October 2019 In Dance

OCT 2019

Arenas Dance Company, Oct 6, 11-12 Photo by Brooke Anderson

I always wanted to be a dancer, even before I knew what being a dancer was or might mean. Dreams become facts. The human body is on a 24-hour-a-day schedule of limitless activity; it’s dancing. Even in rest—oh glori- ous rest—each of us breathes, twitches, shifts, extends, rolls, as all 37.2 trillion cells in the body (yes, that’s from a google search) help each person function from natural to complex to mysterious ways that provide momentous opportunities for change and healing. Fact: there are over eight million dancers in the Bay Area. And our planet has 7.7 billion dancing people in the world, and growing. As you might surmise from this welcome, and pre- vious ones I’ve written for In Dance , I can get hyper- bolic — maybe even a tad obsessed — in expressing that dance is a circadian occurrence. One that is natu- ral, a birthright, a gift. While a tad gross I will cite another fact from a children’s book whose title suc- cinctly states “everybody poops” and equally true is that everybody dances. Dances are individualistic, cultural, stylized and many dances have and will be passed down from mas- ter artist to student, parent to child. Thanks to tech- nology the learning potential increases with online videos that anyone with access to the internet can enjoy and copy. Based on the ability to easily access dances, there comes the question of ownership and attribution of choreographed material. Can someone own a move? Welcome by WAYNE HAZZARD, ARTIST ADMINISTRATOR

Copyright a string of moves? And what are the ways to pay tribute —or just pay—for the moves that have come from someone else, from a specific place, or culture? This month many of the featured articles touch on the ongoing topic of appropriation and the super- complex nature of how movement and the teaching of movement mirrors the world’s struggles with capital- ism, racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, classism, ageism, ableism, and fat phobia. Dance exists as a forum to process and reveal these universal struggles. Dance might even demand that we take stock of ugly depictions of human behavior that reveal personal and shared histories. First time contributor to In Dance , Parya—a dancer born and raised in Iran, now working in the Bay Area as an Associate Professor of Medicine while getting their MFA—provides readers with insights into how the advantage of privilege continues to contribute to cultural appropriation.They suggest that by talk- ing about cultural appropriation they seek to “help break down barriers so that communities and cultures can promote their own art, speak for themselves, and profit from their work.” Both in words and imagery you will discover in this issue entry points to movement ideas, practices, and teaching that expands a dynamic discourse. We have the opportunity to further our dance dreams: a gift to evolve, learn, heal and transform. We can’t change what we don’t know — happy reading.

Ian Spencer Bell, Oct 14 Photo by Kahn & Selesnick

Shahrzad Dance Company, Oct 10-11 Photo courtesy of Michael Mares

GABRIEL MATA: On Using Personal Narrative

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THE CURRENT IMMIGRATION policy has sparked debate and protest throughout the country. For Mexican American dance cho- reographer Gabriel Mata dance is a form of protest. He uses dance and personal narra- tive to bring awareness to current unrest and remove the “façade” of dance choreography. Gabriel’s journey in dance began at the age of 16, the same time he learned of his undocu- mented status. Dance gave him the freedom that his newly discovered immigration status had stripped him of. What began as a stress reliever during a time of crisis has afforded Gabriel unique opportunities to explore the complexities of citizenship and risk- taking through dance. While preparing for his upcoming performance for SjDANCEco Gabriel opens up about his approach to dance, DACA (Deferred Action for Child- hood Arrivals) immigration status and what inspires him. Gabriel Mata: I draw inspiration from a variety of places. My training has been in Ballet, Jazz and modern contemporary. I combine Ballet and Modern in many of my pieces because my body can access the lines of Ballet and I appreciate the groundedness that modern dance offers. I am also trained in Limón technique, developed by Mexican immigrant artist José Limón in the ’70s. His choreography accessed humanistic forms of dance expression that resonated with me. I also like the fact that it was provocative for the time it was created and intention- ally makes space for the individual on stage. Another technique I pull inspiration from is the Cunningham technique developed by Merce Cunningham which is a complete con- trast from Limón. He focuses on the func- tionality of the body in really extreme ways without a narrative. GM: A lot of the talking dance and theater works I have created are very personal. I engage in a self-reflective process, in which I ask myself “how do I share this part of my life? How can I surprise the audience through unpredictability? And how do I layer one theme to the other?” One of my past pieces explored the theme of dream- ing. I took on every angle of dreaming like nightmares, daydreams, aspirations and my DACA dreamer status. I shared my night- mares of navigating the US as an immigrant and daydreams of what I aspire to be in the future. In collaborative pieces, we research how voice can enhance movement. We look at how a push or leap can be enhanced through the use of voice and narrative. AJ: On your website, you stated you create movement that “removes the facade of choreography”, what is the facade of choreography? GM: Choreography has a facade that limits full access to our body and the way relation- ships are performed on stage. The facade conforms to stereotypical relations whether male/female or male/male. Through the use of voice, I can explore deeper relationships. The facade also includes minimizing the indi- vidual. There is so much more to the dancer than their ability to master well-known cho- reography. For example, when you see the Nutcracker, you always get the same kind of choreography and the same narrative every time. They may be all smiles but there is a personal narrative not being shared that is valuable. Aries Jordan: Where do you pull inspiration for your choreography? AJ: What is your process for pairing dance moves with text? AJ: How has your DACA status informed or influenced how you dance? GM: I have combined the way I live with my art form. My DACA status has to lead me

