One reason I love dance so much is the transcendence I feel when I watch really powerful dance. It is the feeling that somehow the bodies onstage have moved beyond being simple dancers on an elevated platform and are instead communicators of something that can’t be written or painted, but can only be communicated through the medium of physical movement. When I have this feeling I know I will once again be swept up in dance and cry or laugh or simply feel my soul reverberate.
Consider the need to be seen. The dance world is consumed by this challenge. Dancers repeatedly put ourselves in situations where we have optimal visibility via auditions, performances, and even day-to-day classes. Choreographers market themselves to be presented through grants and venues. But is this need, this desire to interest and engage and ultimately compel people to watch us, heroic, or simply pathetic? Suppose for a second not the plight of a common dancer trying to be seen, but of a very high profile dancer or choreographer, who for better or worse is seen, has been seen, and who people clamor to see. Would the work err more toward heroic because it is practically their duty to be seen? Read more »
THEATER/DANCE In the world of performing arts, it often feels like there is a dearth of resources. The race for funding, rehearsal space, performance space, and audience attention can easily create disillusion. Lucky for San Francisco, there is a light in all this resource madness: the Garage, a small theater run by Joe Landini.Read more »
Ralph Lemon, the acclaimed choreographer/visual artist, recently presented How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (October 7-10) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. After the Fri/8 show, Angela Mattox, the space's Performing Arts Curator, led a question-and- answer session with Lemon and the performers. One audience member asked about a section where video images of animals walked across a screen. First came a dog, then Lemon clad in a rabbit suit, then a flamingo, continuing with an assortment of animals including a giraffe and a walrus. The question pertained to the motivation of the scene. Jim Findlay, the video designer, responded that Lemon’s only direction had been to create grace. At this point Mattox, the curator, began to cry, touched deeply that an artist would strive for grace. The event was moving to witness, but I left with a nagging question: what exactly is grace? Read more »