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  • Writer's pictureYolande Snaith

21 years of dance making in San Diego, 2002 - 2023.

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Having now retired from my senate faculty position as dance professor at UC San Diego, I am moving back home to the UK to begin the next chapter of my life. Looking back over my 21 years in San Diego, I am thankful for the many professional dance theatre projects and collaborations, and all the wonderful dancers, designers, composers, theatre directors and videographers I have had the pleasure, and the honor to work with. Here is a gallery of images, words and memorable moments, from 2019 back to 2005, also featuring photography by several San Diego based photographers.


Of Body and Ghost, 2019.

Photos by Jim Carmody and Manny Rotenberg.

Of Body and Ghost was a dance-theatre-opera collaboration between dance maker Yolande Snaith, composer Kris Apple, writer / dramaturg Roswitha Gerlitz and vocalist Barbara Byers. An ethereal rite of passage through the experience of aging. Movement, text, images, music and song join forces to create a poetic synthesis. The performers negotiate tensions between scientific fact, memory, embodied experience and fantasy in a surreal dance through time, space, gravity and spirit. Questions of human mortality in relation to our modern world are grappled with, whilst celebrating life in the present moment, and the beauty of the human body’s expressive capabilities. Presented as part of UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance's Dance Series in May 2019, Tête-A-Tête Opera Festival, London, UK August 2019 and Oxford College, Atlanta US, November 2019. Full lenghth video can be found on https://www.yolandesnaith.com/video


Mapping Invisibility, 2018

Photos by Tim Richards and Manny Rotenberg.

Mapping Invisibility was a collaboration between dance makers Yolande Snaith, Kyle Sorensen, Gina Bolles Sorensen, and composer / musician Kristopher Apple, created during an artist's residency at the City Heights Performance Annex, San Diego, in May 2018. Under the artistic direction of Yolande Snaith, this work collectively evolved a system of mapping choices and behaviors in response to changing space and perceptions between performers and objects, with systems of signals built into the sound design, text and music. An IMAGOmoves production performed at City Heights Parformance Annex, May 2018.

Video can be found here: https://vimeo.com/316646451


Out Of The Ether 2018

Photos by Jim Carmody

Out Of The Ether was a collaboration with LITVAKdance and composer / musician Kristopher Apple. Directed by Yolande Snaith and choreographed collaboratively with dancers; Ashley Akhavan, Josh Dunn, Beverley Johnson, Berlin Lovio, Lemoe Mataitusi, Traci Mcknight, April Tra, Korey Van Hoy and Sadie Weinberg. Commissioned by LITVAKdance and performed as part of the company's inaugural spring concert 2018 at UC San Diego, and as part of a double bill with Mapping Invisibility at City Heights Parformance Annex, May 2018.


Once I Dreamed I Was a Dinosaur Swimming Backwards, 2016

Photos by Jim Carmody and Manny Rotenberg

A solo work by Yolande Snaith in collaboration with composer Ryan Welsh, for the San Diego International Fringe Festival. This work was a development of Yolande's solo material from Girls at Wor, a collaboration with Katie Duck. Presented at The Geoffrey Off Broadway, June / July 2016. Once I Dreamed I Was a Dinosaur Swimming Backwards constructs and imaginal space where the living body and inanimate objects invite multiple projections and possibilities, whilst simultaneously bringing intrinsic histories and truths into the present. I am interested in creating a world where the personal and the universal hold hands, where meaningfulness and meaninglessness collide, where fantasy and reality converse, where the unseen stories etched into the skin of things are revealed, where the body brings its life story to every action, with and without intention”


Duck&Snaith: Girls at Work (2015 - 2016) A collaboration between Katie Duck and Yolande Snaith

