IDEAS Performance: Cetacea

MFA candidate Aurora Lagattuta performs her previous work, Inside the Whale.


Date: 2018-01-25
Time: 5-7pm
Location: Calit2 Theater, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Creators: Aurora Lagattuta, Maya VanderSchuit and Kevin Zhang


MFA candidate Aurora Lagattuta performs her earlier solo piece,
Inside the Whale

On January 25, 2018, a trio of UC San Diego graduate students in choreography, visual arts and music composition will present Cetacea, a new work premiering as part of the Qualcomm Institute's Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) performing-arts series during the 2017-2018 season. The performance is scheduled for 5-7pm in the Calit2 Theater at Atkinson Hall on the UC San Diego campus 

Cetacea (pronounced se-tay-shuh) is a sonic and video installation dance performance that contemplates oceanic time-scapes. This new work elaborates on choreographer and dancer Aurora Lagattuta's prior solo, Inside the Whale. Cetacea further develops movement as well as sound and video research on the temporal experience of cetaceans (primarily whales, dolphins and porpoises).

This multimedia performance communicates with and through virtual as well as material presences in a performance ecology that integrates fragments of reality, virtuality and imagination. Cetacea aims to transport the audience into reflexive states around how audience members experience time and underwater landscapes.  

The performance is a collaboration among choreographer Lagattuta, visual artist and projectionist Maya VanderSchuit, and composer Kevin Zhang. Lagattuta is an MFA Dance candidate who toured her previous work, Inside the Whale, across Europe. Her collaborators are also UC San Diego graduate students: Maya VanderSchuit is an MFA Visual Arts candidate in editing and video design, and Kevin Zhang is a Ph.D. student in Music with an emphasis on composition.

“Access to the Qualcomm Institute’s advanced audio-visual facilities provides an ideal environment to stage this new work,” explained Lagatutta. She is also no stranger to the Qualcomm Institute IDEAS series: Lagattuta performed in Yolande Snaith’s Measuring the Dream during the IDEAS 2016-2017 season.


Choreographer and dancer Aurora Lagattuta is a second-year MFA candidate in Contemporary Dance Making and Performance at UC San Diego, where she received the prestigious San Diego Fellowship. She was also awarded the Best Multi-Media Solo Award for her performance of Inside the Whale at the United Solo Festival on Broadway in New York City.  In addition to Inside the Whale, Lagattuta also recently collaborated on a video-and-dance installation, Benthic Light, that premiered at UC San Diego’s Visual Arts Common Gallery last March.  

Maya VanderSchuit is an MFA Visual Arts candidate in editing and video design at UC San Diego in the Visual Arts department. She received her B.A.from the University of San Diego (USD) with a double major in Visual Arts and Art History. VanderSchuit has exhibited her work at USD’s Visual Arts Gallery, San Diego Art Institute, and IKO Studios in Los Angeles. Her work has been awarded the SURE Grant and AS Grant. VanderSchuit’s recent work uses the surfaces of digital video projections and iridescent materials to explore the body’s ontological relationship to real and virtual spaces. The time-based installations juxtapose the real and the virtual by extending screen space into actual space.

Kevin Zhang received his undergraduate degree in music at the New England Conservatory of Music, an MFA in Music from UC Irvine, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Music at UC San Diego with an emphasis on composition.  Zhang is also an Instructor for the Music Department at UC San Diego. 


For more information on the IDEAS Performing Arts Series, visit the IDEAS website.