Rousseve's Reality

UCLA's dance diva brings his own brand of Stardust to College Park

As a child growing up in Houston, David Rousseve had dreams of being a Broadway triple-threat performer — singer, dancer and actor. Surprisingly, that was his principal motivation when choosing college too.

“Honestly, I’d never heard of Princeton when I got in,” Rousseve says, laughing at the memory. “But I looked at a map and saw, well, New Jersey is next to New York. I can commute to New York and become a Broadway diva. That was my goal in life.”

David Rousseve: Reality Stardust

David Rousseve: Reality Stardust

(Photo by Valerie Oliveiro)

Broadway quickly lost its luster for Rousseve, who gravitated to studying modern dance at Princeton — along with political science and African studies — all while further engaging in the experimental theater and dance communities in New York.

These days Rousseve lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, when not creating dance theater pieces with his 10-member company Reality. Next weekend the Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland presents the world premiere of Stardust. He choreographed, wrote and directed this piece exploring the broad concept of “the evolving nature of intimacy and technology. … What it means to have relationships without a whole lot of human contact.”

Rousseve’s multimedia piece incorporates dance, screen designs, music from classic jazz to original contemporary hip-hop, and projected video and images — specifically, tweets and texts that come from a poor, African-American gay adolescent, partly modeled on himself. “It’s a projection to my own adolescence.”

David Rousseve/Reality perform Stardust Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. ‘Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Ina and Jack Kay Theatre, University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park. Tickets are $35. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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