A collaboration that evolves around chosen objects, text and movement. Duck & Snaith engage with juxtaposition, conjunction and interaction. They willfully give their presence as female artists with an unusual flavor of humour, accompanied by a surprising energy and clarity of movement activity, embodied by their experience over the past 35 and 39 years. Devised and performed: Katie Duck and Yolande Snaith / music: Alfredo Genovesi, Stephen Kent, James Blake, Jean-Jaques Palix and David Coulter. Girls at Work evolved over a two year period of working both in San Diego, US, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.The work premiered as part of the LIVE ARTS FEST at the WHITE BOX THEATER in San Diego, April 2015, and toured to Amsterdam (OT301), Berlin (DOC11) and Surrey University (UK) in February 2016


Woman For The Sake Of It (2016)

Photos by Jim Carmody

Woman For The sake Of It was a site specific research performance project for a group of San Diego based women dance and music artists, ranging in age from mid 20’s to mid 50’s. Yolande Snaith invited this group to undertake a short, intensive collaborative process during 6 days at the RAW space. Driven by a desire to explore a non hierarchical, non ego-centric creative process of shared authorship, this work embraced the diverse and multifaceted voice of the group, whilst also supporting each individual’s unique attributes. Situated within a raw environment of objects, lighting and layers of eclectic sound and music, the resulting performances shared an exploration of collaborative, spontanous performance making with audiences, inviting viewers into their wild, provocative, unpredictable, multidimensional and transformative playground of female expression.Yolande Snaith was joined by a cast of San Diego based dance artists - Anya Cloud, Karen Schaffman, Kristianne Salcines, Gina Bolles Sorensen, Veronica Santiago Moniello, with live sound and music curator Mary Oliver. Presented at RAW Space Off Broadway, San Diego, March 20016.


Measuring The Dream, 2016

photos: Jim Carmody

Measuring the Dream was a multimedia dance collaboration that drew on "The Dream", by the 17th Century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inez De La Cruz. Artistic direction Yolande Snaith, production design Victoria Petrovich, composer Ryan Welsh, lighting design Jose Lopez, dancers Erin Tracy, Aurora Lagattuta, Heather Glabe and Veronica Santiago Moniello. Choreographic scores by Yolande Snaith, Erin Tracy, Anne Gehman and Veronica Santiago Moniello. Costumes designed and created by Yolande Snaith.

​This project embraced a creative process of cross pollination of artistic ideas and practices, blurring the distinctions between the artists respective disciplines and conventional roles. The choreographic process was a collective endeavor, bringing together several scores created by Yolande Snaith and the dancers in response to the text of ‘The Dream’, and research into the life of Sor Juana Innes de la Cruz. This work does not attempt to convey a linear narrative, but aims to bring the space to life through a collective response to ‘The Dream’ and evoke an essence of Sor Juana’s thoughts and vision. Presented as part if IDEAS Performance Series at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology(Calit 2), San Diego, US.


The mapping Games (part 2) - SOMA/LUX, 2015

Photos by Jim Carmody and Tim Richards

SOMA/LUX, a multimedia installation performnace, poetically navigating embodied and imagined journeys of sensory exploration, within a visceral, visual and sonic field of fluctuating states, light, shadow, opacity and transparency. Directed by Yolande Snaith, this production featured collaborative San Diego dancers Anne Gehman, Gina Bolles Sorensen, Kyle Sorensen, Angel Acuña, Andromeda Bradley, and Kris Apple, production designer Victoria Petrovich, lighting designer Omar Ramos, with music by Kris Apple with Andromeda Bradley. An IMAGOmoves production presented at WHITE BOX LIVE ARTS, San Diego, October 2015. Video: https://vimeo.com/440963831


IF (2014)

photos by Tim Richards

IF was a collaboration between Yolande Snaith, Katie Duck, Liam Clancy and Alicia Peterson Baskel, with music composed by Alfredo Genovesi and lighting design by Dolly Zhao, presented as the second half of ‘IMAGOmoves presents Katie Duck and Guests’, a UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance’s Dance Series event. IF explores spontaneous dance making in juxtaposition, conjunction and interaction with objects, to create visual and movement compositions that are resonant with layers of associative readings. Through an accumulative practice over several rehearsals the group built a history of images, events, and spatial architectures together, creating a shared sense of transformative ‘story-ness’.


