Rita Felciano

Body talk

ODC's "Dance That Matters" kicks off with a strong double bill

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The end?

Merce Cunningham Dance Company says goodbye, leaving a void in its wake

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DANCE Looking at the magnificent and elegant Merce Cunningham dancers perform Pond Way (1998), Antic Meet (1958) and Sounddance (1975) in the by no means sold-out Zellerbach Hall on March 3 made me sad. Each of these works showed such skill, beauty, and intelligence. Yet they left me pessimistic about the future of a precious repertoire.Read more »

The children

Robert Moses returns to classic storytelling with Fable and Faith

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Robert Moses may not know it, but he is a pied piper. The ability to hold the attention of 200 hormone-packed middle school students at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday in early February must qualify as some kind of superhuman ability.

But Moses, choreographer and artistic director of Robert Moses' Kin, defers to his own pied piper, the one on stage who immortalized the German city of Hamelin. As the fabled character, Dexandro "D" Montalvo twitches, churns, and first commands the rats; then, with beckoning index fingers, he mesmerizes the "children" to follow him who knows where.Read more »

Real fiction

Jess Curtis crafts a half-dozen-in-one dynamic and revealing Dances

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Ms. Behavior

Aura Fischbeck choreographs the tension between restraint and letting go

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Fat chance Aura Fischbeck could have escaped becoming a dancer. Her mother was one of the last students of legendary German Expressionist dancer Mary Wigman; her father is an actor/musician who pioneered multimedia dance theater in the 1960s. Additionally, she had an older sister, also a dancer. "[She] was always a step or two ahead of me," Fischbeck remembers. "I grew up surrounded by dance, but I didn't like some of the politics that go with the profession."Read more »

How can you stay in the house?

YEAR IN DANCE: Bay Area dance brought surprises — and great works both odd and traditional — in 2010

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arts@sfbg.com

YEAR IN DANCE Watching dance in the Bay Area is a privilege. With the constant influx of eager young talents, people who stick around and develop, and established artists who still manage to surprise year after year, the experience can be a ball. This celebration is boosted by the "travelers" from other cities and countries who come in for a day or two and keep local dance from becoming overly self-satisfied. There is a lot wrong with capitalism, but competition — in terms of ideas — can be a real quality booster.Read more »

'Nutcracker' and beyond

Dates to mark on your holiday dance season calendar

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You don't have to be into winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa celebrations to realize that there's something about December — the end of another decade this time around, the darkest part of the year — that calls out for treats either for yourself or a friend or two. Here are a few dance-related suggestions between now and the end of the year that won't bust your budget.Read more »

The Dozen

The SF Hip-Hop Dance Fest turns 12 in style

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DANCE The Hip-Hop Dance Fest has grown up. What started 12 years ago as a showcase for local crews and studios has become an excellently balanced showcase of national and international artists. Only four of this year's 11 participants came from the Bay Area. Sad to say, the sorriest performance all night long came from a local one. Still, the future for hip-hop dance on stage looks brighter than ever.Read more »

Return to me

Adia Tamar Whitaker explores her identity in the exceptional Ampey!

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If magical realism is rooted in Latin American cultures, nobody told Adia Tamar Whitaker. Her Ampey!, a 50-minute dance, chant, music, film, and narration piece, is an incantatory celebration of life — including the parts of life ingrained in our muscles and our dreams. If CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora program had produced nothing but Ampey!, it would have been worth doing. Performed by a stellar cast of dancers and musicians, Whitaker has succeeded in pulling together strands of complex subject matter into a first-rate, original piece of poetic theater.Read more »

GOLDIES 2010: Amy Seiwert

Quite possibly the Bay Area's most original dance thinker, creating a 21st century lingo of the body

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As a kid in Cincinnati, Amy Seiwert didn't want to be a ballet dancer. She strove to become a gymnast, just like her adored older sister. But, she says, "I was a scrawny little thing." And when she tried walking on her head because her arms couldn't support her, her parents suggested that ballet might help her gymnastics. "I didn't want to do it," she explains. "Ballet was 'girly' stuff and I was a tomboy." Gymnastics' loss, however, became ballet's gain.Read more »