Rita Felciano

Mark of quality

Mark Morris Dance Group premieres embody creative elegance
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DANCE REVIEW The Mark Morris Dance Group's regular visits to the Bay Area have assured it a faithful and knowledgeable audience. Yet rarely has it received the kind of enthusiastic applause that greeted its West Coast premieres of Visitation and Empire Garden, and the magisterial V (2001), at Cal Performances. Read more »

DanceWright Project and special guests

A sense for craft, a lack of pretense, and a love for ballet
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PREVIEW "Jamie Ray Wright came to dance later than most," the choreographer and artistic director of the DanceWright Project says of himself — an understatement if there ever was one. At Stanford, Wright was a pop musician who then embarked on a career in marketing. For 20 years he watched dance from the audience's perspective but finally "could stand it no longer" and started to study ballet 24/7, three hours a day. Read more »

Ballet without borders

Courage Group premiered a mixed bag of new works at the Jewish Community Center
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REVIEW For its first appearance — with three new works — at the Jewish Community Center Sept. 3-4, the Courage Group attracted a large, appreciative audience. It's easy to see why. Over his company's seven years of existence, Todd Courage has developed a choreographic language that is ballet-based but thoroughly contemporary in the way it tears — sometimes humorously, sometimes sarcastically — at ballet's edges. Read more »

RAWdance presents the Concept Series: 5

A series of informal presentations that sparkle with fresh ideas, although the individual works are rarely finished
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PREVIEW RAWdance's Concept Series is the brainchild of dancer-choreographers Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein, who needed a lab situation in which to test concept and show works in progress. They invited friends and artists who looked interesting and who had similar concerns. The result is a series of informal presentations that sparkle with fresh ideas, although the individual works are rarely finished. Watching this type of dance is so inviting, despite the tiny, near-impossible performance space. Read more »

Fall into dance

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Our dance critic's picks, perfectly choreographed for the season ahead
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Recession or not, dancers gotta do what they gotta do. Here are 10 performances that will reward your time and dollars.

Capacitor It's been a decade since Jodi Lomax brought her (at the time) odd mix of science, dance, and circus arts to the Bay Area. Previous works have been inspired by astrophysics, plate tectonics, and forest systems. The new The Perfect Flower promises a more intimate experience. Sept. Read more »

Liss Fain Dance Company

"Silence" for the musically adventurous
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PREVIEW In music, silence has a purpose similar to that of the negative space in sculpture: it heightens your awareness of the artist's material. So perhaps for a choreographer as musically adventurous as Liss Fain, it should be no surprise that the two new works in her latest Yerba Buena Center for the Arts concert carry the word "silence" in them. Both pieces are American premieres. At the very least, the two works should offer different perspectives on the concept of stillness. Read more »

WestWave Dance Festival

A good, fresh lineup that showcases quality artists who represent the richness that is Bay Area dance
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PREVIEW The WestWave Dance Festival has been limping along for the last few years, but for most of its past, it has been a much-welcome venue for new and little-heard voices of Bay Area dance. For many artists, the opportunity to show that one new piece for which they have managed to scratch the money together, and to do so in a professional environment, has proved essential to keep going. WestWave now seems to be in a holding pattern, engaged in the process of rethinking itself — no mean endeavor considering the evaporation of funding sources. Read more »

Grade A

THE QUEER ISSUE: Fresh Meat serves up a diverse evening of performance
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It was a gathering of tribes with more tattoos and partially shaved heads per square foot than anywhere else in San Francisco. The sartorial imagination at times rivaled the one on stage. In other words, it was the eighth Fresh Meat Festival, celebrating transgender and queer performance, and Project Artaud Theater packed them in.

Announced as the largest festival of its kind in the country, Fresh Meat is the brain- (and heart-) child of Sean Dorsey. Read more »

"SCUBA Two"

Aware of the difficulties that not-yet-established artists face when trying to show their work beyond their immediate home base
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PREVIEW If you are a fan of the unknown, follow SCUBA, the six-year-old brainchild of small-budget presenters in Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and (since 2005) Philadelphia. This consortium of astute dance observers became acutely aware of the difficulties that not-yet-established artists face when trying to show their work beyond their immediate home base. So they made a deal: each could suggest local works they respect, and in turn program from the pool what they thought would be of interest to their audiences. Read more »

Planetary Dance

Marin County's annual solstice celebration: shaman, inviting, simple, powerful, and beautiful
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PREVIEW By now the Planetary Dance, Marin County's annual solstice celebration, has become a joyous, all-day event that starts at sunrise — for early trekkers — on top of Mount Tamalpais and ends, after the main event at Santos Meadow in Mount Tamalpais State Park, at a sunset fire at Muir Beach. The idea is to use communal dance as way of healing the earth, a concept and practice as old as humankind. Some hardy souls, event instigator Anna Halprin among them, have been participating since the beginning, 29 years ago. They are now bringing their children and grandchildren. Read more »