Choreographer, director, dancer and teacher, Erika Chong Shuch crosses over boundaries. She melds theater, dance, science, poetry, music, video and mechanics to formulate works of art that are multidisciplinary — in the truest sense of the word. Inspired by a wide range of subjects, from cannibalism to extraterrestrial intelligence, Shuch nevertheless puts the focus on the drama of human experiences.
A restless intellect, Shuch dropped out of high school in San Jose at age 17, yet still found her way into theater and dance at the University of California at Santa Cruz. After graduating, Shuch danced in Seattle and in Berlin with Alex B Company and Sommer Ulrickson (Wee Dance Company) before returning to California to earn an M.F.A. at San Francisco’s New College of California, where she also co-founded the multidisciplinary Experimental Performance Institute.
In 2002, she started her own company, the ESP Project, composed of a mix of artists that come from a wide variety of backgrounds. With works such as “Vis-à-Vis” and “All You Need,” Shuch quickly established herself as one of the Bay Area’s most interesting young performance artists. Her piece “ORBIT (notes from the edge of forever),” which was inspired by the research of her father, H. Paul Shuch, was nominated for a 2007 Izzie Award for visual design.
A resident company at Intersection for the Arts since 2004, the ESP Project developed “51802” through the Intersection for the Arts’ Prison Project, a year-long series of events and programs exploring the California prison system. “51802” examines our relationships to boundaries and confinement. Spark follows Shuch from the earliest stages of the creative process as she embarks on this work.