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Courtesan Café (Premiere)
As apart of the San Diego International Fringe Festival

An Addictive, Sexy, Flamboyant Story of Legacy and Lust. (Adults only, 18+)

July 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 at 6:30p.m.
$10 general admission, online
Purchase Below

Date: 6:30pm

Meet The Cast

kata pierce Kata Pierce-Morgan (Director) is a 65 year old award-winning poet, who began dancing at the age of 6 at the Wetzler School of Dance in Waukegan. She took a short hiatus at age 10-11, so that she could go out and play, and never looked back. Catholic-school educated, she spent as much time as she could with her Italian grandmother, who at 16, was quickly hired for the vaudeville stage. Her immigrant parents from Capo Basso nipped those dreams in the bud immediamente, yet the genetic disposition to dance the illicit dance was passed on to Kata. A UCLA graduate, Kata majored in Art History, did graduate work in special education and psychology, and later presented research on subcultural lifestyles at various medical conventions. Her writing landed in the Kinsey Institute and other unusual places around the world. Her dance poetry has been published in prestigious literary press throughout the US. For the last 12 years, she has expanded her artistic horizons as videographer for Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater. Through Isaacs, her SDDT Trolley Dances photography appeared in Dance Magazine. She has also worked with Butoh Master Diego Pinon, as his 2002-2005 manager in the US, Canada and Mexico, at which time she added cancer survivor to her table of contents. In La Femme Tragique, she has un-layered her paradoxical qualities through its characters, all aspects of her rebelliously, reverent personality and spirit.    

anne gehman Anne Gehman: Co-Founder: “youTurn Contemporary Arts Exhibition” BFA Dance Jacksonville University (2006) As a performer and choreographer, Anne Gehman, is most interested in the chance happenings, which may define/expose an individual's vulnerability during live performance. How do we as performers remain "human" to connect to the self and spectators, while still creating a world of entertainment full of escapism/imagination and playfulness? Throughout the past ten years of Anne’s career she has had the pleasure of working with artists; Christina Teague-Mann, Ana-Sanchez Colberg, Laura Greenhaulgh, Katrin Riedel, Cedric Andreux, Deb Meunier, Andrea Woods, Chris Elam, Blythe Barton, Maria Juan, Gina and Kyle Sorenson, John Malashock, Micheal Mizerany, Paz Tanjuaquio and Jean Isaacs. Anne has also worked with and guest performed for Jacksonville Ballet Theater FL, Fusionworks Dance Company Providence RI, Backlight Theater Group, Blythe Barton Dance Company and San Diego Dance Theater.


mary gyselbrecht Mary Gyselbrecht never dreamed that she would be dancing on the stage, much less in an adult entertainment theater. Mother of three grown sons, she lives with her husband in Kensington. A former nurse and teacher, she is perfectly qualified to portray the Socialite in tonight’s production of La Femme Tragique. With her very own wardrobe of signature ball gowns, she has Lady sewn all over her well-mannered nature, and provides the counterpoint to La Femme Tragique’s societal irreverence. Mary met Kata over a decade ago in a mainstream Women’s group, and neither knew the other’s ability to write well-crafted poetry or to take artistic risks. Mary first allowed Kata to direct her and their girlfriends in quirky videos she later set to music. Before she knew it, Mary was lured into the avant garde world of Butoh training, and found herself taking several workshops with Diego Pinon in 2011-12, a requirement Kata asked of her cast to prepare them for energetic connection with each other. When Kata presented an excerpt of La Femme Tragique in February for the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana, one actual socialite in the audience, recognizing Mary’s authenticity, remarked that stage novice Mary “made the show.”


Charlene Penner graduated with an MD from the University of Saskatchewan in 1976. Since then she has studied nutrition, local native plants and medicines, sound vibrational healing, many forms of energetic movement, Contact and Butoh Ritual Dance, and massage therapy. Her current ‘Art and Practice of Medicine’ is to heal through the awakening of consciousness using all these tools, teaching a diverse range of classes. For Charlene, health is a total living concept. "Our daily living habits of eating, sexuality, exercise, rest, posture, and chemical product usage are at the root of illness in America, along with the fractures of our spiritual, emotional, mental aspects. LFT exposes and explores one of these nightmares.    " My first years in San Diego, I lived in the now North City West Development in a homemade scrap-lumber and plastic lean-to, cooking on an open fire what I gathered from trash. I laughed how the big city could provide for me, and my mother described me as an opportunistic rat living in the gaps of American civilization. I pray for those gaps to expand and finally engulf this civilization. I pray that the American people can begin to find the awe and majesty in a simple communion with the land and each other rather than the ever increasing, isolating need for comfort and material, technological consumption. The cast of LFT coming together creatively is an example of a little gap expanding."

