Gabri Christa arrived in New York from Puerto Rico via Cuba, the Netherlands and Curaçao Dutch Caribbean, where she was born and raised. She has danced and choreographed with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and Danzabierta in Havana, of which she was one of the founders. In the United States she has been a member of Bill T. Jones Dance Company/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Her choreographies have been performed throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America; and in the USA in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Seattle. Christa currently lives in Staten Island, NY and directs her company, DanzAisa. She also choreographs and directs for film and stage.
Christa's dances are firmly based in her Caribbean/European culture and post-modern dance. She has been interested in social and cultural displacement and her work often deals with negotiating community and identity. Her own vocabulary is informed by her Caribbean/European Culture, African Diaspora Religions, and Popular Culture (mostly influenced by her work with teenagers).
Her evening-length choreographies include YEYE, ORANGEMELTED, DE STEEN and SEMELA, which were critically acclaimed throughout the Caribbean and Europe. In New York, her work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, Dia Center for the Arts, Context, Aaron Davis Hall, Judson Church, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
Christa is co-founder of Orangemelted productions, a dance/theatre/film production company in Amsterdam, Curacao, and New York. Christa is also one of the founders and core committee members of DTW's Caribbean Arts Initiative (CAI), a New York/Caribbean-based collective created to promote and stimulate the performing arts in and of the Caribbean.
Christa is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has received choreography and production grants from several other sources, which include: the Jerome Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop's Suitcase Fund, Pittsburgh Dance Council, National Performance Network Creation Fund, Arts International U.S. Fund for American Artists at American Festivals, and the Dutch Ministry of Culture. She graduated from the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam and received an MFA from the University of Washington.
As an educator she has taught dance and lectured at the University of Washington, University of Puerto Rico, Manhattanville College, Fordham University, The University of Michigan, Ballet Hispanico's School of Dance, and in Public Schools throughout New York City. Christa has also taught dance through CREATE!, an arts in education organization, providing music and dance training to youth in public schools in several New York City boroughs. In addition to her commitment to education and community-based activities, Christa continues to choreograph and perform on her own. In 1999/2000 her work was presented in Columbia, Venezuela, Havana, PS 122, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Some of her most recent writings on dance will appear in Caribbean Dance: from Abekua to Zouk (University of Florida Press).
Gabri Christa, in collaboration with dancer/cinematographer Evann Siebens, has created THE BREACH, a BFF DV Lab series that makes social commentary with short dance films.
If I were to give my work a label, I would describe it as Contemporary Caribbean Dance Theater. Born and raised in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, my heritage informs both my artistic expressions and my worldview. If I identify myself as Caribbean/Antillean, my world is a reflection of the complexity that comes from being a member of a crossroads culture, and the multi-cultural baggage that it entails. One of my goals as a professional in the dance field is to showcase the diversity of the Caribbean today. The art currently coming out of the Caribbean has a universal appeal that goes beyond the traditional Afro-Caribbean influences of previous decades. Recently, New York also influences my vision, since it is made up out of groups of immigrants new and old that are recreating the cultural landscape in ways that are familiar to me. In my movement vocabulary I look for a fusion of that tradition with my own personal language, contemporary modern dance, and the organic, unexpected rhythms going on in the body. For my choreography I strive to tell a story, without the urge to explain the plot, or the need for the audience to ‘get it’. I cherish the questions and the unexpected. I aim to give voice to an intense desire to create something new out of what is already perceived to be fact. I don’t try to recreate, but rather to ‘blend all the ingredients’ or influences, and make something new, something ‘Creole’ in its truest sense. This is where my work is most typically Caribbean. As a member of a ‘crossroads’ culture, I am constantly negotiating the links between tradition and modernity; social/political art and art for arts sake, realism and the supernatural, colonial and post-colonial. The result, I hope, will place new significance on the commonly used platform of multi-culturalism.
Speaker Fee $ 2000