we all need light: stories from the grove

April, 2013

From 1964-68, Famed photographer Ansel Adams spent time at the University of California on a groundbreaking photographic project commissioned by UC President Clark Kerr. At its core the project, entitled Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light, the University of California motto) asked Adams to answer the question “How can we imagine our future?” Over the course of the project, Adams took thousands of photos of the entire UC system, culminating in a published book written by Nancy Newhall in 1967, which was revisited in a full-year, campuswide multimedia exploration of Adams’ work this year called On the Same Page.

Berkeley Dance Project 2013: Aperture, the final production in UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Main Stage season, responds to and continues Adams’ work as part of the On the Same Page initiative, featuring four choreographic premieres and an exhibition of student artistic work , each bringing new perspectives and framings of contemporary life. The production opens April 19 in Zellerbach Playhouse.

We all need light: stories from the grove, investigates real life stories of students living and working on the UC Berkeley campus today. These stories are layered with images from the 1964-68 Adams/Newhall Fiat Lux project, with video installation created by Azin Seraj and with choreography by Lisa Wymore. Out of Adams’ thousands of photos, students have chosen some of the few Adams took of “natural” settings on the UC Berkeley campus: a eucalyptus grove which the students were drawn to as a quasi-bucolic setting within which they could explore movement. Wymore and her collaborators, Seraj, the students, and composer Ben Juodvalkis, have worked together to create a highly kinetic dance piece that reveals intimate and personal moments of being a student, and a human being, within an institution of higher learning.