Dance

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival

Sorry, but the village square has gone the way of stoop sitting
|
(0)

PREVIEW World premieres are not what you expect in traditional, culturally specific dance. But the myth of the unyielding art form passed from generation to generation dies hard, perhaps because there is comfort in believing that "some things don't change." Sorry, but the village square has gone the way of stoop sitting. So-called ethnic dance started to change the minute it moved from the grange to the stage. Read more »

Stephen Pelton Dance Theater

Violence looks lyrical and tenderness totters at the edge of the abyss
|
(0)

PREVIEW Stephen Pelton's full-bodied and thoughtfully structured choreography fits his dancers like second skins. It's one of the most appealing aspects of the work from this longtime San Francisco artist who now spends half of his time in London. Another of his gifts is choosing music — whether it's Radiohead, Schubert, or Edith Piaf — that supports his purposes ever so smoothly. Often drawing inspiration from literary sources, Pelton is a storyteller in the manner of poets who suggest, evoke, and analogize — but don't spell out. Read more »

Dionysian Festival

Reanimating Isadora, Mary Sano packs 'em in
|
(0)

PREVIEW Mary Sano may have a small performance space, but she sure packs them in. The Tokyo-born Sano is a disciple — so to speak— of Isadora Duncan, one of the most influential yet most underperformed women dance pioneers from the dawn of modern dance. Sano regularly puts on mixed programs in which she and her dancers bring to life Duncan's repertoire. The 11th Dionysian Festival presents Sano and her five dancers — one flying in from Tokyo — in selections from Duncan's Brahms Waltzes, Op.39 (1905). Read more »

Body eclectic

He is Miguel Gutierrez -- and he will challenge you
|
(0)

When Miguel Gutierrez left the Joe Goode Company in 1996, he was a hot dancer. He returned to the Bay Area a mature artist. In Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies, part of ODC Theater's recent "For the Record: Dancers Debate the Body Politic" at Project Artaud Theater, Gutierrez worked at breaking down the invisible divide between performer and audience. Granted, this idea has been tried before — but few have taken it as far, or developed it as consistently, as Gutierrez has done. Read more »

Focus on the future

San Francisco Ballet School and School of the Arts showcases students
|
(0)

PREVIEW San Francisco Ballet just finished its 75th season with a buzz-creating festival of world premieres. But SFB hasn't gone dormant. This week the focus shifts to the next generation of dancers: San Francisco Ballet School students who hope to take on the daunting task of defying gravity and having their bodies express the contents of their souls.

At the SFB School's Student Showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the audience can experience the stages of a dancer's progress. Read more »

Dandelion Dancetheater

Physically integrated dance in an exuberant program
|
(0)

PREVIEW The San Francisco Ballet closes its season this week, but Bay Area dance keeps pulsing. Across town in the Mission's modest CELLspace, Dandelion Dancetheater is starting its own rather remarkable program of new dance. The two-week run — which heads to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the third week — features the company's own performers plus guest artists from Montreal and Madrid. Read more »

Classical, remixed

Locals innovate at the San Francisco Ballet's New Works Festival
|
(0)

Ten world premieres in three days is a huge deal, even for a troupe as accomplished as the San Francisco Ballet. Even so, it was disappointing that the choreographic choices for the New Works Festivalthe culmination of a season-long celebration of SFB's 75th anniversary — were, for the most part, so extraordinarily conservative. Artistic director Helgi Tomasson has been far more adventurous in the past in challenging audiences and dancers alike. Despite these limitations, the performances were a festive end to an important company milestone. Read more »

Sara Shelton Mann

Examining the relationship between the body dancing and the body politic
|
(0)

PREVIEW Only a few seasons into a more extensive performance schedule, ODC Theater began an extensive remodeling of its well-appointed building on 17th Street at Shotwell — and found itself without a space to showcase its work. What to do? Artistic director Rob Bailis seized the opportunity to move a few blocks up the street to the much beloved but lately much neglected Theater Artaud. For the rest of the year, ODC Theater plans to take advantage of the cavernous space, decent technical equipment, and stadium seating with a series of mini-festivals. Read more »

Bay Area National Dance Week

Ten days of dance madness
|
(0)

PREVIEW Can dance save the world? Those of us who are hooked on it like to think so. At the very least, it makes you feel more alive as a human being. But in the cultural pecking order, dance often gets the short stick: you can't buy or own it, hang it on a wall, or sell thousands of DVDs of it. You pretty much have to depend on bootlegs or YouTube to get your fix. Maybe that's why such fervor surrounds Bay Area National Dance Week and its 10 days of dance madness. Read more »

CubaCaribe Festival

Dancing the diaspora
|
(0)

PREVIEW The CubaCaribe Festival, now in its fourth incarnation, is a three-week celebration of the African diaspora, as manifested in this country, Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. (Conceivably, as we continue to learn how widespread and diverse African influences are, the festival might well grow to include dance and music from Peru.) Like many other culturally based dance forms, these diverse African influences of the diaspora grow from pockets that develop around specific newcomers to the fertile Bay Area, who bring the seeds of knowledge with them. Read more »