My first impression of Dana Yasek was that she was a beautifully graceful yogi on a paddleboard. After watching her balance so effortlessly across Lake Anne last summer, I was not surprised to discover that she is a dancer. Dana is a Reston resident with a formal background in dance and experience with several dance companies. She now performs with eleven other DC-area dancers in DEVIATED THEATRE.
DEVIATED THEATRE is a dance company that combines contemporary dance, aerial acrobatics, and acting. They will be performing an original dance opera this weekend, Friday and Saturday, February 27-28, 2015, in Washington, D.C. If you are interested in contemporary dance, or if you want to support the DC area’s performing arts, or if you just want to impress your date with a creative night out, I invite you to learn about DEVIATED THEATRE and their show creature, an original dance opera by Kimmie Dobbs Chan and Enoch Chan.
Enoch Chan Productions & Photography, LLC, provided Modern Reston with these beautiful photographs, as well as this video from Act 1 of creature:
I spoke with Reston resident Dana Yasek about DEVIATED THEATRE and her lifestyle as a dancer:
1. Please tell us a bit about DEVIATED THEATRE. What kind of dance does the company do? How many dancers are there?
DEVIATED THEATRE is a contemporary modern dance company that combines dance, acting and aerials to create “dance operas.” We are known for our athleticism, choreographic precision and ability to draw the audience into a new world to experience parts of humanity that we often ignore.
DEVIATED THEATRE is run by a fantastic husband and wife team, Kimmie Dobbs Chan (choreographer) and Enoch Chan (director). We currently have 12 performers: Dana Yasek, Lauren Marsden, Katie Johnson, Catherine David, Terra Bergamy, Christy Bartholomew, Sara Harrison, Katie Schiaffino, Vanessa Rowan, Naomi Lang, Ryan Tumulty & Gryphon Magnus.
We rehearse at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Rainier and live in MD, DC & VA. We are honored to have begun working with Damian Sinclair, CEO of AccelART, LLC in Reston. AccelART, LLC supports artists with marketing, fundraising and business endeavors to expand the artistic community. We are also lucky to work with In The Lights, a fantastic PR firm from NYC that focuses on promoting performing artists.
2. Where and when does DEVIATED THEATRE perform?
DEVIATED THEATRE had an exciting 2014-2015 performance year. We premiered creature at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre in NYC last summer as part of the Breaking Glass Project. After being well-received in NYC, we were invited back to Brooklyn to perform an excerpt of creature as part of the Wave Rising Dance Festival.
Locally we presented creature at Dance Place in DC, performed an excerpt at the Velocity DC Dance Festival and at the 32nd Annual Choreographer’s Showcase. We were even featured on WJLA Channel 8 TV! We are excited to perform at the Baltimore Dance Invitational this winter and to return to the Atlas Intersections Festival with the full work of creature this weekend, February 27 & 28th.
3. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your dance background? What is your day job?
I am very thrilled to have found a home with DEVIATED THEATRE and have been dancing with the company since 2013. Throughout my dance career I have had the fortune of performing with Next Reflex Dance Collective, Jane Franklin Dance, CrossCurrents Dance Company and the Virginia Repertory Dance Company, as well as performing as a guest artist with DancEthos and Kinetics Professional Dance Company.
In addition to my passion for dance, I am a physical therapist on the inpatient unit of Adventist HealthCare Physical Health and Rehabilitation. I earned my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore and my Bachelors of Art in Dance from James Madison University.
I love taking yoga at Beloved Yoga in Reston, paddle boarding on Lake Anne with Surf Reston, and I plan to learn how to golf this summer at Hidden Creek Country Club. I am a newlywed; my husband and I love spending time at Lake Anne and the Reston Town Center at all of the festivals, farmers markets and events.
4. How did you get involved with DEVIATED THEATRE?
I became interested in DEVIATED THEATRE after seeing a performance of their show siGHt and talking with friends I had in the company. I loved the choreography and the virtuosity of the dancers, but more importantly how moving and engaging the performance was. I started taking open company classes and it was a great fit! I began dancing with DEVIATED THEATRE in the winter of 2013.
5. How often do you rehearse with them? What else is required in your life to be a dancer? Do you have to follow a diet or fitness regimen?
DEVIATED THEATRE creates evening length performances that are engaging, exciting and VERY choreographically, physically and emotionally challenging. We rehearse 10-14 hours a week to refine our performances.
To supplement my dance training, I take yoga classes, paddle board and bike on the W&OD trail. As for a diet regimen, we love eating Skittles before shows and love going out for pizza, nachos and margaritas after a dance performance.
6. Could you describe your upcoming show creature? What is your role in the show?
creature is an exciting and exhilarating evening length spectacle that examines humanity’s roles as creatures and creators. It takes the audience on a journey to take a closer look at the effects that blind progress can have on the world, environment and ourselves.
I am an “exuberant oaf” with singular determination in an industrial landscape in the first half of the piece. In the post-apocolyptic world I am a “quadraped,” a skittish creature of natural origin that is both beautiful and shameful but brings hope of redemption and life to the splintered world.
Thanks, Dana, for introducing us to DEVIATED THEATRE and creature, and for the fascinating glimpse into a dancer’s life. And many thanks to Enoch and Kimmie Chan for the photos and video. I’ll close with Enoch’s video of a duet in creature, including some of the show’s beautiful aerial choreography:
DEVIATED THEATRE will perform creature, an original dance opera by Kimmie Dobbs Chan and Enoch Chan, this weekend in Washington, D.C. The work highlights humanity’s tension in the digital age, as both creature and creator on planet Earth. In creature, a young boy and a scientist take audiences from a mundane industrial landscape through exuberant visions, prophetic nightmares, and back again, exposing the cobwebs of the contemporary human psyche and our struggle to cope with a rapidly changing world.
Friday, Feb 27 at 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 28 at 4:30pm
Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
For ages 8+
Purchase tickets here.
Photography: Enoch Chan
Fashion costume design: Andy Christ
Headdress design: Kimmie Dobbs Chan