Love, a state of grace was a four day performance installation between February 11 and February 18, 2022, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. Each performance was presented in 30 minute cycles repeated over 3 hours, during which the audience moved freely within the Cathedral. With over 90-foot ceilings, stained glass, and multiple chambers, Grace Cathedral provided a multifaceted platform for the audience’s experience.
Choreographed and directed by Joanna Haigood, the performance featured six of the Bay Area’s most talented aerial dancers interacting with original props created by collaborating designers Wayne Campbell and Sean Riley. These props include an anchored 100 foot ladder and 70-foot swinging pendulum, each a unique response to the rhythms and height of Grace Cathedral’s Gothic design. Composer Walter Kitundu’s sound score incorporated recorded material accompanied by the Cathedral’s massive pipe organ, all in conversation with the Cathedral’s cavernous interior space and prolonged reverberation. Artist theologians Yohana Junker and Cláudio Carvalhaes designed a series of meditations for the audience to engage throughout the Cathedral.
The original concept for Love, a state of grace was in 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 increasingly experienced the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge 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 the performance will create a shared experience that will reaffirm the role of kindness, compassion, love, and righteous social action in the national healing process.
Following the February 12th and February 17th performances, Zaccho hosted two community panel discussions with activists, artists, and theologians to discuss the concept of “otherness” and strategies that lead to greater acceptance and understanding.
For blind and visually impaired audience members, Zaccho Dance Theatre partnered with Gravity Access Services to offer live audio description and a Haptic Access Tour for the Friday, February 18th performance at no extra cost. Audio description is a live audio track spoken by a professional audio describer to audience members with visual impairments through a wireless headset system. It provides clear and engaging descriptions of the meaningful visual details of a performance. Haptic access tours (20-30 minutes) are a live pre-show tour that allows patrons to experience - through touch and their own movement - the space, performers’ costumes, and the original aerial set pieces in addition to key movement elements in the performance.
Direction and Choreography: Joanna Haigood
Composer: Walter Kitundu
Scenic Design: Wayne Campbell and Sean Riley
Lighting Design: Norm Schwab and Krissy Kenny of Lightswitch
Master Rigger: David Freitag
Ritual Designers: Yohana Junker and Cláudio Carvalhaes
Veronica Blair, Suzanne Gallo, Ciarra D’Onofrio, Nina Sawant, Saharla Vetsch, Helen Wicks
Organist: Christopher Keady
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
Funders / Commissioners
Love, a state of grace is made possible by generous support from the California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, MAP Fund, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Gadomski Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Distracted Globe Foundation, Piece by Piece Productions, Felix Lighting, Lightswitch, as well as Zaccho’s generous community of individual donors
Haptic Access Tour and Audio Description provided with support from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund
Photographers: Bryan Gibel (Focal Point Films, LLC), Thomas Konicke, Walter Kitundu, and MaryJoe Corcoran
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