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people out there intent on hurting Hispan- ics within the US. I realize that I am putting so much on the line in exposing so much about myself. At times I feel like I have to tread lightly when I am performing in differ- ent places within the country. Before I per- form I kiss the center of my hand and set the intention that my performance will further the narrative of what it means to be undocu- mented in this country. That helps to center me before any doubt starts to creep in. AJ: You have an upcoming solo performance Where/ I begin at sjDANCEco, what can audiences expect to see? GM: I have always held the identity of Mexi- can American because I was born in Mexico. This piece for me challenges any notions of citizenship based on where you were born. I came here when I was five and became who I am here! My education, profession and deepest relations with family and others have been here! To represent my experience I cre- ated an abstract design using masking tape. With voice and movement, I create spaces within the confines of the physical space. This piece tells the story of my life in which I am made to feel different even though I don’t feel different. ARIES JORDAN is an Educator, Storyteller, and Writer. She holds an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College. Her writing weaves prose, proverbs, and cultural narratives into enticing reviews, poems, blog posts, product and service de- scriptions that provoke thought and inner reflection. She is a proud New Yorker based in Oakland, CA. Social media: @ariesjthepoet There is so much more to the dancer than their ability to master well-known choreography. —GABRIEL MATA

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to believe and create radical contemporary dances that make a statement. Which is why I think the voice is so important for people who have navigated life as an immigrant whether documented or undocumented. One of my goals is to make it very clear to audiences that other narratives are out there. Many American born dancers take for granted their access and privilege that is not afforded to the immigrant community. As an immigrant, you don’t have access to grant funding and higher education needed to train or even network. AJ: You openly disclose and explore your immigration status on stage, are you ever concerned about repercussions in this polit- ical climate? GM: There are over 700,000 DACA recipi- ents of many different bodies and ethnici- ties in the United States. My mission is to create space for others who have had simi- lar experiences or share DACA status to see themselves. Something that concerns me is the reaction of audience members because I am a person of color, gay and undocu- mented. Negative thoughts do creep in the wake of the El Paso, Texas shooting, like what if someone shoots up the place because of how I identify. I am aware that there are


ON THIS PAGE / Gabriel Mata: On Using Personal Narrative by Aries Jordan 3 / IN PRACTICE: Adia Whitaker by Sima Belmar 4 / Questioning Contact Improvisation by Keith Hennessy 6 / October Calendar 8 / One Educator At a Time by Jochelle Pereña & Patricia Reedy 10 / What’s The Big Deal? by Parya 12 / A Tokushima Tradition by Mina Rios

sjDANCEco presents Etched in Time , Oct 18-19, 8pm, San Jose sjdanceco.org

2 in dance OCT 2019




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IN PRACTICE: Adia Whitaker & Àṣe Dance Theatre Collective: Having, Knowing, and Saying No to Fear by SIMA BELMAR

