Patricia Bulitt

Interdisciplinary Artist 
Teaching Artist
                               Site Specific Performances
Patricia Bulitt is an interdisciplinary artist and solo dancer, invited to make performances, events, and exhibitions celebrating place, imagination, and memory in U.S, Japan, and New Zealand. 

Often her in-depth process can include not only visiting the site over a lengthy time period, but engaging visitors through interviews, researching the human and natural history of the place, and composing a prose poem for performance.  Often collaborations with musicans  and visual artists resound a celebration of place.

Rather than always making a dance  in the studio for the location, Patricia generates movement at the site to discover a " vocabulary of place," whenever possible. Such as with making dances in the waters of creeks, located in Berkeley, California or with making "Under The Wing," a dance honoring birds of Lake Merritt, Oakland, California, or the traditional Japanese garden in Tsuwano, Japan.

Watershed Poetry Festival, Berkeley, CA
From The Cloud Maiden Dance

   The Cloud Maiden Project 
Annual Watershed Poetry Festival in Berkeley, CA

As a site specific performance originally commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a tree on the grounds of the museum,  Patricia reset this dance to honor a triangle of trees in Berkeley's Civic Center Park.

Performed to Burmese Harp and Vocal Music collected by Rick Heizman.

Original poem by Patricia Bulitt
Costume: Patricia Bulitt

From The Cloud Maiden, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
 As The Cloud Maiden poem tells of a knot in her hair ribbon, knotting all the enchanted forests in the world together; she dances to Burmese Harp and vocal music.

Surrounding the site, fabric pieces rest on the ground around the trees.   When at the conclusion, audience is invited to knot the fabric and perform a walking dance for peace.   All are led by The Cloud Maiden, remembering trees in their own environment or memory.

Optionally, audience draws pictures of a tree, sharing with another a tale of that tree and finally, exchanging drawings, building community of enchantment.
From:  A Dance For Contemplation With A Blackbird,
Joquin Miller Park, Oakland, California

For Joquin Miller Park Day
Included long strip of white butcher paper with bird seed and a black bird.
Combination of improvisational movement and set choreography for the site.

From Four Postcards
Lake Merritt, Oakland, California

Four sites were selected as audience and musician walked around the lake, which is America's oldest bird refuge.  At each site, Patricia Bulitt performed a specific dance movement piece illustrating its diversity. Combinations of improvisational and set choreography always compose her dance.

At the final site, audience were given reprints of old postcards collected  from the History Room of the Oakland Public Library.  Audience wrote new postcards about the performance given that afternoon at the lake.

Photo: Michael Rossney
                               From:   Four Postcards
A Calligraphic Dance in traditional garden of Tsuwano, Japan

As part of her artistic residency, this  improvisational dance, given in the summer's heat, as a gift to Tsuwano, included a professional calligrapher brushing her response to Patricia's movement.
The loud sound of a passing train, the afternoon cicadas' song, and the silence of the heat composed the accompaniment for this dance.

Resident dancer and calligrapher, Sachie

brushed her response to the dance given in the garden, Tsuwano, Japan.
From: Culvert Action, II, in Strawberry Creek, Berkeley, CA.
In 1989, in association with Urban Creeks Council, Patricia began making site specific performances in the waters of East Bay creeks in Berkeley, California.  First researching the natural history of the site, and making long visits by the creek to explore and develop a movement vocabulary, slowly, a choreographic pattern begins.  Her first " creek dance", in/ walking/ a/ creek, in Codornices Creek was followed by Culvert Action I,  Strawberry Creek.  Beginning the dance, she comes through the cement culvert, expressing the grief and shape of the creek once under ground.  Now flowing in sunlight, gathering moonlight in an intangible beauty as a
a celebration of water.

Trout were placed in the pathway of the creek because once as a lively and healthy waterway,Trout thrived in the waterways of Berkeley.

Culvert Action II, repeated the following year in Strawberry Creek.

Questions circle in this work:  Can a dancer discover a dance that belongs in that landscape?  What is this dance to this landscape and what is this landscape to this dancer?  Audience sits on the banks of the creek as a conversation between the dancer, the dance, and the landscape form the shape of this moment.   

Creek Dancer:  A slide show of the restoration of Strawberry Creek and its historical photographs brings the audience into discovery and renewal of this urban landscape where once this creek was under a railroad track.

Then,  the sound of water: Missing.

Photograph by Catherine Allport.  Slides for showing  provided by Wolf, Mason and Associates, Berkeley.
"Culvert Action II" in Strawberry Creek, Berkeley, California
Following her Choreography Fellowship from National Endowment for the Arts on the theme of "water,", making site specific dances at local creeks took shape.

"Culvert Action I and II"
in Strawberry Creek began with studying the human and natural history of the site, making a score for the dance included visual art at the site and accompanying solo musician, Gwen Jones.

The audience sat on the banks of the creek for the dance performance. 

Embellishing the pathway of the dance included finding trout in the waters, and clay, commemorating the revealing and burying of species, such as the health of the once thriving watershed for fish life in Berkeley.   Clay on the dancer reflected the burying  water under cement--now "daylighted" in restoration of creeks. 

