What do you need to create a first-rate hot product that is of value to others besides yourself? A great idea, a support structure, and money are good places to start. But what if you had no support structure and no money? If you believe in your idea, you'd plow ahead anyway just like Andrew Wood, executive director of the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
In 2002, Wood began to think about something he felt this city full of artists and tourists needed: an arts festival that would bring the two together. Read more »
PREVIEW Mary Sano may have a small performance space, but she sure packs them in. The Tokyo-born Sano is a disciple so to speak of Isadora Duncan, one of the most influential yet most underperformed women dance pioneers from the dawn of modern dance. Sano regularly puts on mixed programs in which she and her dancers bring to life Duncan's repertoire. The 11th Dionysian Festival presents Sano and her five dancers one flying in from Tokyo in selections from Duncan's Brahms Waltzes, Op.39 (1905). Read more »
When Miguel Gutierrez left the Joe Goode Company in 1996, he was a hot dancer. He returned to the Bay Area a mature artist. In Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies, part of ODC Theater's recent "For the Record: Dancers Debate the Body Politic" at Project Artaud Theater, Gutierrez worked at breaking down the invisible divide between performer and audience. Granted, this idea has been tried before but few have taken it as far, or developed it as consistently, as Gutierrez has done. Read more »
PREVIEW San Francisco Ballet just finished its 75th season with a buzz-creating festival of world premieres. But SFB hasn't gone dormant. This week the focus shifts to the next generation of dancers: San Francisco Ballet School students who hope to take on the daunting task of defying gravity and having their bodies express the contents of their souls.
At the SFB School's Student Showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the audience can experience the stages of a dancer's progress. Read more »
PREVIEW The San Francisco Ballet closes its season this week, but Bay Area dance keeps pulsing. Across town in the Mission's modest CELLspace, Dandelion Dancetheater is starting its own rather remarkable program of new dance. The two-week run which heads to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the third week features the company's own performers plus guest artists from Montreal and Madrid. Read more »
Ten world premieres in three days is a huge deal, even for a troupe as accomplished as the San Francisco Ballet. Even so, it was disappointing that the choreographic choices for the New Works Festival the culmination of a season-long celebration of SFB's 75th anniversary were, for the most part, so extraordinarily conservative. Artistic director Helgi Tomasson has been far more adventurous in the past in challenging audiences and dancers alike. Despite these limitations, the performances were a festive end to an important company milestone. Read more »
PREVIEW Only a few seasons into a more extensive performance schedule, ODC Theater began an extensive remodeling of its well-appointed building on 17th Street at Shotwell and found itself without a space to showcase its work. What to do? Artistic director Rob Bailis seized the opportunity to move a few blocks up the street to the much beloved but lately much neglected Theater Artaud. For the rest of the year, ODC Theater plans to take advantage of the cavernous space, decent technical equipment, and stadium seating with a series of mini-festivals. Read more »
PREVIEW Can dance save the world? Those of us who are hooked on it like to think so. At the very least, it makes you feel more alive as a human being. But in the cultural pecking order, dance often gets the short stick: you can't buy or own it, hang it on a wall, or sell thousands of DVDs of it. You pretty much have to depend on bootlegs or YouTube to get your fix. Maybe that's why such fervor surrounds Bay Area National Dance Week and its 10 days of dance madness. Read more »
PREVIEW The CubaCaribe Festival, now in its fourth incarnation, is a three-week celebration of the African diaspora, as manifested in this country, Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. (Conceivably, as we continue to learn how widespread and diverse African influences are, the festival might well grow to include dance and music from Peru.) Like many other culturally based dance forms, these diverse African influences of the diaspora grow from pockets that develop around specific newcomers to the fertile Bay Area, who bring the seeds of knowledge with them. Read more »
The words were sometimes garbled, but the body's language was not. Les Écailles de la Mémoire(The Scales of Memory), a fiery collaboration between Senegal's all-male Jant-Bi and Brooklyn's Urban Bush Women, shouted, chanted, and danced about anger, pain, and love, always with an Africa-grounded sensibility.
It's more than slightly ironic that the men of Jant-Bi are more familiar to Bay Area audiences than the all-female Urban Bush Women, who have uncovered African American cultural traditions for more than 20 years. Read more »