Krissy Keefer of Dance Brigade celebrates 35 years of rabble-rousing and dance-making
Keefer also takes her social activism outside the theater. In 2000, when she felt that the criteria for acceptance to the San Francisco Ballet School were unjustifiable — based on the experiences of her daughter, eight years old at the time — she complained loud and clear. It started discussions about the female dancer's body at the time when academics had barely touched the subject. In 2006, she was so furious about the country's priorities that she ran for Congress. Of course, she knew that she wouldn't win — but she wanted to take a stand. Even her parents encouraged her to do so. "I can't believe that I ran against Nancy Pelosi when she was poised to become Speaker of the House," she laughs today.
Meditation has helped Keefer step away from anger, what she called her "habitual response" to injustice. The resolve was shaken, however, this past summer, when — coming back from a successful East Coast and Caribbean tour with Liberation — all the costumes (transported via Greyhound, the only shipping the company could afford) were stolen. "What can you do?" she shrugs. This Mother Courage of dance will just put her shoulder to the wheel a little harder.
"FROM WALLFLOWER ORDER TO DANCE BRIGADE: A 35-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE CELEBRATION"
Fri/18-Sat/19, 8 p.m.; Sun/20, 2 p.m., free
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
700 Howard, SF www.dancebrigade.org
"MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS:" LOCAL ARTS LUMINARIES TOAST DANCE BRIGADE
DANCE From Brady Street to Dance Mission and beyond, Krissy [Keefer] has been one of the true champions of our dance community, in no small part due to her own artistry. The spirit of her work is visually and musically rich, fundamentally diverse, and deeply committed to social relevance — attributes she's manifested on so many levels in a long and vital career. Rob Bailis, Former Artistic Director, ODC Theater
In the dance ecology of the Bay Area, Dance Brigade, and especially Krissy Keefer, play such vital role. I can't think of anyone else as fierce about what she believes in, what she cares about, and how she creates work to reflect those beliefs. In many ways she is our conscience when we might waver in the face of budget cuts and the endless struggle to get money to do work. Because she is so strong about this herself, I really count on her to keep us honest around our vision and our integrity of purpose. Kenneth J. Foster, Executive Director, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Krissy Keefer's life energy is totally invested in professional, community-based, inclusive, and affordable feminist art. She has consistently supported women artists for over 30 years. It is no easy task to maintain an artistic vision and a financially secure organization, and to be able to deal with the high volume of traffic that is required to run a studio anywhere, much less in the most expensive city in the U.S. That piece of real estate at 24th and Mission has always been a port in the storm for the dance community. Mary Alice Fry, Artistic Director, Footloose Dance Company and Shotwell Studios