Rita Felciano

GOLDIES 2010: Ramón Ramos Alayo

Using song, music, visuals, and narration to create theatrically potent works that include Afro-Cuban, modern, folkloric, and popular dance styles

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Whoever coined the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" didn't foresee an artist like Ramón Ramos Alayo, who is a stunning dancer, a socially committed choreographer, a passionate advocate of Afro-Caribbean culture, scholar of Yoruba spirituality, and an inspiring teacher of modern dance and salsa.Read more »

Paradise lost

Kunst-Stoff and LEVYdance travel through violent legacies in a powerful double bill

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Delicate power

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE When Diaghilev's Ballets Russes premiered Mikhael Fokine's Scheherazade in June 1910, Paris exploded. Not only had the choreographer forsaken the hallowed halls of classicism, he had put on stage the most sensually explicit ballet ever seen in that city's stage. Its orientalism and Leon Bakst's exquisitely lush design influenced fashions and design for years.Read more »

Dance performance: "Keep Her Safe, Please!"

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Many traditional dancers are no longer content with merely preserving a valuable heritage; they want to put their own stamp on it. So now there's a new kind of dance, already conveniently labeled “ethno-contemporary.” Taiwanese-born, Indonesia-raised, and additionally US-trained Wan-Chao is at the forefront of this promising new genre. She dedicated Keep Her Safe, Please! Jakarta 1998 (Sat/16-Sun/17 at the Cowell Theater) to the victims of the anti-Chinese pogrom that included particularly vicious attacks against women.

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Hula heartbeat

Never your typical hula troupe, Na La Hulu I Ka Wekiu celebrates its 25th birthday

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DANCE Quite a few hula companies populate the Bay Area, but none is led by a kumu hula (teacher) quite as charismatic as Patrick Makuakane. Watch him warm up an audience, and you'd think he could charm cash out of a bunch of IRS agents. Then he steps on stage, grabs a drum, and starts to chant, and you know that this is an old soul, somehow still in touch with hula's roots as a spiritual practice. "We love that duality about him," explains Makani da Silva Santos, one of his longtime dancers.Read more »

On the way

Architecture of Light gives the new ODC the gala welcome it deserves

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ODC Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way put it best when, toasting the crowd at the end of the premiere of her Architecture of Light, she said: "If you don't leave a footprint, you will be forgotten. If you tread lightly, you'll fly away. So here's to you who hit the ground running."Read more »

Visionary movement

"Traditions Engaged" presents a weekend of Indian dance
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DANCE Celine Schein, executive director of Chitresh Das Dance Company and its Chhandam School, was not born into Indian culture. But difficult Hindi words flow from her tongue with the ease of a native speaker. It's a skill that should stand her in good stead during this weekend's "Traditions Engaged: Dance, Drama, Rhythm," which includes evening and daytime performances, lectures, panel discussions, and demonstrations of Indian classical dance.Read more »

Fresh "Horses"

Dana Lawton and Jia Wu kick off the dance season with a strong program

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Some choreographers pack enough material into an hour of dance to leave you more satisfied than those who take twice as long and say less. Such was the case with "18 Virgo Horses" (Sept. 16-18), a double-bill by Dana Lawton and Jia Wu, who earn their rent money teaching at Saint Mary's College in Moraga. The old saying that inspiration wedded to craft makes for good art came to mind as I watched Lawton and Wu's four pieces at CounterPULSE last week. The evening made me glad that the dance season has started again.Read more »

Leap into fall

FALL ARTS: Dance critic Rita Felciano's seasonal picks
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Looking over the fall dance schedule, two ingredients jump out: celebration and experimentation. Given the depressed economy and vacuous political conversations, this optimism comes as a welcome surprise. But then dancers are a resilient lot; they are used to rock bottom or nonexistent budgets and functioning below the radar screen of the pundits who try to tell us which way the culture is tilting. They simply go about doing what they sense needs to be done and put their own stamp on the social ecology. Read more »

Free as the breeze?

Joe Goode Performance Group -- now at the Old Mint building -- is Traveling Light and eloquent as ever

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