Dance

Let there be bright

Keith Hennessy's Sol Niger at Project Artaud Theater
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Sol Niger ("Black sun" in Latin) sounds like a contradiction. Not that choreographer–theater maven Keith Hennessy is uncomfortable with oppositional thinking. But if you've ever experienced the gray-on-gray blanket that a solar eclipse throws over the world, you'll understand the appropriateness of the title of Hennessy's most recent work.

With a Bay Area premiere run kicking off Sept. Read more »

Only human

Humansville may leave you hopeful -- or disappointed
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Great art has a moral force that ennobles anyone it touches. Not that Joe Goode's new Humansville, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is that great. But the work nudges at so many raw spots in a lovingly healing way that you end up believing there may yet be hope for human nature, at least until you leave the theater. Read more »

All that she wants

Deborah Slater's quietly atmospheric The Desire Line
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DANCE Deborah Slater's new The Desire Line is as quietly atmospheric as it is rambunctiously explosive. It is also a lot of fun as you catch glimpses — a hand holding a foot, a striped tie, a letter, teacups — of Alan Felton's figurative paintings, reproduced in the Dance Mission Theater lobby, that inspired this fine hour-long piece. But Slater isn't interested in imitating the portraits of these self-absorbed narcissists. She wants to dig below the canvas. Read more »

Home court advantage

"Worlds Apart: Local Response" at YBCA
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A dance community is only as healthy as its humblest members, much the way a ballet company can never attain greatness without a fabulous corps. The team that runs Yerba Buena Center for the Arts knows this. According to associate performing arts curator Angela Mattox, "We want to nurture and support local artists and offer them an opportunity to perform at Yerba Buena." But when Ken Foster, the YBCA's executive director, presented his first season in 2004, shock waves resulted. Read more »

Vettin' the vets

ODC/Dance Downtown
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Four world premieres during the two-week run of "ODC/Dance Downtown" prove there's something to be said for long-term creative leadership. Both artistic director Brenda Way and co–artistic director KT Nelson have been with the company since before it relocated to San Francisco 31 years ago. And yet neither of them shows any sign of artistic burnout.

In Program One, Nelson's free-spirited Scramble, set to Bach's (overamplified) Cello Suite no. 6 in D Major, was an easy charmer for two couples in various combinations. Read more »

Attraction is hell

Manuelito Biag's The Shape of Poison solidifies his standing as a choreographer on the rise
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REVIEW Rarely does ODC Theater pack them in the way it did Feb. 2 for SHIFT Physical Theater's first full-evening piece, The Shape of Poison. Manuelito Biag has been making work for close to 10 years, but the buzz has really picked up since 2003, when he presented the anguished Giving Strength to this Fragile Tongue. With Poison, developed as an artist-in-residence project at ODC, he has created a work about the inarticulate, often unacknowledged forces that shape our realities. Read more »

Step lively

Twelve picks for twelve months of dance
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The year in dance began as a bummer, but it's ending on a note of hope. In January, Oakland Ballet closed its doors. This week they're back — sort of — with former artistic director Ronn Guidi's Nutcracker. What happened? Guidi wouldn't face reality, that's what. He never has. He didn't program George Balanchine when everyone else was jumping on that bandwagon. He commissioned female choreographers when few others would. Throughout his career he swam against the stream, pursuing what he loved most, in particular almost-forgotten ballets from the ’20s and ’30s. Read more »

Goldies Dance winner Funkanometry SF

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Earlier this fall Funkanometry SF celebrated their fourth anniversary at the same place, 111 Minna Gallery, that is hosting this year's Goldies ceremony and party. They packed the joint. Between then and now the company has been places. Six core members — including directors Emerson Aquino and Gina Rosales — answered an invitation to travel to Bogotá, Colombia. Read more »

Goldies Dance winners Benjamin Levy and LEVYdance

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Benjamin Levy entered college as a future pediatrician. He left as a dancer — not exactly what his Jewish Iranian parents had in mind. "They were not pooh-poohing it," Levy recently recalled. "They just had no frame of reference. It was not even in their lexicon."
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Levy danced with the Joe Goode Performance Group for two seasons. "He was such a beautiful mover. He could do anything and was a good inventor and great collaborator," Goode says. Read more »

Goldies Dance winner Sean Dorsey

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One look at Sean Dorsey — a debonair dancer with slightly mussed hair and innovative modern dance choreographer — and two words instantly come to mind: dip me!
But watching him dance, you see more of a rough-and-tumble Gene Kelly than a gliding Fred Astaire. Which isn't to say he can't throw down a steamy tango, as he does in Red Tie, Red Lipstick, a moving pas de deux about violence against a transgender couple. Dorsey featured the piece, with narration by trans poet Marcus Van, in his first full-length show, Outsider Chronicles, staged last year at ODC Theater and soon to be remounted Nov. Read more »