Choreographed by Francesca Jandasek Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Performed by Francesca Jandasek, Stephanie Yezek Jolivet, Krysia Bock Photo by Enoch Chan
I do not feel alive unless I am creating, imagining, thinking and dreaming. It is always how I have connected with people around me and made sense of the world since I was little. Born in Namibia, Africa from Czech Parents who fled Communism and growing up in the United States with English as my second language, dance has provided a refuge and a way to communicate ideas and emotions through a medium that does not need translation.
I make dances because I feel that art is what makes me human. I cannot imagine a more human medium than dance because humans are physical beings. Before we know how to speak, sing, draw and write, we express ourselves through our bodies. Movement, dance, is a language that transcends cultures and peoples. Because of its very nature, dance cannot be divorced from visual art, theater, physics, anatomy and physiology, sound, human expression and body language, and so is able to touch the participants and audience on multiple levels.
As world traveler and global citizen, I am interested in exploring what gives us life and what destroys us. I am fascinated by what we know and even more by what we do not know. I am inspired by the things I cannot explain, the things I cannot articulate, the stories I extrapolate. I want to share these discoveries and wonderings with others and learn from shared insight.
I explore aspects of my own life that I do not know how to quantify, wrap my head around and that cannot be neatly resolved. I let people into my inner world and share what I cannot explain in words, what is not visible to others as I go about my daily business, and what would otherwise remain contained as daily routines make us compartmentalize in order to survive. Sometimes I put my aspirations and desires into art in order to help make them manifest. Sometimes I put my pain, my fear, my sorrow, my past experiences into art in order to let them go and help lighten the burden. Sometimes I put my questions and my issues into my art so that I can gain insight from others. Sometimes I share the things I love, that bring me joy and inspire me. The more knowledge and understanding I gain about the world, the more my cultural certainties are questioned and the more mysterious the human condition becomes. Seeking to understand, my work is heavily research based, the topics are complex and full of paradox. My work asks questions I do not yet know how to formulate. Ultimately, I create so that I can present these topics in their gloriously unresolved state in order to create a dialogue with my collaborators, dancers and audience members.
My choreography is an interplay of the arts. The stage is a canvas, the dancers are sculptures. When they come to life, they create melodies, harmonies or cacaphonies through movement. When frozen, the picture on stage can reveal an elegy, folk tale, prayer or diary entry.
Francesca has worked with many dance and theater companies in the Washington DC area, including CityDance Ensemble, BosmaDance, Santi Budaya (Indonesian Dance), Sharna Fabiano Tango Company, Tango Mercurio, Dakshina Dance Company (Indian and Modern Dance), Deviated Theater and Synetic Theater. She has performed and taught nationally and internationally (Russia, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Czech Republic and Argentina). Francesca had the opportunity to work with Tanec Praha, which organizes the International Modern Dance Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2006, Francesca received the Artist Fellowship for Dance from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She also received a choreographic fellowship from the Kennedy Center as part of the Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project 2006 and she choreographed and composed music for the full evening length work, “Ellesmere”. In 2007, she was nominated as one of the finalists for "Emerging Choreographer" for the Metro DC Dance Awards.
In 2009, she established baredances, a collaborative contemporary dance project, with Stephanie Yezek. Baredances was originally commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was subsequently expanded to include collaboration with other artists, choreographers, musicians, dancers, actors and filmmakers. Through baredances, Francesca choreographed “Invitations”, a full evening length modern and baroque dance piece and “Kindgom of Ends”, multimedia piece mixing contemporary ballet and modern dance improvisation, live found-object music improvisation, and interactive improvised art projection. Baredances’ most recent piece, “Her Flowers” was presented by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on January 25th, 2014.
In 2011, Francesca choreographed Romanian folk dances for Zalmoxis (a Romanian Play) at Georgetown University. She recently created 3 short solos, “Pandora’s Door Triptych” commissioned by the Kennedy Center for June 2012 and is currently working on “Gallery Space” film and live dance performance with baredances. In 2012, she worked with Amy Hart, a film producer in New York City and Andy Okaofor, a film director in Paris, France to create a short tango film. Francesca participated in a dance film “Mean Girls Reunion” by Ludovic Jolivet and Ted Bain as part of the 48 hour film festival 2013. Since 2012, she has worked with Synetic Theater, a movement theater company in Northern Virginia. She played Dulcinea in “Don Quixote” (directed by Paata Tsikurishvili), Laika’s Mother in “A Trip to the Moon” (directed by Natsu Onoda Power), Antonia in “The Tempest” by Shakespeare (directed by Paata Tsikurishvili), understudy for Viola in “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare (directed by Paata Tsikurishvili) and understudy for Gertrude in “Hamlet” by Shakespeare (directed by Paata Tsikurishvili). In June 2013, she choreographed for "'T' Party" at Forum Theatre (directed by Natsu Onoda Power) and in 2014, she was a movement consultant for “Yellow Face” at Theater J (directed by Natsu Onoda Power), and choreographer for “Happily Ever After” at Ambassador Theater (directed by Hanna Bondarewska). She also danced and choreographed for a feature length film “Her Tango” directed by Jason Mullis. In Los Angeles, Francesca has danced with Sharna Fabiano, Stephanie Yezek Jolivet, Pennington Dance Group, Alexa Roman and she taught and choreographed for Orange County School of the Arts. In 2017, she created "ToGetHer", an evening length multimedia work exploring the before and after of a lifetime of moments between two people, which premiered at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA.
In 2018, Francesca the "The Immured Woman" which was inspired by the Romanian legend of the Arges Monastery in which a pregnant woman is immured to make the walls of the monastery stand. The Immured Woman investigated the themes of woman, immortality, creation, and procreation through merging dance, physical theater, visual art, film, text, and sound. The final product included live dance performance, original text and music, an architectural set, film projections of sexualized fruit, and a time-stop animation of an original illuminated musical manuscript to unveil art creation as a metaphor for procreation and procreation as a metaphor for art creation.
In 2020, Francesca created several short films, including "SHADOW" and "Put the Devil Back In Hell" and co-produced "Leeks, Onion, and Pork Fat" which have won awards at Film Festivals. She is working on another short film for Synetic Motion Pictures set to premiere in 2021.
Francesca received her MFA in Dance from CSULB in 2018, and currently teaches as a part-time lecturer in several universities in the Los Angeles area.
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