Visit Urban Creeks Council website in Berkeley, California. 

Photography by Catherine Allport.

is title for exhibition in City of Berkeley's Addison Window Gallery, featuring photographs, objects, writing, paper dresses from the dances in creeks and storytelling tea parties  from which these photographs once pinned onto scrolls of fabric hanging in the windows, along Berkeley's Art District in Downtown.
Below:  From culvert action II, in Strawberry Creek performance. Photo: Catherine Allport
Below:  From In/Walking/A/Creek: Solo Dance in Codornices Creek, Berkeley, CA. Photo: Gary Sinick
From "There's A Tree Whistling It's Message Through The Kettle:" Women And  Girls Tea Party And Storytelling Ceremony, creekside in Codornices Park, Berkeley, CA, annually for 14 years

"Fishhead Women" serving tea, danced in the Grove of Telling,, constructed by Susan Nininger.
A partial list of site specific performances includes:

-In Codornices Creek, Berkeley, CA
-In Strawberry Creek, Berkeley, CA
-On ANZAC Bridge, Mt Bruce, New Zealand
-In the acorn grove at Dorland Mt Arts Colony, Temecula, CA
-For a tree at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
-In the traditional Chinese Garden, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA
-In the traditional Japanese Garden, Tsuwano, Japan
-For a tree in Joquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA
-For birds at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA
-For birds at Pukaha Mt Bruce, endangered bird sanctuary, New Zealand
-For drying marshland, Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, CA
-For Tilden Nature Center, Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA
-For trees in Civic Center Park, Watershed Poetry Festival, Berkeley, CA
-For tree stump in Outdoor Dance Project, Emeryville, CA
-For Egrets at Audubon Canyon Ranch, Stinson Beach, CA
-For burnt tree at Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna, Florida
-For "Art in Public Places," Walnut Creek, CA
-For Watershed Poetry Festival, Tree and Creek, Berkeley, CA
-For War-Torn buildings, Unalaska ( Dutch Harbor), Alaska
-For Headlands Center for the Arts, Golden Gate Recreation Area
-For Burnt Tree, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna, FLorida
-For Pt. Reyes Station, Pt Reyes, CA, Storytelling Tea Party


A Very Special Tea Party!

"There's A Tree Whistling Its Message Through The Kettle: A Women's and Girls' Tea Party and Storytelling Ceremony, presented in Berkeley's Codornices Park for 14 years, and at Pt Reyes Station's Dance Palace in association with Gallery Route One, this site specific event presented original prose and poetry, songs, choreography, costume, and visual art by Patricia Bulitt.  Each guest  ( 125 guests) brought a story to share with another, of a woman who influenced her life.

Exhibition:  Tea/ Creek Dancer, presented by the City of Berkeley Civic Arts, in the Addison Window Gallery, included photographs of Patricia's dances in the waters of Berkeley's creeks, historic watershed maps, along with her companion watershed project of the storytelling tea party.  Illustrated with photographs, paper dresses, and objects from the storytelling tea party, the finale event closed Addison Street in the heart of the Art District for the procession and dancers in Fish Head masks ( by Susan Nininger), in the month of June as voices of singer, Rhiannon created a new work, and guests exchanged tales of wonder to inspire.


Adapted for men and women and children in a shelter for homeless at Harrison House in Berkeley. Residents were engaged in a series of art making, and storytelling workshops with Patricia, culminating in the tea party event at the shelter.

All guests brought their own teacups, and a story to share of a woman who influenced her life, spoken all at once.

 Bring the storytelling tea party to your community event, school, private party!
From: The Cartographer's Whisper Project
 Section from My Landscape Journal, a 25 foot long scroll, constructed with paper, buttons, fabric, photographs, ink, ribbon for
 The Nature Center at Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, California.
As a Guest Artist in Residence at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, California, The Cartographer's Whisper, a solo dance, honoring the drying marshland took place on a boardwalk above the marsh.  Audience and live musicians were 100 feet away across the drying marsh. 

As part of the residency, My Landscape Journal documented the experience at Coyote Hills Regional Park. As a 25 foot long scroll hanging in the Nature Center, viewers were invited to understand the choreographer's process with making the dance informed by long walks and conversations with the resident naturalists.  My Landscape Journal is fabric, photographs, words, paper, ribbon, and ink.
FromThe Cartographer's Whisper, Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, CA.

Pictured from The Cartographer's Whisper at Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, California
The dance for the drying marshland, performed on the boardwalk included original text written by Patricia Bulitt
and sung by Kimberly Miller. 
From:  Two Sunsets, ANZAC Bridge, Mt Bruce, New Zealand, performed for ANZAC Day.

Honoring those women and men who gave their lives in the ANZAC battle, the chair, carried the spirits of memory in the dance.  Prior to the dance, community members placed flowers on the bridge, soldiers and children stood in remembrance.

As a community project, The Peace Fence, envisioned by Patricia to interview members of the community.  Each was asked to write onto a cotton strip of fabric about peace.  Each piece was tied onto the fence leading to the ANZAC bridge for the event.