Final dates to be confirmed pending health guidelines and San Francisco and State of California shelter-in-place rules.Love, a state of grace will be a three day performance installation, presented in one hour cycles repeated over 4 hours, during which the audience can move freely within the Cathedral. With over 90-foot ceilings, stained glass, and multiple chambers, Grace Cathedral will provide a multifaceted platform of many vantage points for the audience.
The performance will feature six aerial dancers and a small group of interfaith scholars and religious leaders performing a ritual at eleven stations throughout the Cathedral. The rhythms and height of Grace’s Gothic design present unique challenges for Haigood’s choreography. For example, Haigood will be choreographing the dancers’ movements using original props created by collaborating designers Wayne Campbell and Sean Riley, such as an anchored 90-foot ladder and 70-foot swinging pendulum.
The original concept for Love, a state of grace was a response to the rise in violent attacks and vandalism directed at sacred places in the United States. The objective was to bring together diverse communities to share and celebrate our common humanity and the tenets of love in religious practice. Since our initial development of the work, our country has been experiencing the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of social uprisings against racial injustice. In light of these events, we have reframed Love, a state of grace to include reflection and dialogue around these issues. It is our hope that our shared experience will reaffirm the role of kindness, compassion, love, and righteous social action in the national healing process.
Our community partner, Grace Cathedral, has a well established tradition as a cross cultural sanctuary. Its leadership and innovative programming has inspired much of the conceptual aspects of this work. Performances will be followed by panel discussions with activists and notable scholars, allowing the audience to explore their own perceptions of “otherness” and examining how we might move towards greater acceptance and understanding. We are pleased and honored to be collaborating with Grace’s staff to further our goals of safe public dialogue within the context of an arts experience.
Zaccho is also collaborating with theologian Dr. Yohana Junker to create an interfaith ceremony as part of the performance. This ritual entitled “Eleven Crossings/Onze Encruzilhadas” will draw from the notions of pilgrimage, liminality, and communitas at eleven stations around the Cathedral. The design of each crossing/encruzilhada will engage the concepts of the divine feminine, the four sacred directions, and the elements of fire, air, water and earth, and incorporate cosmologics from different religious traditions.
Composer Walter Kitundu’s sound design will incorporate recorded material, the activation of live acoustic instruments within the space, the Cathedral’s massive pipe organ, and voices of a small choir, all in conversation with the Cathedral’s cavernous interior space and prolonged reverberation. These elements emerge and recede over the course of an hour, synced to the choreography, in contrapuntal variations of the larger theme.
Collaborators:Director & Choreographer: Joanna Haigood
Composer: Walter Kitundu
Scenic Design: Wayne Campbell, Sean Riley
Ritual and Advisor: Yohana Junker, PhD
Production Manager: Matt Leonard
Research Assistant: Ciarra D'Onofrio
Performing Artists: Veronica Blair, Suzanne Gallo, Danielle Sexton, Ciarra D’Onofrio, Clarissa Dyas, Azraa Muhammed, Helen Wicks