Styles for miles

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Ballet, hula, modern, and more on fall's vast dance slate

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From Keith Hennessy's Turbulence
PHOTO BY ROBBIE SWEENEY PHOTOGRAPHY

arts@sfbg.com

FALL ARTS Most folks going to dance performances have a sense of how they want to spend their time and dollars. For some, a show must be conceptually edgy. For others, it's got to be ballet. Still others want choreography that resonates with socio-political implications — or they only want to see choreography grounded in indigenous traditions. I'm more of an omnivore: show me a piece, no matter its style, in which the forces at work arise from some internal necessity and play off each other convincingly, and I'm in.

The next three months are bursting with dance offerings. In downtown San Francisco, many are free. Zaccho Dance Theatre reprises its hauntingly poetic Sailing Away (Sept. 13-16, Powell and Market, SF; www.zaccho.org); it pays tribute to the exodus of a remarkable group of African Americans. In only three years, the Central Market Arts Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 21, various locations, SF; www.centralmarketarts.org) has exploded into a major event with dozens of performances that have probably contributed just as much to the area's revitalization as those high-rent dot coms. Not to be missed is the world premiere of Jo Kreiter and Flyaway Productions' Niagara Falling (Sept. 26-29, Seventh St. and Market, SF; www.flyawayproductions.com), projected and danced on an exterior wall of the Renoir Hotel. And how about the easy-riding Trolley Dances (Oct. 20-21, various locations, SF; www.epiphanydance.org) that offer unexpected site-specific encounters?

If you are willing to take another look at what may be already familiar, and your budget allows it, the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra (Oct. 10-14, Zellerbach Hall, Berk; www.calperformances.org) brings Swan Lake to Berkeley. It may be the most popular ballet in the world, and it is also one of the greats. Another old-timer, the 40-year-old Mummenschanz (Nov. 23-23, Zellerbach Hall, Berk; www.calperformances.org), can't be beat for its skill, magic, and gentle humor. Take a kid. If your taste oscillates between new and old, check out Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu (Oct. 20-28, Palace of Fine Arts, SF; www.naleihulu.org); its mix of traditional and new-style hula — which this year includes hip-hop — will be time and money well spent.

Keith Hennessy, probably the Bay Area's most radical theatrical thinker, moves his pulverizing Turbulence (a dance about the economy) from COUNTERPulse to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Sept. 27-29, YBCA Forum, SF; www.ybca.org). There you will be invited to participate in the concept's actualization.

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