August 11-23, 2012
Molli and Arthur Wagner Dance Building
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California

History of this project:
Allyson Green, Organizer and Chair of UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance

This project is the continuation of my ongoing exchange with East/Central European artists, building on a twenty-year history of choreographic research and teaching in this region. Beginning with an initial tour of the former Czechoslovakia and East Germany in 1988, I have conducted Suitcase Fund sponsored residencies in Slovakia, Macedonia, Romania and Latvia in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2008. In December, 2003 I created a week long festival in San Diego, California as part of the national Central Station festival, and brought twelve artists from Croatia, Estonia and Romania. The artists presented their work, participated in lectures and danced in a Connecting Beaches/Connecting Communities project at the Torrey Pines State Beach in La Jolla California. Audiences in the United States benefited greatly from the Central Station festival, which provided the opportunity to see the work of East Europeans for the first time in seven American cities.  The project in San Diego exposed Californian audiences to completely new viewpoints, with five days of performances by the East European artists.

My commitment to the mission of educating the next generation of artists, not just in educational settings, but in collaborative artistic engagements at the national and international level, fueled my leadership in coordinating the San Diego Central Station festival in 2003, as well as pursuing future exchanges. I believe that this exchange should go both ways; I am as committed to bringing these unique voices to America, as I am in my mission to help with the development of contemporary dance in this region. Since I have arrived in San Diego in 2001, I have pursued a similar objective in developing artistic ties between the San Diego and Mexico border, for nurturing the development of artists in the region.  I was the artistic director of Sushi Performance and Visual Arts from 2003-5, where I created numerous initiatives including the New Waves Showcase for emerging artists.  I have worked with Lux Boreal Contemporánea Danza, the leading new dance company in Tijuana, Mexico and participated in the 4th Encounters festival in Mexico City.  There are similar economic and artistic challenges in Mexico and East/Central Europe, and I sought an initiative to bring artists from these regions together for an exchange.

In my experience and conversations with the artists in these countries, the value of an ongoing relationship built over time results in a far richer process for all of the participants.  The need for a choreographic research lab, where artists could come together and exchange ideas and processes was discussed as the highest priority in previous festivals, residencies and projects.  Participants lamented the brief time for real exchange in festivals geared for performances only.  This project seeks to provide a haven where artists can deepen their creative investigations and may plant the seeds for further development.  A rich creative project, like a good soup, requires the right ingredients, and creative flavors deepen over time. It is important for me to pursue this project with partners with whom I have laid the groundwork to have a truly meaningful dialogue. The artists I have invited into the Cal-laboratory Kitchen were chosen from the many previous Suitcase Fund residencies I have conducted in their respective countries. I am excited to bring these artists to California for the first Cal-Laboratory Kitchen.

The participating artists were chosen for the dual role they are providing, not just as choreographers and improvisers, but also as arts leaders and educators in their respective countries.  The Cal-laboratory Kitchen recognizes the complexities and challenges of this work, and seeks to provide a forum for exchange to revitalize artistic practice and leadership, and to plant the seeds for future arts activists.  The participating artists provide important and inspiring role models for the students and local artists to become actively engaged as leaders in local and global community issues.  The participants will also provide video documentation of other choreographers in their communities, and can speak with expertise about the development of contemporary dance not only in their own countries, but also in the East/Central and Western European, Balkan, and Mexican regions.

For more information contact Allyson Green at: algreen (at)