The Mapping Games ( part 1) - 2013 -2014

photos by Tim Richards

An IMAGOmoves production in collaboration with dancers Alison Dietterle Smith, Sadie Weinberg and Heather Glabe, sound designer Splash Yang and lighting designer Gwickyoung Ko. Over an accumulative practice over time, this collaboration explored the merge between embodied maps of personal territories, presence and absence of others in our living spaces, and the open fields of shared, impersonal arenas. The Mapping Games (part 1) was presented as part of the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance’s Dance Series, and the Encinitas Library, May 2014.


One Hundred Feet (2011 - 2013)

photos by Tim Richards and Jim Carmody

One Hundred Feet was a full length, multimedia collaboration between solo performer/choreographer Yolande Snaith, video artist Natalia Valerdi, sound designer Nick Drashner and lighting designer Wen-Ling Liao. ‘50 pairs of shoes in a Snow-White space evoke the mysterious presence of 50 seminal women who left their distinctive footprints. Dancing and talking to herself, the mundane, the divine, the real, the imagined and the impossible, Snaith negotiates past, present and future existences. “I used to be Snow White,” she says. “I am incapable of conceiving infinity,” she thinks. “Forever is composed of nows,” she feels. She dwells in possibility. This solo work navigates a path through the resonances of past idols and extraordinary minds, from Joan of Arc to Gertrude Stein to Marilyn Monroe to Pina Bausch. Previewed as part of Archive Fever, March 2011, a festival of performance art at UAG, (UC San Diego Art Gallery), premiered at Space 4 Art, San Diego in October 2012, featured as part of the UC San Diego Department of theatre and Dance’s Dance Series, May 2013. Video https://vimeo.com/440967184


The Art of Fugue, 2012

Photos by Jim Carmody.

Set to JS Bach's The Art of Fugue, this production was a collaboration between choreographer Yolande Snaith and IMAGOmoves, and the Bach Collegium San Diego, bringing live music dance together. Guest musical director Rudolf Richter and dancers Yolande Snaith, Alison Smith, Alicia Peterson Baskel and Anya Cloud. Presented at UC San Diego.


Ruins True (2010 -2012)

photos by Tim Richards and Jim Carmody

A collective creation conceived by Gabor Tompa, Yolande Snaith, Liam Clancy and Mary Peterson, Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s work. Original music by Shahrokh Yadegari and scenic design by Ian Wallace. Jess Humphrey also performed in Ruins True and contributed to the creative process during its second phase. My beloved son Alexander also had a small part, as pictured.

“Since man has been banished from paradise, “lessness” became our natural state of life. Time is ruining our faces, our skins, our bodies, our sentiments and gestures, but there is always something that cannot be taken away ....in the magic of the memory we keep levitating in the dignity of passing away, and there’s never a dull moment- we have to start again and again!” Gabor Tomp. Ruins True was previewed at SUSHI Visual and Performing Arts, San Diego 2010, and toured to the ‘INTERFERENCES’ International Theatre Festival, Cluj, Romania, 2010, then to Budapest, and the Off-Avignon festival, France, 2011. In 2012 Yolande choreographed Ruins True Refuge with performers from the Hungarian State Theatre of Cluj, Romania, for the company's repertoire which was presented internationally.


Garden of Deadly Sound (2007 - 2009)

photos by Tim Richards

In a surrealist play on the characters of Maria (The Sound Of Music) and Mary Poppins, Garden of Deadly Sound explores the archetypal guardian or ‘Nanny’, the embodiment of feminine principles that save the neglected children of our world from the horrors of war and patriarchal regimes. In a confined space saturated with ominous sounds and images, two characters journey through a darkly humorous series of situations, rituals and dances, that challenge their ability to live up to their reputations as the saviors of the children. Conceived and choreographed byYolande Snaith in collaboration with dancers Elizabeth Swallow and Rebecca Bruno, and Lighting projections designer Thomas Ontiveros. Commissioned by the Hungarian State Theatre Of Cluj's 'INTERFERENCES' international theatre festival, premiered in December 2007, Cluj, Romania, and presented by SUSHI Visual and Performing Arts, San Diego 2009. An IMAGOmoves production.


