Describing Dances (and Dances that Describe Themselves): Audio Description and Dance Performance

Panel Discussion | February 20 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 44B Dwinelle Hall

 Jess Curtis, Choreographer, Artistic Director, Gravity Access Services; Georgina Kleege, Professor of English, UC Berkeley

 Lisa Wymore, Associate Professor of Dance & Performance Studies, UC Berkeley

 Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Gravity Access Services

The TDPS Speaker Series presents a conversation with Georgina Kleege and Jess Curtis, moderated by Lisa Wymore: "Describing Dances (and Dances that Describe Themselves): Audio Description and Dance Performance."

Access Services: Real-time captioning will be provided for this discussion.

The discussion will coincide with the opening of Berkeley Dance Project 2020, which includes the audio-described dance piece "Cycle" by Lisa Wymore. The performance on Saturday, February 22 will include live audio description and a pre-show haptic access tour by Gravity Access Services, as well as ASL interpretation by Campus Access Services. Reserve an audio headset and other access services for the February 22 performance by submitting this form.

About the Speakers:

Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performer committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance. He has created and performed multidisciplinary works throughout the U.S and Europe with the radical SF performance groups Contraband and CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, he founded his trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity with whom he has premiered 12 full-evening productions and numerous shorter works with co-producers in the U.S. and Europe, performing in over 70 cities in 16 countries. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography and the Homer Avila Award for innovation in physically inclusive dance. In 2018 he founded Gravity Access Services to provide access accommodations and consulting for live performances in the San Francisco Bay Area. Curtis is active as a researcher, writer, teacher, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. Learn more at

Georgina Kleege joined the English department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2003 where in addition to teaching creative writing classes she teaches courses on representations of disability in literature, and disability memoir. Her collection of personal essays, Sight Unseen (1999) is a classic in the field of disability studies. Essays include an autobiographical account of Kleege’s own blindness, and cultural critique of depictions of blindness in literature, film, and language. Many of these essays are required reading for students in disability studies, as well as visual culture, education, public health, psychology, philosophy and ophthalmology . Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller (2006) transcends the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction to re-imagine the life and legacy of this celebrated disability icon. Kleege’s latest book, More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art (2018)is concerned with blindness and visual art: how blindness is represented in art, how blindness affects the lives of visual artists, how museums can make visual art accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. She has lectured and served as consultant to art institutions around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London. Kleege received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Division of Arts and Humanities in 2013, and from the UCB campus as a whole in 2016., 510-642-9925