Dance

Intercontinental Collaborations 3 -- The Symmetry Project

Examining connection and separation on the most fundamental levels
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PREVIEW Have you ever heard of an "inter-corporeal kaleidoscope of flesh?" Neither have I. This intriguing mouthful is one of the labels Jess Curtis has affixed to his latest performance experiments in physicality. Yet for all his theoretical underpinnings, Curtis is a man of the theater. These days the choreographer, who started with Contraband 20 years ago and now lives and works part-time in Berlin, questions the act of performance — what it means to him, and what it means to us. Read more »

Hot fusion

Perú Negro's Peruvian dance explosion
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If you've done any traveling at all, you know about Peruvian dance and music. You will have seen the small groups of black-caped musicians (occasionally accompanied by dancers) playing pan pipes anywhere from Tokyo to New York City, Copenhagen to Atlanta. But there is another aspect of this country's culture, one that originated halfway around the world. Early in their sixteenth century conquests, Peru's Spanish colonial powers imported slaves from Africa to work the silver mines. But with the abolition of slavery in 1854, the thriving Afro-Peruvian culture gradually started melting away. Read more »

Hope Mohr Dance

Confident in the fertile tension between subject matter and formal demands
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PREVIEW After training in ballet, San Francisco native Hope Mohr moved to New York City, where she danced with Lucinda Childs and Douglas Dunn before spending four seasons with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. After eight years, she decided that she could continue her career back in her hometown. Significantly, upon returning in 2005, she joined the company of Margaret Jenkins, who had also left the Big Apple to resettle in her Bay Area stomping grounds more than 30 years ago. Even then, however, Mohr knew that she would eventually want her own group. Read more »

Shen Wei Dance Art

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PREVIEW It might be just as well that Chinese choreographer Shen Wei didn't start dancing until quite late — at the ripe old age of 20. But what he may have missed in early dance training, he more than made up for in other artistic endeavors. The son of Chinese opera performers in Hunan, at age 9, Wei followed the parental path and began studying opera, and by 16 he was performing with the Hunan State Opera. He also studied, and became recognized in, the demanding art of Chinese watercolor. Read more »

Bellydance Superstars

Fabulous exponents of an art that embraces female sensuality
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PREVIEW The Bellydance Superstars are back. The troupe came to prominence during the 2003 Lollapalooza tour and are an intriguing mix of Hollywood glitz and highly accomplished dancing — patrons of the DNA Lounge and Herbst Theatre may remember the ensemble's shows in 2004 and 2005. While you may not see much of the covered-up tribal dancing that lies at the core of so much traditional belly dancing, these women are fabulous exponents of an art that embraces female sensuality perhaps like no other dance form. Read more »

Compañía Nacional de Danza

Don't expect even a shadow of bolero or flamenco in the two different programs that constitute his company's San Francisco debut
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PREVIEW When Nacho Duato, crowned with laurels from his years in England and Holland, returned to his native Spain in the 1980s, the country's national ballet company offered him its directorship. He took one look at the ensemble's anemic repertoire and decided he could breathe some life into it. Consequently, today Compañía Nacional de Danza is a repository of Duato's choreography. Spain could have done worse: Duato has put contemporary Spanish ballet on the world map like no one else. Read more »

Robert Moses Kin' and Black Choreographers Festival

February's extra daylight brings an advent of fresh views
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PREVIEW In February, as the days start getting longer again, two things come to mind: Black History Month summons deep reflections, and all of that extra light brings the advent of fresh views. In the Bay Area no better example of clear-sighted perspectives can be found than in the work of the Robert Moses' Kin company and from the codirectors of the fourth Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now, Kendra Kimbrough Barnes and Laura Elaine Ellis. Moses starts his two-week season at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on Feb. Read more »

Twelve for the road

A look back at dance in 2007
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The past year's many exhilarations are here condensed into a month-by-month format. Let a veil of silence fall over the frustrations, and remember the yin and yang in everything, dance included.

January: Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, Marin Civic Center Auditorium, San Rafael. Read more »

Well-heeled

A modern dance legend visits Japan
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Ask a dancer under 30 in Europe about Pina Bausch, and most likely you'll get a blank stare or a shrug. You might as well mention Isadora Duncan or Martha Graham. Important, yes; relevant, no. For them, Bausch, the most radical innovator of European dance in the past three decades, is passé. Read more »

Goldie winner -- Dance: Shinichi Iova-Koga

Butoh and beyond that mesmerizes
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Shinichi Iova-Koga's work is grotesque, beautiful, and funny. As a dancer he is never less than mesmerizing — ephemeral like smoke, limpid like a vernal pool. And yet he is an accidental dancer. The son of two painters, he was initially drawn to photography; at age 12 his bathroom doubled as a darkroom. Then, at San Francisco State University, he became a film major. Read more »