when thinking, feeling, crying women were diagnosed as unwell. Over a century later my own sensitivities, strong attitude and tendency to act on dreams can be considered the doings of a silly little girl… I must suffer from female hysteria.
In the process of creating this work– how did your own relationship to feminisms/the feminine/the female body play into the choices you made?
We began this work by sharing our dreams, illusions, desires and fears. I wanted to reveal what has been dismissed or tamed in our little patriarch of a country. The stories of these four incredible women were overflowing and full of imagery and action. I realized immediately that the dance is about these women, though not necessarily what you see or assume upon meeting them, but what lies beneath. And it’s sometimes bizarre, sometimes familiar, and even a little scary at times, but it’s a version of feminism that comes not to attack you, but rather to invite you to imagine your own story.
I understand that the is roaming show all over Oakland throughout May, what motivated this type of performance?
It’s our dance theatre tour!!! This piece has been built from the very start to be adaptable for all audiences, spaces, moods and seasons. It feels important to bring the dance to the people instead of hustling to move them into stuffy theatres. This is about opening up to the community and looking for responses out of everyone, not just our normal art go-ers. Plus, changing the context of the piece keeps it alert, morphing and satisfyingly unpredictable.
Where are some of the locations we should look out for?
Please come and join us!
The grand event is at 8 pm, May 9th & 10th at the WEB 355 12th st. Oakland.
If you’d rather come on our Sunday bicycle tour, meet us in the Redwoods, pass us downtown on your lunch break or show up for an evening drink in the Mission, there are ten opportunities! Follow us at: