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David Roussève, Nehara Kalev & Taisha Paggett in Roussève's Saudade. Photo by Jorge Vismara.^24 David Roussève's Saudade. Photo by Jorge Vismara.^24 Olivier Tarpaga, David Roussève & Esther Baker-Tarpaga in Roussève's Saudade. Photo by Jorge Vismara.^24 Olivier Tarpaga & Taisha Pagget in David Roussève's Saudade. Photo by Jorge Vismara.^24 Nehara Kalev & Taisha Paggett in David Roussève's Saudade. Photo by Jorge Vismara.^24

David Roussève/REALITY

Equal parts wild humor and grit, Saudade is an artistically ambitious, deeply personal statement by David Roussève about the need to understand modern times when life, as a series of colliding extremes, cannot be understood, only lived.  An ode to the idea of "bittersweet" - that single moment when great joy and agony are experienced together - Saudade is a work with a powerful emotional immediacy, surprising visual juxtapositions and unexpected narrative connections. 

Performed by seven diverse dancers who are familiar with the complex intersection between traditional world and postmodern dance, to quintessentially bittersweet Portuguese Fado music, the movement vocabulary is based less in one specific technique than on the conveyance of metaphor and emotion through highly physical movement and abstract imagery. As narrator, Roussève moves amidst the dancers, stopping periodically to perform character monologues from his uniquely southern, African American perspective-the stories of oppressed people finding a reason to go on in a harsh everyday reality.


Collaborators on Saudade included Ashley Hunt (Visual Design), David Ferri (Lighting Design), Peter Melville (Set and Prop Design), David Karagianis (Sound Design), and Leah Piehl (Costume Design). Saudade was performed by Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Nehara Kalev, Marianne M. Kim, Taisha Paggett, Sri Susilowati, Olivier Tarpaga, Anjali Tata and David Roussève.

Saudade had its world premiere at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland (College Park, MD) in February 2009 and subsequently toured throughout the U.S. to Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA); The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL); UCLA Live (Los A ngel es, CA); Jacob's Pillow (Becket, MA) and Danspace Project (New York, NY).

Saudade was produced by MAPP International Productions. Lead commissioning support was provided by Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and UCLA Live and the work was developed during residences at UCLA and Aaron Davis Hall/Harlem Stage. Saudade received generous support from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fund; Creative Capital; UCLA Faculty Grant Program; The Doris Duke Fund for Dance of the National Dance Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation and MetLife Foundation; Los Angeles County Fellowship Program; The Center for Cultural Innovation; and The Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation.