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#143 Merging the Horrific with the Beautiful: A Conversation with Performance Artist Anna Yanushkevich


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Photo by Mike OehlI often say I like to use this podcast to discuss horror in art, history, literature, film, and beyond. Film tends to hog the limelight there, but today I get to talk art. Specifically, dance and performance art. Russian-born Anna Yanushkevich has been performing her curious acts in San Diego for at least as long as I've lived here. They mix dark and sometimes disturbing imagery with the beautiful fluidity of classical ballet, aerial art, and other kinds of abstract or interpretive dance.

It's not often you can hear a horror fan say, "I'm going to check out this interpretive dance piece," but I hope acts like Anna's can help open people's minds to different forms of expression. That's one of the things I wanted to talk to her about. Anna Yanushkevich is not afraid of going to some very dark places in her work, and the result is that it can be even more effective than the scariest horror film. Her latest show was San Diego's first Black Mass, which was held back in June. People feel genuine discomfort at this and a lot of her other work, which is why I find it so important. Sadly, she is moving away from San Diego to terrorize the arts community of Northern California, so I knew I had to get her on the podcast before she left. Dammit.

Anna and I ask discuss:

1. Leaving San Diego

2. Who is Anna and what does she do?

3. The genesis of Anna's art

4. Merging horrific imagery with beauty

5. The importance of classic training

6. The process of choreography

7. Working with the neo-burlesque troupe Pink Boombox

8. Staging San Diego's first (and last?) Black Mass

fire dance

Listen to the episode: