Choreographed and directed by
Co-created and performed by
Mia J. Chong
Original music by
“Romance” by Dmitri Shostakovich, arranged by Béla Detrekoy, performed by Sophia Cotraccia
Lighting and scenic design by
Production management by
Four by Four is made possible by contributions from the California Arts Council, ODC Theater’s Rental Discount Initiative, Steppin’ Out Dance Studio, RoundAntennae, and a multitude of generous individual donors.
What’s the show about?
I don’t know. But I can tell you there’s a reason why it’s a dance performance and not a monologue. It’s hard for me to talk about my choreographic work; dance doesn’t function in the same way that language does. But I know that when I go to performances, I always crave the language, too. So here’s what I can tell you:
Our performance is the result of a process that was centered around a few goals:
There are several ironies at play here. Our not knowing led us to know new things. We took all the time we wanted until we got to theater week and only had three days to get the show up. In order to create any semblance of refusing capitalism, we spent lots of time considering various economic factors, like contracts, fundraising, and artist pay. And, evidently, our laid back, anti-capitalist studio time delivered a literal product that I’m inviting people to pay to attend.
In this product, you’ll witness some fairly abstract stuff—stuff that both means a lot and means nothing at all. Everything has really specific meaning, and everything has whatever meaning you decide it has. There’s plenty to get, nothing to get, you get what you get.
Four by Four is for, about, and by the four performers on the stage. And I guess it’s also a little bit for, about, and by me.
Emily Hansel, Choreographer and Director, (she/they) is a San Francisco-based dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, arts administrator, and artist advocate. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Emily received her BFA in Dance from the University of South Florida. Emily currently dances for Post:ballet, Robert Moses’ KIN, Christy Funsch, and Mark Foehringer Dance Project. Emily has also performed Cunningham repertory in Signals from the West: Bay Area Artists In Conversation with Merce Cunningham at 100and danced with Garrett + Moulton Productions, FACT/SF, ZiRu Dance, The Anata Project, Talli Jackson, Marika Brussel, Alma Esperanza Cunningham, and SOULSKIN Dance, among others
Emily’s choreographic work centers the dancer’s experience. Most recently, Emily was commissioned to create a new work for the Berkeley Ballet Theater Studio Company, which premiered in March 2022 at BAMPFA. Four by Fouris Emily’s first self-produced, evening-length choreographic work. Emily is a RoundAntennae choreographer, under the mentorship of KT Nelson.
Emily advocates for equitable and ethical working conditions for dancers, and she has written numerous articles on this topic for the “Life as a Modern Dancer” blog. Emily is a proud member of the Leadership Committee at Dance Artists’ National Collective.
When she isn’t performing or choreographing, Emily teaches ballet and contemporary to students ages 3-18 and works in administrative roles for a number of artists/companies in addition to producing her own work.
Alex Carrington, Dancer and Co-creator, (she/they) received the majority of her training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the LINES Ballet Training Program. She has danced for Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, tinypistol, detour dance, Kristin Damrow & Company, little seismic dance company, and in addition has performed works by Crystal Pite, Yin Yue, Katie Wong, Andrea Peña, and Nick Korkos.
Mia J. Chong, Dancer and Co-creator, (she/they) is from San Francisco, California. She received her training from the Kirov Academy of Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, the Ailey School, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Contemporary Program, and ODC School. Mia has danced with Post:ballet, Robert Moses’ Kin, Dance Theatre of San Francisco, and San Francisco Symphony. She has received a Princess Grace Award, Chris Hellman Dance Honor, Aninstantia Foundation Grant, LINES Ballet Homer Avila Award, Jacob’s Pillow Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship, and Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and nominations. Mia currently studies Organizational Behavior and Change at New York University and dances with ODC/Dance, where she joined as an apprentice in 2016 and became a company dancer in 2018. She currently choreographs dance works throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Please visit miajchong.com to learn more.
Shareen DeRyan, Dancer and Co-creator, (she/her) received her initial training at Ballet Arts Academy in Spokane, Washington and trained at Lines Ballet in San Francisco. In Portland Oregon she danced for a contemporary ballet company, Bouand Dance. In the Bay Area she has danced for Kinetech Arts for three years and performed in works by Sidra Bell, Jon Kinzel, Christian Burns, Robert Moses, Amy Foley, Karla Quintero, Mark Foehringer, Amelia Eisen and Christy Funsch. She has danced for companies in the Bay Area including: Fullstop Dance, Mud Water Theatre, ZiruDance, and Bellwether Dance Project. Currently Shareen is in her fifth year of dancing for Kristin Damrow & Company and Jennifer Perfilio Movement Works.
Chelsea Reichert, Dancer and Co-creator, (she/her) is a freelance dance artist originally from Kansas, and currently based in the Bay Area. She received a BFA in dance from Marymount Manhattan College, and also studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She’s grateful for the friends and teachers inside and outside of these structures that have influenced her work deeply. Since living in the Bay Area, she’s had the pleasure of creating and performing with Maurya Kerr/tinypistol, Sharp&Fine, kickbal, Courtney Mazeika, Kinetech Arts, Nicole von Arx, Larry Arrington, Risa Jaroslow, and Emily Hansel. She’s stoked to be working with Emily, Shareen, Mia, and Alex on this project.
Sophia Cotraccia, Composer and Musician, (she/they) is a senior at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where they study musical and religious traditions from South Asia. Sophia plays the violin, the drumset, and the steelpan, and enjoys writing and recording music in her free time. They hail originally from Ithaca, NY and look forward to returning to the East Coast upon graduating.
Ben Juodvalkis, Composer and Musician, (he/him) composes original music for dance, film, theater, corporate events, and museum installations. He has created scores for over 50 organizations and has had his music performed on four continents. Ben works from his studio in San Francisco as well as on location with his mobile custom built electronic instruments.
Thomas Bowersox, Lighting and Scenic Designer and Production Manager, (he/him) is a lighting designer, production manager, and technical director, based in San Francisco. He graduated from the University of Southern Florida with a BA in Lighting Design. Select companies Thomas has worked with include ODC/Dance, 32 Sounds, The Independent, ACT, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Club Fugazi, Capital Repertory Theater, and New York Live Arts.
Dancer photos by Steve Disenhof. Emily’s photo by Robbie Sweeny.
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You’re invited to check out the project budget to learn more about the expenses involved in producing Four by Four. If you’re interested in making a donation to support the work, you can do so via Venmo (@EmilyHansel) or Paypal (paypal.me/emhansel).
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