iMan, 2009

Photos by Tim Richards.

iMAN was a humourous and darky psychological play on human and animal social activities, rituals and dancing, overlooked by an all seing eye. Yolande Snaith collaborated with dancers Elizabeth Swallow, Eric Geiger, Raphaella Judd, Deven Brawley, Greg Lane, Rebecca Bruno, Tonnie Sammartano, John Diaz and Alison Smith. Lighting projections designer Thomas Ontiveros, composer Steven Kent. Presented by SUSHI Visual and Performing Arts, San Diego 2009. An IMAGOmoves production.


Garden of Forbidden Loves (2007)

photos by Jim Carmody

A garden of obscure desires and denials, Garden Of Forbidden Loves evokes a secret meeting place for a quartet of mismatched, solitary characters, each with their own stories, joys and sorrows. Inspired by the surrealist photographic montages of artist Maggie Taylor, the landscape is minimally punctuated by a few isolated, misplaced objects of distorted scale and symbolic resonance; a caged egg, a miniature ladder, a tiny house and garden on wheels, a tree–throne. This strangely poetic quartet is set to the hauntingly beautiful voice of Alfred Dellar, singing John Dowland lute songs. A language of sharp, rhythmical, asymmetrical gestures poignantly counterpoints the soft harmonies of the music, and at times gives way to passionately intermingling dances that flow and tumble through the space.​ Conceived and choreographed by Yolande Snaith in collaboration with Eric Geiger, Elizabeth Swallow and Tonnie Sammartano. Funded by a UC San Diego research grant, performed at UC San Diego 2006, and toured to the Hungarian State Theater Festival of Cluj, Romania 2007. An IMAGOmoves production.


Ghost Garden, 2006

photos by Elezar Harel

“What is a garden? A place /a space / a vision / a dream / a wish / an idea / a longing / a secret / a sanctuary / a journey / an exploration / an excavation / a memory/ a dedication / a fear / a fantasy /a love / a loss / a home / a resting place? Are there perhaps as many gardens as there are living beings?”Ghost Garden was an adaptation of Jardin Blanc, the final production by Yolande Snaith's former UK company Yolande Snaith Theatredance. Choreographed by Yolande in collaboration with dancers Alison Smith, John Diaz, Robby Johnson, Raffaella Judd, Sadie Weinberg and Erica Ruse. Costumes by Miranda Melville, fiber optics and wearable sculptures by Sharon Marsden. Funded by a UC San Diego research grant, performed at UC San Diego 2006.

Garden of Lila, 2005.

photos by Elazar Harel

​Based on the poetry of Persian poet Forough Farrokhzad, Garden of Lila brings together dance, spoken word and video projection, creating a journey through the writer's heart, mind and memories. A collaboration between composer and sound designer / co- director Shahrokh Yadegari and choreographer / co-director Yolande Snaith, video animator Tara Knight, lighting designer Thomoas Ontiveros, costume designer Paloma Young, Assistant sound designer Christian DeAngelis, Stage manager Anjee Nero, actor Eva Barnes, dancers Maria Cleary, John Diaz, Alison Smith, Erica Ruse, Bradley R Lundgerg, Natalia Valersdi and Sadie Weinberg. Presented by the Persian Arts Society at UC San Diego and The Japan America Theatre Los Angeles


Two commissioned works between - Hanging In The Balance 2008 / Through Line 2015

photos by Tim Richards

Two of several shorter commissioned works between 2003 to 2015: Hanging In The Balance (top 4) for the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective, presented in the Blurred Borders Festival 2008, San Diego.

Through Line for Erica Beuchner, in collaboration with dancers Erica Beuchner, Jen Oliver and Heathre Glabe and composer / musician Kristopher Apple. Presented at Encinitas Library and RAW space Off Broadway San Diego 2015.

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