Karen Bernard

Artist and Choreographer Karen Bernard will present her newest video installation with performance entitled Poolside as part of a month-long residency at Chashama’s 320 West 23rd Street space.

Wearing a vintage style bathing suit and sunglasses, ground breaking multi-disciplinary artist Karen Bernard creates a heightened performance from mundane activities and images as she grapples with memory, loss, acceptance and mortality. Within a durational and evolving video installation, Bernard will perform an exhilarating performance not unlike a doll in a jewelry box, bending and shifting with nuanced attractive and unattractive posturing. Developed at Foundation Obras at Evoramonte, Portugal, Poolside uses found architecture and unexpected projection angles, playing with the tension of seeing and being seen. Set to an emotional pop score, Bernard evokes nostalgia and exuberance, transporting us into the lazy days of summer in the middle of winter.

Karen Bernard Projects is a program of New Dance Alliance. The development of Poolside is made possible through Foundation Obras and a Chashama Space to Present.

About Karen Bernard
Karen Bernard is a choreographer and interdisciplinary solo performance artist based in New York City. She began studying dance at age three with her father, Steven Bernard, a company member with 20th century pioneer Charles Weidman. She grew up in a household that incorporated her father’s dance school, with students crossing through the family space, so performance art has been deeply ingrained throughout her life. As an artist and the Founder and Director of New Dance Alliance (NDA), she performs, teaches, lectures and serves on advisory panels across the U.S., Canada and Europe. This cross-pollination strengthens an ongoing social dialogue among international artists, one that exemplifies her lifelong commitment to performance. That commitment is fully brought to life in NDA’s justly-renowned Performance Mix Festival, now celebrating its 33rd year.

Between 1986 and 1998, Bernard presented a series of solos in collaboration with DIA Center for Arts and went on to be presented at The Kitchen, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, Triskelion and Dance Theater Workshop/AKA New York Live Arts.  Bernard received critical acclaim for Removed Exposure, which premiered at Dixon Place and went on to the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Women in Transition, a festival in Vienna; then was remounted at Here Arts Center. A handmade book of the same name, Removed Exposure, was co-created with Canadian Bookmaker Gray Fraser.  Many of her earlier works were developed through Fieldwork and presented at Studio 303 in Montreal as well as Hysteria at Buddies at Bad Times in Toronto.  She has received support through residencies including Bogliasco, Foundation Obras, Emily Harvey Foundation, Cill Rialaig, Movement Research Artist in Residence, The Kitchen Dance in Process, Earthdance, White Oak, Silo at Kirkland Farm, Wassard Elea, Firkin Crane’s Blank Canvas, and Tractor D’Clinic.  Bernard has received funding from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Electronic Arts and Media with support from New York State Council on the Arts Council, Puffin Foundation and as a USArtist. She received a BAX 10 award for her invaluable service to artists in the founding and development of the Performance Mix Festival. Bernard is a co-founder of E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Collaborative Residency at Earthdance. Last season, she had a two-month residency and at Brooklyn Studio for Dance to continue to develop a group work entitled Showgirls, a delicious deconstruction of glamour in decline juxtaposed against evocative imagery of a crumbling Venice, culminating in performances. “Their embrace of decline redefines it as a redirection of transformation. If architecture gets better with age, why can’t women? As such, Showgirls, offers a blueprint for a constructive sort of objectification of women – as structures of resistance.” Eye on the Arts, NY — Jonathan Matthew

About New Dance Alliance
Incorporated in 1989, New Dance Alliance (NDA) is an arts service organization whose mission is to actively promote emerging forms of innovative dance, music, video, and interdisciplinary performance. NDA’s initial aims were to support an artistic community that had limited institutional resources, and to provide that community with increased opportunities for sharing experimental works with the public. Today, NDA’s goals remain deeply rooted in those founding principles, and have also expanded in response to current artistic challenges and goals. NDA’s expanded programming includes initiatives that foster national and international artists, and promote increasingly diversified audiences through annual events, retreats, educational panels, and performances. Its four main programs are: Performance Mix Festival; LiftOff: Residency and Workshop; Subsidized Rehearsal Space; and creator and performer, Karen Bernard. Collectively, these programs support the work of more than 100 experimental artists, and bring in 2,500 audience members each year.

To learn more, visit www.newdancealliance.org

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