“YOU SHOULDN’T BE in a sonogram thinking, I’m going to have a little brown and black boy, and they’re going to try to kill him.” This is Adia Tamar Whitaker, artistic director of Àse Dance Theatre Collective, talking about her visit to the doctor when she was pregnant with her son. Of the many things she told me during our conversation in August, this is what I will be thinking about when I attend Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical at ODC Theater. Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical is an immersive dance theater performance ritual rooted in what Whitaker calls “neo-folk- loric” dance and music from the African Diaspora. As one of her dancers says in a 2014 crowd funding video, “We are fulfill- ing ancestral promises.”Whitaker has been working on this project for a decade, and as we mark the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in North America 1 , live, embodied engagements with this his- tory remind us that living bodies were and continue to be at stake. Whitaker, in a rare moment of understatement, said, “The piece I’m presenting is extremely relevant and will probably make people uncomfortable.” This is not to say that Whitaker tends to overstate a case. On the contrary, she contin- ually searches to say what’s been said without diminishing the fact that it bears repeating over and over again. That slavery begat capi- talism. That black people remain under siege in this country. That confronting white fra- gility as a person of color is exhausting. As a dancer and choreographer, Whitaker brings this conversation to bear on the global con- temporary concert dance community to cri- tique its “race-blind,” often ahistorical focus on somatics 2 : “There is a trend of embodi- ment happening throughout the field of dance that is strange for a lot of people of color because we never stopped cooking own food and raising babies. We never hired people to do it for us. We never left our bodies. This trend of embodiment is a neoliberal reorga- nization of capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. It upholds the same structures.” I asked Whitaker to say more about this trend: “Mind-body centering, mindfulness— wonderful. But it can also be another form of white silence as violence. A lot of the lan- guage used to guide meditations—focus- ing on making ‘everyone’ more mindful— doesn’t resonate with people of color in the same way, if at all. People of color need to be excused on this moment. We don’t not do this . We don’t set it aside to do. If you’re

scrubbing toilets with bleach, physically farm- ing, touching dirt, shoveling, taking babies to classes, being doormen, nannies, cooks—my parents have advanced degrees and I have them too, but I’m closer to people that were in their bodies than the many generations who hired help. We are always in our bodies because we can’t afford not to be. Our parents teach us this from the time we’re born and raise us this way.” During her MFA program at Hollins, Whitaker had to confront the force of invisi- bilized whiteness that grounds much of West- ern somatics discourse: “Someone would say, There’s an owl in your face and snake in your back. I know why it’s in my back because I have a different reference to it in African tradi- tion and folklore. They’re looking to Far East systems. But your people are from Europe. Go on to your Norse stuff, your Celtic stuff. Why are you going to the East? We all have the same archetypes.”When an instructor invites Whitaker to move from her synovial fluids, she balks: “I have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old. My synovial fluids are buried because of all the things I have to get through just to get in the room.” In reference to scholar-artists who “write papers and speak so poetically,” she asks, “Why do they get paid and I become a poem? They get to be real and I get to be mag- ical realism. They get to be the lung and I get to be the breath, which you can’t see.” 3 Most frustrating is the way mindfulness discourse is presented as “an isolated incident, not fol- lowed up by any kind of strategy-building session to change behavior. It feels like indoc- trination, much like the European Christians during enslavement except without the physi- cal violence. This kind of violence is like car- bon monoxide poisoning.” For those of you who don’t know, Whitaker is talking to a white critic-scholar, one who has been listening to the podcast “About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge.” So I’m supposed to know better than to ask, “What can I do to help?” 4 which lobs the responsibility to effect change right back to the person of color. 5 And yet, I asked Whitaker what I ask every artist I interview: What do you want from this arti- cle? What would serve you and the work the most? Whitaker: “I don’t have the answer. Are you going to give up your comforts? Can we really break anything open?” Whitaker is bringing herself and eleven members of the collective to ODC— Stepha- nie Bastos, Tilishia Bradley Goveia, Erin Bryce Holmes, Alexandra Jean-Joseph, Tossie Long, Imani Nzingha, Brian Polite, Kendra J.

Ross, Zakiya Harris aka Sh8peshifter, and Guy deChalus, “twelve black people storm- ing the white house.” That alone will make certain people uncomfortable. “My work at ODC was not created for a proscenium space. It was created for the people, for something to happen on the street, maybe as a form of protest, more to activate space, to get people to move or shift where they may otherwise not feel safe or comfortable doing so. All of these trends—of diversity, of inclu- sion—it’s important the work is being done, that people are willing to be uncomfortable, but when we’re brought into historically white spaces to do this work, we are met with a lot of ambivalence and confusion. We don’t want a seat at the table. We want to build new tables.” During the interview, Whitaker struggled with feeling like she’s “biting the hand that feeds me” when she spoke critically of the people and institutions that have supported her work. Another example is the docu- mentary short film, Have No Fear, which was directed and produced by Beata Calin- ska, Sarah Jacobson, and Tracie Williams, three white women: “The neighborhoods in Brooklyn have been so gentrified, and these white women, my neighbors, needed an art- ist for their film. So I thought, let me try. We had this very interesting experience. Many filmmakers of color have done films on Àse, but this film went all over the world, winning awards. Then, one evening in 2015, I’m at Brooklyn Bridge Park playing with my kids, when I see there’s an outdoor film festival. They screened Have No Fear before Foot- loose . I still hadn’t seen it and I’m the subject! And it makes it look like I’m a single mother! I have a husband and he’s a great dad.” Whitaker expresses gratitude without ambivalence when she talks about her teach- ers in San Francisco and Oakland— Albirda Rose, Alicia Pearce, Malonga Casquelourd, Susie Whipp, Wendy Diamond, and Reginald Ray Savage. At one point she got “Dunham- ed out” and began studying with Blanche Brown, who took her into Group Petit La Croix. Later, Whitaker got involved in the Hip Hop scene, and joined a chapter of Uni- versal Zulu Nation: “Studying Hip Hop was everything. In San Francisco, it was different from the East Bay. We were more scrappy than Oakland folks. The Oakland folks brought the drum into my life. It was the medicine I needed to be more calm, less angry. If you grow up in SF, even if you’re not from the hood, which I was not, there’s

