Rita Felciano

Tropic of dancer

Director Ramón Ramos Alayo sets the stage for the fantastic CubaCaribe festival

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Judging from the packed salsa classes he's been teaching at Dance Mission Theater for 12 years, Ramón Ramos Alayo is correct: the Bay Area is a hotbed for Cuban-Caribbean culture. But even he underestimated its pull. When I spoke to him on a recent balmy spring evening, he was expecting that night's attendance to drop. "It's light and warm, so people like to spend their free time outside," he explained before heading for class. Wrong. If more aficionados had shown up, they would have had to move the furniture.Read more »

Bright futures

Two promising new works-in-progress debut at CounterPULSE

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE This past weekend, Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and José Navarrete with Violeta Luna — CounterPULSE's winter artists-in-residence — showed what artists can do, given time and space to work. Both tackled complex issues that extract high human costs. For Barnes it was imprisonment; for the Navarrete-Luna team, water. Both half-hour pieces will benefit from some refinement and rethinking.Read more »

Last but not least

Merce Cunningham's final, memorable Nearly 90(2)

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Looking at the last piece by the greatest choreographer of the second half of the 20th century seemed a daunting prospect. What if it was less than good? Could I see it as something that stood on its own terms regardless of the context?Read more »

So you think you can choreograph?

"Spring Forward: Choreographer's Showcase 2010" spotlights a range of new works

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Creativity continuum

Hope Mohr Dance spans decades for its third home season
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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Conceptual art and minimalism are not usually associated with dance. Yet the terms frequently swam into consciousness at last weekend's three choreographers program at Theater Artaud. Spare, rigorously crafted works by Hope Mohr, Molissa Fenley, and Yvonne Rainer made for an unusually satisfying evening of mostly pure dance. Mohr presented the program in the context of her company's "third home season: three generations." Read more »

Zaccho Dance keeps it in the family

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Thirty years of surviving and thriving in an area as competitive as dance, and twenty year of community involvement is more than enough of a reason for a party. Let's say a big gala with invited donors who can help balance the budget? A retrospective of what has gone well? Nope. That's not how Joanna Haigood's head works. For her, it's a reason for "Family Day," an open house for the community with classes for the youngest and those a little stiff around the edges. Read more »

Connecting flights

Akram Khan Company's bahok pinpoints moments of stability amid global flux

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE The buzz surrounding the Akram Khan Company's second Bay Area visit — they first appeared in 2003 as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival — proved that sometimes pre-performance excitement is not the result of marketing hype. A copresentation by San Francisco Performances and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Khan's bahok (2008), a 75-minute evocation of displacement in a world constantly on the move, proved witty, humane, and haunting, despite its sentimental ending.Read more »

The heart of art

Love Everywhere to San Francisco: be mine!

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE In 1960, San Francisco City Hall's glorious staircase became infamous when police turned fire hoses on protesters at a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Fifty years later, these same stairs will become the stage for a very different event: Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project's Love Everywhere, a celebration of love and marriage equality.Read more »

Queer and present

Keith Hennessy: 20 years in, still rattling everyone's cages with theatrically pungent works
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DANCE In the middle of Keith Hennessy's "A Queer 20th Anniversary" performances — which end this weekend with the Bay Area premiere of his 2008 Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal, or trauma ...) — the reprise of his two-part How to Die (2006) nearly filled Dance Mission Theatre. At the end of the evening, he asked for donations to help him defray a looming $5,000 deficit. Just about everyone gave.Read more »

Swans, symmetry, and sensations

Looking back at 2009's top dance performances and events

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DANCE Looking back over a year's dance performances feels like reading a horoscope backward. Were there surprises, disappointments, new loves, emerging trends, familiar encounters, and reasons for hope and despair? Of course. Perhaps the best part of this yearly exercise is that it allows works to bubble up that for one reason or another — quality, daring, perspective, innovation — stuck in the mind. You want to see them again. Some, you actually will. Read more »