Rita Felciano

Limber up

How to fill your dance card this fall
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Are you looking for edginess? Do you prefer subtlety to pizzazz? The upcoming dance calendar has it all, however exotic or traditional your tastes. Fortunately, presenters seem to be aware of the Bay Area's knowledgeable and supportive dancegoing audience. Cal Perfomances' monthlong focus on Twyla Tharp — with the American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey and Miami City ballets — and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' presentation of international companies whose work circles around big ideas (reality, peace, identity) are particularly noteworthy. Read more »

Ocean of motion

In its 16th year, the WestWave Dance Festival ebbs and flows
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What can one say about a producer who schedules four programs with a total of 20 world premieres and gives four evenings to choreographers, two of whom the audience most certainly has never heard of? At the very least, this shows guts and a willingness to trust the artists who've been engaged.

Joan Lazarus, the longtime force behind the WestWave Dance Festival, has always embraced risk. She has also shown a singular commitment to local dance, which has not always paid off. For the past few years, the event has struggled to find a new identity. Read more »

Flocking together

Nanos Operetta and inkBoat journey into the absurd and hilarious world of love
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They are an odd couple, the giant canary and the lounge-suited would-be lover. Yet you can't help rooting for the unlikely protagonists of Our Breath Is as Thin as a Hummingbird's Spine, Nanos Operetta and inkBoat's collaborative journey into the absurd and hilarious world of love offered and rejected. In two acts and at 75 minutes, this witty charmer drags a bit midway; it probably could be condensed into one act without losing any of its considerable flair. Read more »

Only human

Humansville may leave you hopeful -- or disappointed
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Great art has a moral force that ennobles anyone it touches. Not that Joe Goode's new Humansville, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is that great. But the work nudges at so many raw spots in a lovingly healing way that you end up believing there may yet be hope for human nature, at least until you leave the theater. Read more »

Muse of fire

David Gordon puts a Bush-era spin on Shakespeare's Henry V
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REVIEW Perhaps the most intriguing question about David Gordon's Pick Up Performance Company's Dancing Henry Five is why it works so well. Read more »

All that she wants

Deborah Slater's quietly atmospheric The Desire Line
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DANCE Deborah Slater's new The Desire Line is as quietly atmospheric as it is rambunctiously explosive. It is also a lot of fun as you catch glimpses — a hand holding a foot, a striped tie, a letter, teacups — of Alan Felton's figurative paintings, reproduced in the Dance Mission Theater lobby, that inspired this fine hour-long piece. But Slater isn't interested in imitating the portraits of these self-absorbed narcissists. She wants to dig below the canvas. Read more »

Taylor made

Veteran dancemaker Paul Taylor triumphs with works new and old
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It's been easy getting used to having the Paul Taylor Company around. For each of the past five years, the group has presented three different programs of new and repertory works, courtesy of San Francisco Performances. Even taking into account the occasional repeat, this amounts to close to 50 pieces of choreography, an extraordinary overview of the artistic output of one of modern dance's giants.

But San Francisco Performances can no longer afford to host the company on such a regular basis. Read more »

Deborah Hay Dance Company

Firmly believing that anyone can dance
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PREVIEW Deborah Hay may not be a household name among today's dance fans. But take even a cursory look at the Judson Dance Theater movement of the '60s, an influence that still courses through dance like some subterranean stream of inspiration, and her name will pop up. Again and again. One of the pioneers of pedestrian movement and a firm believer that anyone can dance, the My Body, the Buddhist author moved quickly from performance to dance as a communal activity to dance as a spiritual exploration. Read more »

Home court advantage

"Worlds Apart: Local Response" at YBCA
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A dance community is only as healthy as its humblest members, much the way a ballet company can never attain greatness without a fabulous corps. The team that runs Yerba Buena Center for the Arts knows this. According to associate performing arts curator Angela Mattox, "We want to nurture and support local artists and offer them an opportunity to perform at Yerba Buena." But when Ken Foster, the YBCA's executive director, presented his first season in 2004, shock waves resulted. Read more »

Vettin' the vets

ODC/Dance Downtown
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Four world premieres during the two-week run of "ODC/Dance Downtown" prove there's something to be said for long-term creative leadership. Both artistic director Brenda Way and co–artistic director KT Nelson have been with the company since before it relocated to San Francisco 31 years ago. And yet neither of them shows any sign of artistic burnout.

In Program One, Nelson's free-spirited Scramble, set to Bach's (overamplified) Cello Suite no. 6 in D Major, was an easy charmer for two couples in various combinations. Read more »