Multimedia dance performance comes to CSUN

Hilda Yeghishian

Dancers, actors, vocalists and videographers come together to create a surrealistic interpretation of quantum physics in a performance titled “Rage to Know,”

which will be appearing at CSUN on April 28.

Soothing violin, upbeat tempos and abstract vocals make up the backdrop for the four members of Donna Sternberg and Dancers as they use their bodies to inspire thought of some of the most complex theories in present day.

Quantum physics, which can be described as physics that tries to explain the behavior of small particles such as electrons and protons, and the potential possibility of duel realities are the focus of this interpretive performance. Fans of the controversial 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know, which dabbles in neuroscience and quantum physics in relation to the universe and human life

Imagine being in two, three or four places all at the same time. Life would be much easier if it were possible to finish a 10-page research paper, work the nine to five shift, and enjoy the breeze at the beach on a beautiful day.

With the science being revealed and the technology quickly being produced this could be an interesting, or a rather scary, reality for the coming generation.

“We are all, whether you are in a classroom in a university, whether you are reading something online, reading a magazine, we and filmmakers are being influenced by these ideas. I mean they are mind blowing!” said Michael Musucci, videographer and co-creator of “Rage to Know.”

“What they are saying does support perhaps ideas from ancient Buddhism, a lot of ideas from Sci-Fi, you know this stuff is coming into the world.”

The performance combines various artistic formats to illustrate the abstract theoretical ideas that have permeated pop-culture.

Through the slow,steady and dramatic movements followed by the spastic fast movements and jumps, these dancers tell of time travel through the music of composers such as Manuel de Falla, Axiom of Choice, Maya Beiser and Dawn Upshaw. Other music was also composed as a result of a collaborative effort between Sternberg and Musucci.

“There are different levels of abstractions, the dance perhaps being the most abstrac, and the actors being the most concrete. You have these two reoccurring characters who are seated throughout the piece and they are always struggling with these issues in various ways. The digital art is sort of in the middle. It’s kind of illustrative about these ideas we hear of, but it’s also quite abstract too?of course to us, we get what all the symbology means but perhaps the actors serve as the translators (for the audience) in the most concrete way,” Musucci said.

But even with the actors and singers there is no actual story, it is not a narrative piece, Donna Sternberg, the director of the dance company and co-creator of the performance said.

“The scope of the world has drastically changed three or four times in my lifetime and if there is a story to tell, it’s to expect change,” Musucci said.

“We are not trying to be scientifically accurate. It’s expressionist, it’s interpretive, (it’s about) how the artists react to these incredible ideas. It doesn’t have to be accurate it just has to tweak you, get you out of your chair and inspire you,” he said.

“It’s more about creating a sense of being in an atmosphere where maybe you have a little bit of a skewed experience from your normal experience. It’s to put you in an atmosphere that is different than your everyday atmosphere,” Sternberg said.

Both Sternberg and Musucci admit that they do not expect the audience to fully understand or care about the concepts presented in this performance.

“We are still trying to make it relevant to the day-to-day world. So many people are naturally bogged down by paying rent and raising kids and the war and poverty and you know these real issues, how do we make it relevant for them too so it doesn’t become this sort of ivory tower, ‘oh isn’t this wonderful, we are at a university and we can think of amazing ideas.’ How does Joe-six-pack?relate to this too, you know?” Musucci said.

Even the dancers found it hard to grasp the concepts they were interpreting.

“The concept is very hard because a lot of people don’t understand it. I don’t understand it. It’s very heavy,” said Vince Hederman, a 34-year-old member of the company.

Retno Sarnadi, 24, and Leah Tubbs, 26, agreed. Understanding it was definitely a collaborative effort, they said.

“The beauty of art is that it can be whatever one interprets it to be,” Tubbs said.

Hederman said he interpreted the dances to be a struggle between humans and nature. He was the tree and Tubbs was trying to bring him to life, but he went on to say that what he interpreted the scene as was probably different than what others would view it as.

The newest member of the company, Alheli Montano, 26, explained how she believes all things in the world can be related to one another.

“Dance can even be related to finance,” she said.

Prior to the performance, which will begin at 8:30 p.m. in the Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, there will be a planetarium show in the Bianchi Planetarium at 6:30 p.m. and a panel discussion with Sternberg, Musucci and several scientists at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 for general admission, $20 for students and seniors and $13 for children under 12.

“The real scientists who are on the panel will probably distance themselves from us and I would understand them doing that, but where scientists have to go by what they can measure, we don’t have to. We can make inferences and connections without saying, ‘this is fact,'” said Musucci.

Donna Sternberg and Dancers was founded in 1985 and has premiered over 55 works.

The company has performed at venues such as CSULA, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The company has been featured in publications as one of the most outstanding dance companies in Los Angeles.