george willisGeorge Willis, MA, MFA, Professor Emeritus, SDSU School of Music and Dance, is a founder and past President of the Board of Directors of Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater. Mr. Willis has performed with the Charles Weidman Dance Theatre, San Diego Dance Theatre, San Diego Ballet, the Harry Partch Ensemble, Starlight, Fantasia Espanola (Flamenco), and 3’s Company & Dancers. He is a past President of the San Diego Dance Alliance, (SDDA). In 1998 he received the “Tommy Life Time Achievement Award” from SDDA. As past director of the San Diego State University Studio Theatre, he has presented over 500 concerts of student and professional dance. In 2007 he received the Outstanding Faculty Award in the Dance Division of the School of Music and Dance.


dawnPortraying the Tragic Angela, Dawn is a college student, majoring in Drama. Her theatrical background made her well-suited for the role of the ill-fated Angela. Gentle in spirit, she has been a joy to work with, while her bright observations and spot-on critique contributed to the collaborative intent of an ensemble cast. Through Kata, she began her study with Diego Pinon in August 2011.             








lizzyPortraying the Feathered Angela, Lizzy is a SDSU graduate, who danced her way through college . She currently balances an eight hour workday employment hitting the rush hour drive with the majority of San Diegans. Lizzy has contributed to the creation of La Femme Tragique with her astute artistic observations and critique. Through Kata, she began her study with Diego Pinon in August 2011.



Past Cast

Diego Piñón: Kata first met Diego Piñón in 1999, when Jean Isaacs asked this world-famous Butoh teacher/performer to teach during San Diego Dance Theater’s summer workshop, held at UCSD. Kata also met Charlene Penner, Sarah Jaffe and John Diaz in the Butoh workshop, which culminated in their performing together for the first time, under the guidance of Butoh Master Piñón. More than a decade later, Kata invited them to once again perform together in La Femme Tragique, with their former mentor offering “subtle suggestions” along the way, specifically in August and October 2011, and April and July of 2012. With a cast of experienced performers, Kata knew the importance of energetic training and connection to bring the characters to life and spirit in a way that supported her story of La Femme Tragique as a Butoh-inspired mix of Cabaret and Modern Dance.

Diego Piñón’s Butoh Ritual Mexicano is the distillation of his extensive research in body-based energy methodologies since 1975. BRM is primarily derived from Diego’s Mexican heritage with traditional energetic practices and Japanese butoh under the guidance of Kazuo Ohno, Yoshito Ohno, Min Tanaka, Natsu Nakajima, among others. Diego’s extensive artistic research includes modern dance technique, contemporary movement and theater practice, and therapeutic body modalities. He performs and teaches throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico using Butoh Ritual Mexicano as a means to transform personal and collective divisions through the dancing body and to cultivate a deeper connection to our shared humanity.

From his Website butohritualmexicano.com:
Since a child, Diego Piñón (1957) has been profoundly impacted by the indigenous dances and rituals of Mexico. But even so it was clear that he was not fully a part of this culture. From the small town and countryside of Tlalpujahua to the urban Metropolis of Mexico City he has been confronting the duality of his culture, his existence and his times. From this place emerged the impulse—the necessity—to find a new path of expression. From the beginning, the key to this path has been the relentless search for the essence of art, as the last refuge to our humanity.

john diazBeginning in 1979 a continuous yoga practice has lead John Diaz to studies in Alignment, Anatomy, Dance Pedagogy, Kinesiology, Ideokinesis, and a professional career in Dance starting in 1989. John has worked nationally and abroad in Europe and South America as a professional Dance performer, Choreographer and Educator. His encounters with differing cultural models of body attitudes, awareness, alignment, and the process of navigating in the world have led to understanding functions of inner imagery, its effects on the body, and the body's place in the world. This is his first performance with Golden Corpse Butoh ensemble. He has performed with City Ballet of San Diego, Helios Dance Theater, Loretta Livingstone and Dancers, San Diego Ballet, San Diego Dance Theater, San Diego Opera, and Wendy Rogers among others. John's hope is to facilitate the stability, adaptability, radiance, grace, and directness inherent in everyones clarification of existence through movement education and dance performance.      

minaqua mcpherson Minaqua McPherson graduated from UCSD with a dance major in 2007 and she is a performer, teacher, and choreographer. Her dance training prior to college spanned a variety of forms including Jazz, African, Ballet, and Tap but it was while at UCSD that she began to study the many forms of Modern dance. While still in college she joined the staff of San Diego Dance Theater as the office coordinator and shortly after college she went on to become a teacher for Jean Isaacs of San Diego Dance Theater. In 2008 she was invited into the company of dancers that comprises San Diego Dance Theater and made her debut at "Cabaret Dance" in 2009.  She currently works as a teacher in many communities choreographing for dancers spanning ages 5-65 years at various dance studios and schools throughout San Diego. As well as actively creating personal choreographed works that are set on local preprofessional and professional dancers. She has now had the pleasure of being introduced to the complexity of Butoh dance by Diego Pinon in May 2012 and looks forward to continuing developing a relationship with all that pertains to the art.