Sundown by Yoshiko Chuma

“Sundown” by Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks,
at Issue Project Room Brooklyn, employs the scenic vistas of the Gowanus Canal.

7-hour site performance with 7 dancers, 7 musicians and 7-foot cubes designed by Ralph Lee

* Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30: 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm
* Issue Project Room, 400 Carroll Street (between Bond and Nevins), Brooklyn
* Directions: F, G to Carroll Street (fourth stop in Brooklyn from Manhattan). Exit at front of train. Walk 2.5 blocks from stop down Carroll.
* $15 general admission; $10 senior/students. Reservations 718-330-0313 or by email. Please indicate how many tickets, date, approximate time of your arrival, and ticket type. Your tickets will be held at the gate.
* Info:

Gowanus Canal today
The afternoon vista at Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, long a favorite of sunset painters and photographers, will be the setting for “Sundown” by Yoshiko Chuma, a seven-hour dance-and-sound installation to be performed twice, July 29 and 30, at Issue Project Room, 400 Carroll Street. The event is a rare fusion of elements to please fanciers of avant-garde dance and family audiences alike.

Sunset at Gowanus Bay in the Bay New York (1851) by Henry Gritten
Despite the condition of the canal today, there is something eternal about the skyscape that inspired “Sunset at Gowanus Bay in the Bay New York” (1851) by Henry Gritten. In this event, it will frame a new dance performance conceived and choreographed for The School of Hard Knocks by its Artistic Director, Yoshiko Chuma. The work will take place over a period of 7 hours, and will include 7 dancers, 7 live trombonists and four 7-foot cubes designed by Ralph Lee.

School of Hard Knocks in Japan
“Sundown” builds on performance works that Chuma and company have been developing over the last few years, using 7-foot boxes framing a variety of locations around the world. Last summer, a precursor piece set on the Hudson River Esplanade, performed as part of “Art on the Beach Revisited,” was deemed “quite beautiful” by Gia Kourlas in the New York Times. Chuma’s dances with the cubes have also been quite successful indoors. Robyn Sulcas (New York Times) commended the “extraordinary visual and dramatic effects” of “7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7” in City Center’s six-night run of Fall for Dance last October. Three months earlier, Gia Kourlas (New York Times) praised “Inside/Outside” at P.S. 122, which also used the cubes, as “eerie, funny and blessedly dense.”

Issue Project Room, viewed from the Canal
By far, “Sundown” will be Chuma’s most elaborate piece of this kind. It will take place in the indoor performance area, as well as outdoor sites around Issue Project, which offers several choice views of the sun, the sky and the Gowanus Canal. If it rains, the entire production will move into Issue Project’s 1000 square-foot performance space, which occupies the second floor of a silo-style building overlooking the Canal.

Issue Project boasts of “open land, open skies and privacy” and the destination is only four subway stops into Broooklyn.

Trombinists Peter Zummo, Richard Mariott and Christopher McIntyre in School of Hard Knocks workshop June 4 in Tivoli, NY.
“Sundown” will be performed to new music commissioned by School of Hard Knocks and composed by Christopher McIntyre for the 7×7 Trombone Band, which includes Tim Albright, Joe Fiedler, Jacob Garchik, Richard Marriott, Chris McIntyre, Steve Swell and Peter Zummo. An additional soundscape will be created by Chuma and sound designer Jacob Burckhardt, in collaboration with Stephan Moore, for an innovative multi-speaker 16 channel installation by Moore.

The audience will move freely among four installations (three cubes outdoors, one inside), allowing a constantly shifting perspective. The effect is akin to a movie or photograph in which perspective is changed by placement of the camera: At times the image moves and the camera stays in place, at other times the reverse happens. In the course of seven hours, the 7 dancers will be continually mixed and re-matched with the trombonists. The boxes will be constantly manipulated: sometimes rotating, sometimes stable, with the ensemble dancing through and around them. Once the darkness of night descends, the show will move inside, where controlled lighting will rule the night, an indoor cube with white sides will frame the dancers and provide a backdrop for black-and-white films. Audience members are invited to view the performance for as long as they like. Refreshments will be available.

The dancers are Ursula Eagly, Steven Reker, Saori Tsukuda, Christopher Williams, Ryuji Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Chuma and guest artist Jean Butler. Costume design is by Gabriel Berry. Lighting design is by Pat Dignan. Producer is Bonnie Sue Stein.

Lately, the Gowanus district has been burgeoning artistically.

Issue Project Room (IPR), a multi-disciplinary art space in the district, presents music, sound, the spoken word, film, video, dance, performance and artisanal cuisine for a nominal ticket cost. It is one of the most distinctive institutions for experimental performance in New York City. In June 2005, IPR moved from the East Village in Manhattan to its unique setting on the Gowanus Canal. Its new space is a renovated industrial silo that contains a ground level exhibition area, an upper level live performance space, and an extensive outdoor area.

The appeal of “Sundown” as family entertainment was manifest on June 4, when a smaller scale, preliminary workshop was held in the historic surroundings of Tivoli, NY, presented by The Tivoli Project, a partnership of three local organizations. Presented in a restored church, it delighted children as well as adults with its skillful live trombone soundscore and intricate dancing through four 7-foot cubes.

“Sundown” is supported, in part, by New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and by Japan FoundationÂ’s Performing Arts Japan Program, Altria Group, Inc., Live Music for Dance Program of American Music Center. Created during an upstate residency at Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

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