Rita Felciano

The odd couple

Different dancers create solo and group works in Shared Space 2
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PREVIEW Do we have a new odd couple in town? At first glance Todd Eckert and Nol Simonse don't seem to have much in common though both are tall, lanky dancers who allow themselves to disappear into other people's choreography. Eckert's steadying presence in Robert Moses' Kin company contrasts strongly with Simonse's febrile intensity in companies as diverse as Kunst-Stoff, Stephen Pelton Dance, and Janice Garrett and Dancers.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that the two have in common a desire to strike out on their own. Read more »

Let the rhythm hit 'em

Swift moves and new feats at the San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest
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REVIEW The exuberance bouncing off the walls of the Palace of Fine Arts at the Nov. 22 opening of the 10th annual San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest probably kept the audience in a buoyant mood well beyond the theater. These young dancers — and hip-hop is still primarily a young person's art — presented a show that was sassy, skilled, and a hoot to boot.

Artistic director Micaya has developed a dual approach to programming, and it works. Read more »

Irresistible ODC

The Velveteen Rabbit: a tradition too good to give up
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PREVIEW Some traditions are just too good to give up. I can forgo most holiday customs, except for singing carols, The Nutcracker, and a Tom and Jerry with lots of nutmeg and rum, preferably drunk from properly labeled china cups. Another, a peculiar San Francisco tradition is ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit. Read more »

What do you remember?

The Execution of Precious Memories is dance/music/theater about you
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PREVIEW "You can surely remember episodes from your childhood. Do you consider some of them or several so precious that you wouldn't want to do without them?" "Is there an experience or experiences among your memories that you would describe as mystic, spiritual, or religious?" "What is your earliest memory?" "Which episode(s) of a sexual nature do you remember particularly fondly?"

These are but a few of the 50 questions that have been floating around the Internet and on printed questionnaires this fall. Read more »

Inspiring at 89

Merce Cunningham's imagination and craft impresses
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REVIEW After the Company's opening night performance on Nov. 7, 89-year-old Merce Cunningham took to the Zellerbach Hall stage in a wheelchair. With his impish smile still intact but otherwise looking frail, he spread his hands. That's when I started to cry for the second time that week. It's what happens when history unfolds before your eyes.

Cunningham is the single most important 20th century choreographer still alive — and still working. The opening concert of his company's two-week residence showed why: imagination, buoyancy, and impeccable craft. Read more »

LEVYdance

Physical, in-charge dance that thinks big
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PREVIEW LEVYdance company is small: only five performers. But they dance big — hugely physical, totally in charge — and they also think big. They once performed at ODC Theater, but that was too small. Last year they pushed themselves onto the much larger stage of Kenbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center, yet even that space proved too confining. So for the fall season LEVYdance created its own space on the street outside their studio, where they built three stages connected by catwalks. Audiences are interspersed between them. Read more »

Erin Mei-Ling Stuart

GOLDIES 2008 winner: Focusing on the mess humans manage to create for themselves
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When Erin Mei-Ling Stuart packed her bags to leave her hometown of Fresno in 1992, she included her viola — because she had won a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Here, however, she played so much that she developed tendinitis and had to take a break. That's when dance kicked in. Big time.

The viola went into the closet, and Stuart started to study modern dance — she had dabbled in ballet as a child — first at City College and then in just about every studio she could find. Read more »

Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos

Emmy-winning, ever-expanding superstar's company explores new territory
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PREVIEW How many outside the flamenco family — a sizable one in the Bay Area — realize just how special an artist Yaelisa is? In a less ghettoized genre, this Emmy-winning and always expanding and deepening performer and choreographer would be considered a superstar. Yaelisa foregoes some of the showbiz antics of her colleagues for performances that are no less captivating and, frequently, more intelligently planned and presented. Read more »

Ritual de lo non-habitual

Dohee Lee fascinates with Flux
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REVIEW Since rituals necessitate a community of believers, presenting one for an audience in a theater runs the risk of becoming a mere item of cultural consumption. Yet, on Oct. 16, master drummer-vocalist-dancer Dohee Lee went beyond expectations. Her oddly named Flux succeeded best in its most ritualistic elements — the moments when it called up soul-wrenching memory, pain, and reconciliation.

The title refers to the ever-changing aspects of all creation. Read more »

San Francisco Trolley Dances

Mixing municipal transportation and movement art on the T Third
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PREVIEW How many more 38s do I have to look at when I really need the 5? And how come the 35 is always empty, while you can't find a spot to put your feet, not to mention a seat, on the 22? Muni manages to infuriate just about everybody — from the latte-clutching N-Judah riders to the grocery bag-shlepping "Chinatown Express" shoppers.

Still, I've never lived in a city where people did not vociferously complain about their public transportation system. That's why San Francisco Trolley Dances is such a neat idea. Read more »