worlds. In the lobby, the performers will greet audience members and pass out hymnals. As we move from theater to the liminal space of the lobby, and the hymnals pass from hand to hand, we re-enter the theater as religious space, spiri- tual space, ritual space. Whitaker: “It’s challenging for me to work in this space and take the risk to create immer- sive theater tools, and prompt people to move around. And it’s been interesting to be in a space that tells you what to do. It’s like our position in the US. The fabric of nation is what it is—do we have to do what it says? What kind of changes are we really making? Are we just reorganizing what’s already there? I’m excited because it’s a beautiful theater and I want people to watch me, I want to be a super- star. But I have to also be able to be uncomfort- able in this process. If I don’t take a risk, who will?” Whitaker’s talk is full of questions like these, questions that lead to more questions. I don’t think she would position her dance theater work as answers per se, but rather as actual- izations of questions in real time, positioned as a mode of listening to ancestors. She views the work as an “emergent strategy” (Adrienne Maree Brown), hoping it will “put people in the shift to move in a new direction. It falls on me to explain a million times but I don’t know where somebody doesn’t benefit off the suf- fering of another? I want to go there, will you take me?” SIMA BELMAR, PH.D. , is a Lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at the Uni- versity of California, Berkeley. Her writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Oakland Tribune, Dance Magazine, TDR, Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, Performance Matters, Con- temporary Theatre Review, and The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies. To keep up with Sima’s writing please subscribe to tinyletter.com/simabelmar. 1.PDFs of The New York Times Magazine August 18, 2019 special edition, “The 1619 Project,” and accompanying reading guides are available through the Pulitzer Center. 2.For more on the violence of the neutral in somatics and contem- porary dance, see Rebecca Chaleff’s “Activating Whiteness: Racial- izing the Ordinary in US American Postmodern Dance” (2018) and Isabelle Ginot’s “From Shusterman’s Somaesthetics to a Radical Epistemology of Somatics” (2010). For an excellent (and growing) list of resources around anti-racism, whiteness, and dance, go to http://danceandwhiteness.coventry.ac.uk/resources/ 3.On walking the razor’s edge of visibility as privilege and curse, see Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s The Black Dancing Body: A Geog- raphy from Coon to Cool (2003). On “[s]lowing down to be quiet” as a “bourgeois response born of white privilege,” and so much more, see Thomas F. DeFrantz, “I Am Black ( you have to be willing to not know ). 4.When “The High Low” podcasters Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton asked her what they could do as white people to help end racism, Eddo-Lodge said, “I don’t know where you hold influence in your life. I don’t know your friends. I don’t know the extent of your jobs. I don’t know where you can assess where the institutional rac- ism is really taking hold in your sector and what you as individuals can attempt to do to change that. And so I’m in no position to tell you how you in both of your lives can attempt to try and change the problem. […] Only you can diagnose that.” She then quotes Lilla Watson, Aboriginal activist from Queensland, Australia: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” 5. To be schooled on the phenomenon of shedding “white women’s tears,” see Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (2018). And to be schooled on Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, see Lauren Michele Jackson’s “What’s Missing from ‘White Fragility’” in Slate, 9/4/19.

still a certain amount of street life trauma. Around 1993 "we stopped danc- ing at parties because of all "the shootings. I was going to funeral homes in the midst of going to SF State. I’m still alive. A lot of my friends aren’t.” Whitaker moved to New York at 24, right when she was “becoming a person”: “I am the baby of many people and I was a bit of a joker/shit-talker, so I had to leave the Bay to show people I was serious.” Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical is an evening- length work divided into three sections. Section I is designed for the traditional proscenium arch: “You can sit there, entertained up in the palace watching people work down in the field.” Section II is a screening of Have No Fear. Intermis- sion is designed to function as a transition between

