When Erin Mei-Ling Stuart packed her bags to leave her hometown of Fresno in 1992, she included her viola because she had won a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Here, however, she played so much that she developed tendinitis and had to take a break. That's when dance kicked in. Big time.
The viola went into the closet, and Stuart started to study modern dance she had dabbled in ballet as a child first at City College and then in just about every studio she could find. Read more »
PREVIEW How many outside the flamenco family a sizable one in the Bay Area realize just how special an artist Yaelisa is? In a less ghettoized genre, this Emmy-winning and always expanding and deepening performer and choreographer would be considered a superstar. Yaelisa foregoes some of the showbiz antics of her colleagues for performances that are no less captivating and, frequently, more intelligently planned and presented. Read more »
REVIEW Since rituals necessitate a community of believers, presenting one for an audience in a theater runs the risk of becoming a mere item of cultural consumption. Yet, on Oct. 16, master drummer-vocalist-dancer Dohee Lee went beyond expectations. Her oddly named Flux succeeded best in its most ritualistic elements the moments when it called up soul-wrenching memory, pain, and reconciliation.
The title refers to the ever-changing aspects of all creation. Read more »
PREVIEW How many more 38s do I have to look at when I really need the 5? And how come the 35 is always empty, while you can't find a spot to put your feet, not to mention a seat, on the 22? Muni manages to infuriate just about everybody from the latte-clutching N-Judah riders to the grocery bag-shlepping "Chinatown Express" shoppers.
Still, I've never lived in a city where people did not vociferously complain about their public transportation system. That's why San Francisco Trolley Dances is such a neat idea. Read more »
PREVIEW Patrick Makuakane is big. But the tall, muscular choreographer's physical size is nothing compared to the largeness of his laughter, personality, and, above all, his love for and knowledge of hula. In addition to a very large school, Makuakane runs the Bay Area's most successful Hawaiian company, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu. He has coached, choreographed, directed, and MC'd the halau's productions since 1985, and while about half of the dancers are Hawaiian, the rest are there for the love of the art. Read more »
PREVIEW Two years ago the Inbal Pinto Dance Company made its San Francisco debut with Oyster. On first glance it looked like a freak show, one of those traveling circuses that paraded so-called human deformities to titillate audiences. I mean, what are you going to do with a two-headed, four-armed MC and a crone who controls live puppets? Read more »
REVIEWRomeo and Juliet the ballet, not the play is not exactly known for its wit. Prokofiev's heavy-handed use of thematic material at times makes Wagner sound frivolous. But leave it to Mark Morris to turn ballet's most beloved 20th-century tragedy into a fairy tale whose comedic overtones are difficult to miss. Does the piece which was given its West Coast premiere by Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall Sept. 25 work? Up to a point it does, because Morris set clearly defined parameters and shaped his take accordingly. Read more »
REVIEW Sometimes dance is so dense, so fast-paced, or so convoluted you can't grasp what the heck the choreographer had in mind. So you throw in the towel and go along for the ride. Such was the case with the Sept. 18 performance by Robert Moses' Kin at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
The clearest of the three pieces on view, Approaching Thought, showcased most cogently why Moses' reputation has been growing by leaps and bounds: he creates intriguing ensemble opportunities for individually strong performers. Read more »
PREVIEW Have you ever seen a string quartet perform in the air specifically, a violinist play while hoisted on the shoulders of some dancers? Or have you witnessed a violist getting his hair done while concentrating on an intricate melody? If you missed the delicious collaboration between Janice Garrett and Dancers and the Del Sol String Quartet last April, here's your chance. StringWreck is perhaps the most original and unlikely piece of collaboration between music and dance to hit the Bay Area. And it's all homegrown. Read more »
REVIEW Coming right off the top of the new season, two local choreographers, Liss Fain and Erika Chong Shuch, have thrown a spotlight on the marvelous richness of Bay Area dance. These women couldn't be more different from each other. One creates cool, intricately flowing balletic dances; the other, spunky and quixotic dance theater.
Fain is something of an outsider if for no other reason than that she choreographs to a different tune. No easy beats or slapped-together sound collages for her. Read more »