Best of the Bay 2013: BEST DANCE SEANCE


Everybody's saying the feisty, freaky soul of San Francisco is dying. Finally someone did something about it, in the form of resurrecting one of the city's most treasured cult arts figures, Ed Mock. A black, gay, free-spirited improvisational dance pioneer who died of AIDS in 1986: welp, you can't get much more "vanishing San Francisco" than that. (Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf... premiered in his studio. Enuf said.) The fact that Mock and his eponymous dance company heavily encouraged, trained, and influenced a generation of young artists surely helped cement his immortality. So much so that former student and UC Berkeley dance instructor Amara Tabor-Smith, who met Mock when she was 14 and joined his company three years later, partnered with several collaborators in June to bring his specter back to the byways of our fair town. He Moved Swiftly But Gently Down the Not Too Crowded Street: Ed Mock and Other True Tales in a City That Once Was consisted of 11 site-specific performances that journeyed through Mock's life, from "A Roomful of Black Men" in LaSalle Pianos to various "acts of improvisatory disruptions" up and down Valencia Street. You could feel Mock smiling fearlessly, glorious in a giant pink tutu, back on the streets.