Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes From a Life and other works by John Bernd
Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes From a Life and other works by John Bernd is a re-construction and a re-imagining of the work by choreographer John Bernd. Bernd was a pivotal figure in the 1980’s downtown NYC dance scene who made several semi-autobiographical solos and ensemble pieces. Bernd was one of the first artists in that community to be diagnosed with HIV (before the virus had even been named). Throughout his life he created a significant body of interdisciplinary work dealing with themes of mortality, spirituality, and queer intimacy right up until his death at 35 in 1988 from AIDS-related complications. In this piece—conceived by Ishmael Houston-Jones (who danced in all three of Bernd’s series Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life), and co-directed by Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez—excerpts from the last seven pieces that Bernd made are re-configured to create a new vision of his work that captures the vitality of his vision. This re-imagining demonstrates how his influence lives on in works that we see today, and serves as a blueprint for what his work might have become. Bernd’s original music compositions are reimagined and enhanced by composer Nick Hallett. With consultation by Jennifer Monson.
Photos by Ian Douglas
Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd premiered at Danspace Project in 2016 as part of Platform 2016: Lost & Found.
The creation of Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd was made possible, in part, by the Danspace Project 2016-2017 Commissioning Initiative and a Production Residency, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and by Lambent Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the James E. Robison Foundation and an Emergency Grant from Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Additional residency support was provided by the New York State DanceForce in partnership with Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, with support from the New York State Council on the Arts.