Dance Vinnicombe_cover

Published on August 1st, 2013 | by Setsu Uzume


Exploring Relationships at the Intersection of Film and Dance

Deconstructing the Surrogate

Bryce Vinnicombe Winkler and Harold Burns. Photo by Josh Nece.

When I was a kid I thought that falling in love meant floating on air like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Now, in my late twenties, I have a much more complex vision of love and relationships. Deconstructing the Surrogate, a multimedia dance performance, sums up that complexity with over a thousand layers of audio track, a chaotic projection of color and silhouette worthy of Burroughs’ dreamachine, and dance. Through this performance, husband and wife Daniel James and Bryce Vinnicombe Winkler give us a writhing meditation on the interdependence of human relationships.

The piece came from a series of discussions about how our relationships can be distorted or stained by other relationships.

“The choreography explores both the beautiful and grotesque in an intimate duet, beneath a blanket of film and music,” Winkler said.

Deconstructing the Surrogate

Photo by Lynn Fried

She went on to say that the way we interact with our family can inform the relationships that come after. The fragility of these relationships can be a corruptive influence when there is an imbalance, and Deconstructing the Surrogate translates those concepts into physical expression. Even the costuming, which is sex-specific, draws a line of binary opposition rather than perceived gender roles.

“Though that, too, is an element of the performance,” Winkler said.

Together, Winkler and James are exploring new artistic territory, giving choreographers the time and space to really let loose.

Deconstructing the Surrogate

Photo by Lynn Fried

“This is the first time my husband and I have aligned our visions in a collaborative effort to create a multimedia production,” Winkler said. “We worked side-by-side on this project to create an inseparable interplay of music, film and dance to which the audience can have a completely immersive experience. The richly layered 40 minutes of original music corresponds to a colorful and frenetic film, which encompasses the stage and dancers, creating an intimate world for the audience to voyeur into.”

A deeply personal performance, Deconstructing the Surrogate is a tribute to the vulnerability and rawness of true connection – and the bravery it takes to face it.

On August 17 and 18, Deconstructing the Surrogate will be showing at the sixth annual Summer Performance Festival at the ODC Theater in San Francisco. To purchase tickets online, visit, or call the box office at 415-863-9834. Box office is open Monday through Friday from 12-3pm.

About the Author

Shot from New York like a bat out of hell, Setsu is a writer and collector of stories. She recently graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Chinese Language & Literature. Her coursework included a stint at a monastery in rural China, where she studied swordplay and Daoist philosophy. Setsu is a co-founder of writing groups in Seattle and San Francisco, where new writers can take their first steps toward publication. She has dabbled in many arts, but only martial arts and writing seem to have stuck. Visit her blog at

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