Now in his fourth year guiding the newly constituted Oakland Ballet Company, Artistic Director Graham Lustig seems to have found his stride in creating a troupe that respects its past but is no longer tied down by it. If, for the time being, the "ballet" part of the company's name has to take a back seat to the place where it is at home, so be it.Read more »
DANCE With world premieres by Amy Seiwert and Val Caniparoli, and the late Michael Smuin's affectionate tribute to George Gershwin, Smuin Ballet closed its 20th anniversary season with fine choreography, good music, excellent performances, and, most of all, an intelligent perspective of what ballet in the 21st century has to offer. Today Smuin is a thoroughly contemporary troupe with a promising vision of what it wants to be.Read more »
DANCE "Location, location, location" is real estate's mantra, as those of us who keep running up against it know only too well. But location has also become essential to dance, especially for artists who want to forego the theater and make the outside world their stage.Read more »
DANCE Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is the country's most financially successful dance enterprise. Apparently, it regularly ends with a surplus, something most everyone else can only sigh over. But the success comes with a price: it tours like no one else. That makes it hard to keep performances fresh, a repertoire fluid, and dancers focused. And yet, the dancers showed little wear and tear on this 14th stop of their current 23-city US tour.Read more »
GOLDIES In 1979, Sara Shelton Mann — the farm girl from the wilds of Tennessee who ended up studying with such greats as Alwin Nikolais, Erick Hawkins, and Merce Cunningham — moved to San Francisco. Earthquake country. And did she ever shake up the place. With Contraband, the collective of performers she directed until 1996, she reconfigured what the dancing body can be. Their aim, she has said, was to "make bold live theater with an aggressive, lyric physicality."Read more »
GOLDIES Creating a space for experimental contemporary dance and performance in Oakland, outside of the usual channels and roadblock$, has been an instigating, galvanizing mission for SALTA. The collective — a sharp and motivated group of seven women, all Oakland-based choreographers and dancers under 30 — has made a scene, built an audience, developed a network, enlarged an ethic, and opened up horizons in a beleaguered arts ecosystem.