Inspired by the hundredth anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S., Rightfully Ours brings together the forces of Berkeley Ballet Theater, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Post:Ballet, the Amaranth Quartet and the Living Earth Show. BBT Artistic Director Robert Dekkers says the collaboration grew from a planned single piece to the full-evening length program that will be at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Saturday night.
Robert Dekkers is artistic director of both the Berkeley Ballet Theater and Post:Ballet, and he was impressed when he saw a performance by the Girls Chorus a few years ago. The Living Earth Show’s Andy Meyerson, who had worked with SFGC, put him in touch with their artistic director, Valerie Saint-Agathe. They originally were going to work together on a performance of Sahba Aminikia’s Music of Spheres, the work Dekkers saw, but it evolved into eight works. “The idea is that it’s eight pieces, that each can stand alone, but also as one piece have a really cohesive statement.” The empowerment of young women seemed to be a fitting topic with the upcoming anniversary of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. “We wanted to honor those who fought so hard for the passage of that amendment, and for everyone who, over the last hundred years, has worked in the fight for human rights in so many ways. The piece kind of started with a focus on women’s rights, which I think expands very quickly into rights of immigrants, rights of trans people. We’re all connected, and until everyone has the right to live their life with dignity and freedom, we’re not done with this.” The choristers are not just providing the score, they’re also taking part in the dance. “There are sections where they literally are crawling across the stage while singing, parts where they’re laying down and singing, they’re being lifted by the dancers and pulled offstage. They’re really physically integrated into the work,” Dekkers says. The program includes two world premieres, by composers Aviya Kopelman, and Angélica Negrón.