DANCE On the opening night of its eighth year, the three-weekend "Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now" deserved its name. The quality of the choreography and the confident performances more than confirmed that BCF is a celebration of excellent contemporary African American choreography. Four out of the five works starred as fine world premieres by local artists. They were stylistically about as diverse as you would want, but this was an evening to rejoice. The Feb. 10 audience at Oakland's Laney College more than agreed.Read more »
The evening's "Precious Drop" dance performance at CounterPulse on Saturday, February 4 was centered around the theme of water -- which is becoming a controversial topic as issues of water rights become more muddled. Most of the dances, performed by Mohamed Lamine Bangoura, the Jaara Dance Project, and Bu Falle African Drum and Dance, focused on celebrating Mami Wata and her fickle ability to pour down from the sky to provide precious drops of life. The choreography onstage mixed traditional and modern moves, performed by talented dancers from across the globe whose smiles filled the space with a joy that you could feel, even sitting in the audience. Read more »
DANCE Randee Paufve's voice is quiet. But once you have heard her speak through her dances, you are unlikely to forget the strength of what she has to say. Her craft is impressive, her topics are many-layered, and the resulting choreography is pared down to its essence. Sometimes, I have even wished for a little more looseness just so I could catch my breath.Read more »
This weekend Paufve Dance is winding its way through all the rooms at Dance Mission Theater, making the audience follow, as it performs So I Married Abraham Lincoln. There are only three performances left for the production, so snag those tickets quick before this little gem passes you by. Read more »
FILM/DANCE Watching Pina Bausch's choreography on film should not have been as absorbing and deeply affecting of an experience as it was. Dance on film tends to disappoint — the camera flattens the body and distorts perspective, and you either see too many or not enough details. Avatar (2009) certainly didn't convince me that 3D was the answer.Read more »
After eleven weeks of creating, fine-tuning, and probably lots of serious sweating, six emerging choreographers presented their work this weekend at ODC for Pilot 59 that showed an eager, sold-out audience what they've got. It turns out, that entails quite a bit -- the diversity in dancers and themes was striking. Two pieces especially caught my eye.
One reason I love dance so much is the transcendence I feel when I watch really powerful dance. It is the feeling that somehow the bodies onstage have moved beyond being simple dancers on an elevated platform and are instead communicators of something that can’t be written or painted, but can only be communicated through the medium of physical movement. When I have this feeling I know I will once again be swept up in dance and cry or laugh or simply feel my soul reverberate.
Consider, if you will, the prosaic class issues in the green movement. The price of BART vs. driving, the utility of feeding one's children McDonald's after one's shift is order so you can play with them outside the kichen, the inconvinient truth of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Now add race, and stir.
Dancer-community activist-poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph did. The result was the Life is Living festival, which he stages in underserved 'hoods throughout the country (and took place in West Oakland Oct. 8). The festival's amazing, but its creation was a journey -- which Bamuthi has brilliantly set to stage with dancing and singing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through Sat/22. It's called red, black & GREEN: a bluesRead more »