REVIEW Moving from the small ODC Theater to the much larger Kanbar Hall of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco seems to have been a good idea for Benjamin Levy's LEVYdance. At the opening of its home season Oct. 12, a large crowd seemed curious to see what else the young choreographer has in his palette. The good news is that Levy has no intention of repeating himself. The two world premieres, Nu Nu and Bone Lines, showed him stepping outside his previously hyperkinetic fierceness and embracing a more imagistic approach to dance making. Read more »
You don't necessarily expect a choreographer to be interested in playing with conceits. After all, dancers work in an art form that is primarily nonverbal and movement driven. Yet Donna Uchizono's imagination embraces ideas in conjunction with physicality. "All of my work is concept based," she explained over the phone from her home in New York. "The idea always comes first, and then I develop a movement vocabulary to support the concept. So the pieces are very different from each other."
Sometimes she takes off from a single word. Read more »
Sol Niger ("Black sun" in Latin) sounds like a contradiction. Not that choreographertheater 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 coartistic 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »