April 24, 2002


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'Bay Area Dancing: The Early Years 1915-1965'

Sat/27, Koret Auditorium; Sun/28, ODC Theater

NATIONAL DANCE WEEK (April 26-May 5) – a celebration of the vitality of what's happening in dance today – is upon us. But lest we get too smug about being so superinventive and totally on the edge, "Bay Area Dancing: The Early Years 1915-1965" offers a way to pay tribute to the predecessors who prepared the ground we love to stomp through. This minifestival kicks off National Dance Week with a symposium of old-timers at San Francisco's Main Library on Saturday and a performance of works dating back as far as 1937 on Sunday. The names Jack Johannes, Welland Lathrop, Geraldyne Washington, and the Christensen brothers may not spark instant recognition, but without them the Bay Area dance revolution of the early '70s might have never happened. The one person missing from this look backward is Lou Harrison. Best known as a composer today, he was a dancer in San Francisco in the '30s. "I used to get a lot of jobs," he has commented. "I was the only guy around." For more information on National Dance Week, which includes 150 free classes, rehearsals, and related events around the Bay Area, go to www.voiceofdance.org. Symposium Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin, S.F. Free; performance Sun., 5 p.m., ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F. $10 donation (benefits Peters Wright Creative Dance and Bay Area Dancing). (510) 653-8111. (Rita Felciano)