DanceWright Project and special guests

A sense for craft, a lack of pretense, and a love for ballet
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PREVIEW "Jamie Ray Wright came to dance later than most," the choreographer and artistic director of the DanceWright Project says of himself — an understatement if there ever was one. At Stanford, Wright was a pop musician who then embarked on a career in marketing. For 20 years he watched dance from the audience's perspective but finally "could stand it no longer" and started to study ballet 24/7, three hours a day. No, he didn't become even a second-rate Barishnikov — but he did become a choreographer whose work has been floating around the Bay Area for the last half dozen years or so, most prominently at the Black Choreographers Festival. Neither are his dancers virtuosi. But what he and they have in common is a sense for craft, a lack of pretense, and a love for ballet that enlivens every turn, every gesture and every encounter. In addition to pieces from the rep, the evening will feature a world premiere, Bella Donna, performed to the live playing by jazz guitarist Chris Tozzi. This is the DanceWright's first self-produced evening, and it has invited some other "newcomers" to share the program. Enrico Labayen, who used to be very active in the Bay Area a decade ago, is resurrecting his Labayen Dance/SF; Kat Worthington, a dancer with Wright, is introducing her own group; and the locally little-known Dac Pac, a youth company from Santa Clara.

DANCEWRIGHT PROJECT AND SPECIAL GUESTS Fri/18–Sat/19, 8 p.m., $15–$18, Dance Mission, 3316 24th St., SF, (415) 826-4441, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/76954

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