Dance

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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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 »

WestWave Dance Festival

A good, fresh lineup that showcases quality artists who represent the richness that is Bay Area dance
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PREVIEW The WestWave Dance Festival has been limping along for the last few years, but for most of its past, it has been a much-welcome venue for new and little-heard voices of Bay Area dance. For many artists, the opportunity to show that one new piece for which they have managed to scratch the money together, and to do so in a professional environment, has proved essential to keep going. WestWave now seems to be in a holding pattern, engaged in the process of rethinking itself — no mean endeavor considering the evaporation of funding sources. Read more »

"SCUBA Two"

Aware of the difficulties that not-yet-established artists face when trying to show their work beyond their immediate home base
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PREVIEW If you are a fan of the unknown, follow SCUBA, the six-year-old brainchild of small-budget presenters in Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and (since 2005) Philadelphia. This consortium of astute dance observers became acutely aware of the difficulties that not-yet-established artists face when trying to show their work beyond their immediate home base. So they made a deal: each could suggest local works they respect, and in turn program from the pool what they thought would be of interest to their audiences. Read more »

Planetary Dance

Marin County's annual solstice celebration: shaman, inviting, simple, powerful, and beautiful
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PREVIEW By now the Planetary Dance, Marin County's annual solstice celebration, has become a joyous, all-day event that starts at sunrise — for early trekkers — on top of Mount Tamalpais and ends, after the main event at Santos Meadow in Mount Tamalpais State Park, at a sunset fire at Muir Beach. The idea is to use communal dance as way of healing the earth, a concept and practice as old as humankind. Some hardy souls, event instigator Anna Halprin among them, have been participating since the beginning, 29 years ago. They are now bringing their children and grandchildren. Read more »

India Jones

Bolshoi Ballet -- a hoot, a wonder, and big in all the right ways at Zellerbach
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Small may be beautiful, but so is big — especially if it is spelled "Bolshoi," Russian for big. The Moscow company's current production, La Bayadère, a tale of love and revenge, is set in an India whose Orientalism will make politically correct viewers shudder but that called up paroxysms of delight from the balletomanes who packed the Bolshoi Ballet's recent performances at Zellerbach Hall.

As a huge unwieldy spectacle, this Bayadère is a hoot and a wonder. Read more »

im'ij-re

The centerpiece of a program of new works
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PREVIEW In 2007 choreographer Amy Seiwert set Morton Feldman's hauntingly beautiful score "Rothko Chapel" on Robert Moses' Kin dancers. Watching Memory was fresh, mysterious, and mesmerizing. Not the least of its appeal came from Marc Morozumi's stunning lanterns, which enveloped the dancers in subtly changing luminosity. Read more »