Dina Emerson, native of Santa Barbara, CA, lived & worked in NYC from 1988-2000, and moved to the SF bay area in 2002. Since age 16, when she first heard the recordings of Meredith Monk, Robert Ashley and other cross-disciplinary artists, Dina has avidly pursued to integrate the separate media into performances that is are at once installation, concert and theatrical event.
Originally trained in theater, Dina began her serious study and exploration of voice after graduating from Bennington College in 1988 and moving to Brooklyn. She subsequently became a fixture in the New Music and Interdisciplinary Performance world of New York, joining the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble in 1990 and remaining a member until the present. With Meredith Monk and others, Dina has toured The US, Europe and Asia and performed at the SF Symphony, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Theatre de l'Odeon in Paris and many other venues.
In addition to Meredith Monk, other artists with whom Dina has worked include Tan Dun (2 world premieres), Gary Lucas, John Kelly, Nam Jun Paik, Ken Butler, David Soldier with Komar & Melamid, Jonathan Segel, Miya Masaoka, Nicholas Brooke, Lance Grabmiller and various New York theater companies including Tiny Mythic Theatre Company, Cucaracha Theatre and The Talking Band.
In 2000, Dina was invited to replace the lead singer temporarily in the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil production, "O," at Bellagio in Las Vegas. This position was extended into a full-time contract when Dina moved to Cirque's other resident Las Vegas show, "Mystère". Dina stayed with Cirque du Soleil until January, 2002, continuing to return as a sub for them until permantly rejoining the company in 2007, currently performing in Mystère.
Concurrent with her work with other artists, Dina Emerson has created a body of original pieces that spans from 1992-1999 (in 2000, performing with Cirque du Soleil eclipsed the possibility of creating new works for the time being; research and development has again commenced since moving back to California). Venues at which she was presented include PS 122, HERE, The Knitting Factory, Cucaracha Theatre, The Kitchen, and Thread Waxing Space.
Combining voice, text, electronics, physical theater and specifically chosen physical objects/materials, these works defy categorization. They could be monologues with extended vocal techniques and songs, or collages of images, sounds and movement, or an installation that is built as a function of the performance. There has been a definite progression from exploring more electronic techniques (digital delay & looping, for example) to ultimately letting those technical aspects fall away in favor of a much more "handmade" emphasis on the voice itself and the materials that make up the performance/installation.
|Sirens, in NYC circa 1990|
Dina Emerson, Jonathan Kane & Chris Cunningham
- Negativland "Escape From Noise" Wordless Vocals "You Don't Even Live Here"
- Joined the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble
- World premiere of "Atlas - An Opera in 3 Parts" by Meredith Monk
- Touring & CD recording, "Atlas"
- Collaboration begins with Ken Butler, instrument-maker & installation artist
- Artist Residency, Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida
- Created "Oblivion - NOT," first full-length solo performance, based on the lives of Dina's 2 grandmothers
- Solo appearances throughout New York
- "Three Heavens & Hells," by Meredith Monk (concert tours, CD recording)
- World Premiere, Tan Dun's "The Pink," Hong Kong
- Collaboration begins with Will Pomerantz, director/choreographer/designer
- Creation of solo version of Goethe's "Faust"
- "American Archeology," site-specific performance by Meredith Monk (Roosevelt Island, NYC)
- "A Celebration Service," inter-denominational worship event created by Meredith Monk (US Tour)
- Solo appearances, concert tours
- "Facing North" by Meredith Monk, tour courtesy of Lincoln Center Institute
- Collaboration with Tony Boutte
- Creation of "Eloquent Gestures" chamber opera, exploring the relationship between D.W. Griffith & Lillian Gish
- "Insect & Anxious Objects" opera/installation created with Ken Butler (The Kitchen, NYC)
- World Premiere of "Attractions Etranges," original score by Tan Dun (Paris & NYC)
- "The Politics of Quiet," by Meredith Monk (BAM, Festivale d'Avignon)
- "Naked Revolution," an opera by David Soldier with Komar & Melamid (The Kitchen)
- "The Most Unwanted Music," CD recording & performance, concept by Komar & Melamid, music by David Soldier, vocal creation by Dina Emerson
- "Find my Way Home," John Kelly (US Tour)
- "Black Milk Quartet", 4 chamber operas for ensemble, The Talking Band (LaMama ETC, NY)
- To Seoul, Korea for full-time voice & theater teaching position (Korean National University of the Arts)
- KUNST=KAPITAL, Created by Dina Emerson with students from KNUA
- Utopia Parkway, developed as solo at KNUA, expanded to 3 performers (HERE, NY)
- A Celebration Service, Meredith Monk (East Coast USA Tour)
- A Celebration Service, Meredith Monk (St. Mark's Church, NY)
- "Black Milk Quartet", return engagement (Ohio Theater, NY)
- Cirque du Soleil's "O" & "Mystère" until 2002
- "Di Nostra Vita", puppet opera by Randall Wong (Z Space, SF)
- SF Bay Area: solo performance, 509 Cultural Center, ACME Observatory
- Collaborations & Other Appearances: 26 Mix, JZitt's Voicewave, J Segel MFA Concert
- Sound/Shift Oakland, Metal Quan Yin, Abstractions CD/concerts, Heavy Gorilla
- "Quarry," opera by Meredith Monk, Spoleto USA
- Cirque du Soleil's "Mystère"
- "Tone Test" by Nick Brooke at American Opera Projects
- Miya Masaoka's "As I Was Walking, I Heard a Sound," world premiere: YB Center for the Arts
- "Tone Test" performances at Lincoln Center Festival
- Chaos Butterfly formation, concerts and CD Recording
- Cirque du Soleil's "O" & "Mystère"
- Chaos Butterfly European Performances
- Deborah Slater Dance Theatre, ODC (composer and performer)
2007 - Present
- Cirque du Soleil's "Mystère"