Rita Felciano

Turning the tide

Invigorated by a new format, WestWave Dance marks its 20th anniversary

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Joan Lazarus is one determined woman. This month, WestWave Dance celebrates its 20th anniversary. WestWave originated in 1991 as SummerFest by choreographer Cathleen Murphy; Lazarus joined her three years later, and the two women ran it together until Murphy moved on.

A few months ago Lazarus made noises about perhaps calling it quits. She was frustrated because in all the years of curating these annual menus of contemporary, often brand-new, choreography, "I could not make it work," she says. Audiences remained small, budgets smaller.Read more »

Don't fence him in

Envelope-pusher Miguel Gutierrez returns to San Francisco

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DANCE One of the most fascinating aspects of the world of dance studies has been the split that has taken place in the last few decades between dance history and dance theory. To oversimplify, the first concerns itself with discussing works in terms of their formal values of aesthetics; the second, influenced by cultural studies, prefers to look at pieces as social constructs.Read more »

Ready for takeoff

Garrett + Moulton Productions soar with The Experience of Flight in Dreams

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DANCE Life partners running a dance company together is rare, and when it happens the couple usually keeps responsibilities distinct. In ballet, Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey did it for many years; Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary are making a go of it in Los Angeles. In modern dance, it is simply unheard of. Modern dance companies are one-man or one-woman affairs. But no longer: Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton have broken the mold.Read more »

Around the bay, around the world

The 33rd San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival embraces a variety of cultures — and new venues

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Dancing in the light

Ledoh offers a new interpretation of butoh with Suicide Barrier: secure in our illusion at ODC

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DANCE The Ka-Ren people, who live on the border between Thailand and Burma and who have never recognized these political divisions, are known for their indigenous jewelry-design traditions. They didn't get a gemologist in Ledoh, though they did get a dealer in a different kind of jewel — dances — and not because of a well-developed plan. Rather, it was serendipitous.Read more »

Earthly creations, unearthly longings

Week one dance at the San Francisco International Arts Festival

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The San Francisco International Arts Festival's model of presenting guest and local dancers side by side was initially designed to alleviate Bay Area artists' concern that SFIAF might siphon off funding for their own work. Yet the format works artistically. The 2011 festival's first week's lineup of local and imported dance proved it. One-night stands at the Marines Memorial Theatre came from Israel's Barak Marshall Company and Santa Fe's Dancing Earth. From San Francisco, Hope Mohr Dance and FACT/SF shared evenings at Fort Mason.Read more »

Kinetic changes

Raissa Simpson's Push Dance Company grapples with Mixed Messages through movement

 

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In 1810, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans were divided between white and black (free and slave). In 1910 "mulatto" and "other" were added. Last year's respondents had the choice among 15 racial categories, in addition to a space for ones not listed. Assigning people to predetermined slots is becoming so complicated — and controversial — that it's hard not to wonder what the census form will look like in 2050 when more than 50 percent of the population will be "mixed."Read more »

New resonance

Smuin Ballet presents intriguing contemporary ballet

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Let it show

Kate Weare Company's Bright Lands sets the dark undercurrents of folk music to dance

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DANCE In December 2009, as part of a double bill with Kara Davis, Kate Weare showed an excerpt of a work in progress in which Leslie Kraus rammed her head into Douglas Gillespie's chest, knocking him flat on his back. It's a moment one is unlikely to forget. Weare must have thought so as well, because she retained the passage in Bright Land, which received its San Francisco premiere at ODC Theater this past weekend.Read more »

Going back

Lucinda Childs' conceptual classic Dance returns to the Bay Area

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DANCE Speaking from her home in New York, choreographer Lucinda Childs recalls the unfavorable reception to her 1979 piece Dance. "People walked out saying that I didn't have a vocabulary and that anybody could do that kind of dancing." Fortunately, perceptions and concepts of dance have evolved.Read more »