Dance

Queer and present

Keith Hennessy: 20 years in, still rattling everyone's cages with theatrically pungent works
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DANCE In the middle of Keith Hennessy's "A Queer 20th Anniversary" performances — which end this weekend with the Bay Area premiere of his 2008 Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal, or trauma ...) — the reprise of his two-part How to Die (2006) nearly filled Dance Mission Theatre. At the end of the evening, he asked for donations to help him defray a looming $5,000 deficit. Just about everyone gave.Read more »

Swans, symmetry, and sensations

Looking back at 2009's top dance performances and events

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DANCE Looking back over a year's dance performances feels like reading a horoscope backward. Were there surprises, disappointments, new loves, emerging trends, familiar encounters, and reasons for hope and despair? Of course. Perhaps the best part of this yearly exercise is that it allows works to bubble up that for one reason or another — quality, daring, perspective, innovation — stuck in the mind. You want to see them again. Some, you actually will. Read more »

Keefer of the flame

Dance Brigade debuts an ambitious new work that explores the Book of the Dead
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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Next year it will be 30 years since choreographer and dance maven Krissy Keefer cofounded the radical feminist Wallflower Collective in Oregon, and 25 years since she relocated her social activist Dance Brigade Company to San Francisco. Perhaps those upcoming anniversaries naturally suggested a time for taking stock. Read more »

Nol Simonse

GOLDIES 2009: He can melt to the floor and give the impression he's spilling out of his skin
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arts@sfbg.com

Nol Simonse has no preconceptions about what he wants in a boyfriend, except one. "He has to be able to cut and color a mohawk," the 36-year-old dancer explains before a rehearsal at Dance Mission Theater. His own have ranged from huge to skull-hugging and have tapped into all the colors of the rainbow.

His hair might be the first thing you notice about the tall, reed-thin, and (currently) blond Simonse. But it's not what you remember once you've seen him on stage, with or without an adorned head. Read more »

Global informing

CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora celebrates nontraditional traditional dancers
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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE For too many years ethnic dance, traditional dance, folk dance, culturally-specific dance — whatever label you stick on it — has been a stepchild on American stages. Considered of little interest to observers beyond the cultural groups in which its practitioners were based, general audiences admired its colorfulness and derided its lack of innovation. Read more »

Stayin' alive

Despite a series of setbacks, Oakland Ballet returns -- again
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DANCE Oakland Ballet Company refuses to die. Its latest resurrection happened Oct. 16-17, after Ronn Guidi's abrupt resignation in April had issued what used to be a thriving East Bay institution's most recent death certificate. But some people can't take no for an answer, and we all should be grateful to them. In this particular case, it's the dancers — some veterans of the Oakland troupe, some freelancers but also members of Ballet San Jose and Smuin Ballet — who stepped into the breach. The choreographers donated their works. Read more »

Partly cloudy

Dancers shine through Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's uneven Other Suns
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DANCE REVIEW In December 2007, a preview of the first section of Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's Other Suns (a Trilogy) raised high hopes. Unfortunately, the 80-minute triptych, which premiered Sept, 24-26 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and is scheduled for a four-city national tour, did not quite fulfill them.

Jenkins paired her own company of eight with six dancers from China's Guangdong Modern Dance Company. She also invited guest artists Amy Foley and Norma Fong from Robert Moses' Kin Dance Company. Read more »

Mark of quality

Mark Morris Dance Group premieres embody creative elegance
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

DANCE REVIEW The Mark Morris Dance Group's regular visits to the Bay Area have assured it a faithful and knowledgeable audience. Yet rarely has it received the kind of enthusiastic applause that greeted its West Coast premieres of Visitation and Empire Garden, and the magisterial V (2001), at Cal Performances. Read more »

Fall into dance

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Our dance critic's picks, perfectly choreographed for the season ahead
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Recession or not, dancers gotta do what they gotta do. Here are 10 performances that will reward your time and dollars.

Capacitor It's been a decade since Jodi Lomax brought her (at the time) odd mix of science, dance, and circus arts to the Bay Area. Previous works have been inspired by astrophysics, plate tectonics, and forest systems. The new The Perfect Flower promises a more intimate experience. Sept. Read more »

Flyaway Productions

An "apparatus-based" performance
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PREVIEW Imagine what it would be like to be working on the new span of the Bay Bridge — perilously dangling in the wind, high above freezing waters, would be just another day on the job. Inspired by the female ironworkers, laborers, crane operators, and other brave souls who've helped create and tend to local bridges since the 1970s, Jo Kreiter's Flyaway Productions presents The Ballad of Polly Ann (named for the badass wife name-checked in "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer"). Read more »