The resulting production is a winner, no matter what a jury may decide.
UNDER THE RADAR
Last week Jess Curtis/Gravity's Under the Radar slipped into San Francisco from Berlin for a smooth and gentle (except when it didn't want to be) landing on the CounterPULSE stage. It's a decidedly unsentimental and altogether moving night of dance theater that is, despite the name of the company, anything but heavy.
Two years in the making, this cabaret-style movement-based exploration of virtuosity and disability or the mental limits we set for one another and ourselves features an international seven-member ensemble. It's composed of dancer-singer-musician-performers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and (in the case of the Chico-born, longtime Bay Areabased Curtis) the United States. Under the Radar's winning chemistry includes casual, puckish humor (the performers, who variously play instruments as a band or climb into harnesses for aerial solos or duets, watch each other perform with admiring and catty commentary that is surely meant to prod stultified consciences). The evening's almost nonchalant quality belies its technical rigor, striking eclecticism, and inspired invention.
Axis and other dance companies have long made integrated work (for disabled and other performers) a staple of the Bay Area dance scene, and the addition of circus and cabaret elements is not in itself new either. But Under the Radar's highly theatrical amalgam is nonetheless freshly inventive, fun, and lovely to behold. What willingly comes down to earth can rebound to heavenly heights. *
JESUS HOPPED THE "A" TRAIN
Through April 21
Wed.Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; $18$60
533 Sutter, SF
UNDER THE RADAR
Through April 1
Wed.Sun., 8 p.m., $18$30
1310 Mission, SF