Essential grace

FALL ARTS: DANCE Anticipating the season's standout dance performances

El Beh and Christopher W. White in EmSpace Dance's "Monkey Gone to Heaven"

FALL ARTS Fall may no long bring with it the nervous anticipation of entering a new classroom, clutching a shiny lunch box to your chest. But for those of us hooked on live performance, September brings its own thrills, as theaters, studios, and lofts reopen their doors. If dance happens to be your particular bag, you can't do much better than the here and now. Few other places in the country can beat the Bay Area for the sheer variety with which nude, slippered, and high-heeled feet take the stage.



EmSpace Dance's Erin Mei-Ling Stuart ranges far and wide for her new Monkey Gone to Heaven, exploring the role of prayer, meditation, and belief systems in primates of both the higher and the lower order. Sept. 12-15 and 19-22, CounterPULSE, SF;

For their new, multi-disciplinary MU — based on a Japanese legend about a young man who meets a mermaid and visits a lost continent at the bottom of the sea — First Voice art and life partners Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu team up with ODC choreographer Kimi Okada. Young Kai Kane Aoki Izu portrays the traveler. Sept. 27-29, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, SF;

13th Floor Dance Theater's Jenny McAllister must have a thing for writers. She follows last year's witty take on the Bloomsbury crowd with Being Raymond Chandler, in which she channels the quintessential mystery icon as he's haunted by his fictional characters. Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 1-2, ODC Theater, SF;



In the Netherlands the baton has been passed. It remains to be seen whether the long-time choreographic team — a rarity in itself — of Sol León and Paul Lightfoot can keep up the standards of the always superb Nederlands Dans Theater. Oct. 23-24, Zellerbach Hall, Berk;

Good news: the West Wave Dance Festival is stayin' alive. Its new artistic director, Joe Landini, commissioned choreographers Anne-René Patraca, Anandha Ray, Holly Shawn, and Casey Lee Thorne for one program. He turned over the other three evenings to guest curators Dance Mission Theater, Jesse Hewit, and Amy Seiwert, who imprint their own view on the fest. Sept. 16-Oct 28, various venues, SF;

Joe Goode is poet, a soothsayer, and a clown who addresses a loneliness that goes to the core of who we are. His particular perspective comes from being a gay man, but his reach is broad and generous. Perhaps most important is his ability to continue finding intriguing new frameworks for his musings. The new Hush is based on six real-life stories. Sept. 26-Oct. 5, Z Space, SF;

A rarity in contemporary dance, Los Angeles' BodyTraffic is not a single-choreographer company, but focuses its efforts on creating a rep from the most exciting new voices it can find. For SF it will be Kyle Abraham, Barak Marshall, and Richard Siegal — hip-hop, dance theater, and jazz. Sept. 26-29, ODC Theater, SF;


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