ODC Theater presents Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical , October 17-19, SF, odc.dance/Bluessical

Photo by Orfeas Skutelis


in dance OCT 2019

by KEITH HENNESSY Questioning Contact Improvisation

INTRODUCTION For more than 15 years I’ve been work- ing to understand and to explain how the social contexts of contact improvisation (CI) remain predominantly white and hetero- sexual despite the radical potential of the dancing and the utopian intentions of many CI dancers. The whiteness and gender norms in CI parallel many other predominantly white alternative cultures developed since the 1960s (e.g., yoga in the West, Burning Man, rave cultures, Radical Faeries, new age and tantra scenes...), which in turn parallel the development of neoliberalism and the back- lash against the social and political changes of the 60s. The central question of my PhD dissertation was: How do predominantly white alternative cultures defeat their stated intentions and wishes by reproducing mainstream or hege- monic injustices? At almost every CI gathering or festival some well-intentioned person asks, as if for the first time, “Why are there so few Black people here?” or “Where are the people of color?” Resisting rigorous self-reflection and political engagement, we fail to satisfacto- rily respond to the question. And then we go back to dancing, as if asking the question was enough, and as if the lack of an articu- late response affirms the group identity as creative explorers. Recently, especially since the emergence and mobilization of Black Lives Matter, the way that race, racism, and white supremacy get addressed in CI con- texts is changing, for the better. No one ever declared that the intention of contact improvisation was to eradicate white supremacy and patriarchy. But how many times has someone linked CI dancing (or Modern dance, or dance in general) to free- dom, to feminism, to peace, to community, to creating an alternative to the ugly aspects of mainstream cultures? My writing is not intended as condemnation. It is an inquiry. It would be too easy to reduce my observa- tions and questions to an indictment of CI as racist and heterosexist. Early CI dancers rejected institutionalization and encouraged egalitarianism. I am offering this analysis with the same intentions. The work of Black, African American, POC/non-white, queer feminist, and post- colonial writers and activists haunt and inspire this writing. They move me to chal- lenge the claims and assumptions of too many CI practitioners, teachers and writers that contact improvisation is freeing, healing, and good for all people; claims that ignore or dismiss difference, pain, or critique. I reject the frequent claim of CI dancers who, when dancing, can’t see skin color, gender or difference of any kind. I reject naïve and poorly considered claims of the body as uni- versal, of dance as universal. THE QUESTION Dominant cultures maintain power by nam- ing Others while avoiding naming them- selves. The white liberal question, “Why are there so few Black people here?” reflects this external gaze and helps to invisibilize whiteness and the supremacist structures that shape both mainstream and alterna- tive cultures. So let’s flip the question from, “Where are the people of color?” to, “How is this dance exclusionary?” or “How does this dance space reproduce white suprem- acy?” Let’s put the focus on white people to better understand how whiteness is produced and reproduced. Too many white people ask, “Why are there no - or so few - Black peo- ple” as if the failure has been one of promo- tion or outreach rather than considering the impacts of colonialism and structural racism on all dancing and on the choices people make or cannot imagine making. Progressive and regressive practices can be happening at the same time, in the same room, at any given jam. Contact improv is often praised for its resonance with feminist

How does the notion of dancing-as-refuge privilege whiteness and middle class access? How does political dis-engagement allow other kinds of cultural research and social experimentation to flourish? Do CI dancers consider the jam as “safe space” and what does that mean for folks who sense danger, especially with respect to issues of self and collective identity, deter- mination, agency? If contact is for fugitives or refugees, what are they fleeing? ​ Do you want to talk about consent before dancing? 5 Do you want CI teachers and jam orga- nizers to create contexts for learning new practices of clarifying boundaries, non-ver- bal consent, saying no, and saying yes? Does the mention of rape culture in a CI opening circle make you feel more com- fortable or more awkward, more willing, or more resistant? Is massage or cuddling, especially towards the end of the dance, part of your expected CI dance vocabulary? Is all touch OK until someone says no, or is it every dancer’s responsibility to listen more closely to non-verbal cues with the intention of avoiding forcing anyone to say no? How do your romantic feelings influence your dancing or the choosing of dance partners? What are the best conditions for nurtur- ing a dance of increasing trust, pleasure, and intimacy? How are men or women or queerly gendered folks reading these questions differently? How are white and POC dancers reading these questions differently? Can CI be supportive of decolonial or queer...? Can an improvised dance of shifting weight (shifting centers) be used to de-center modernity’s Eurocentric norms? How do we negotiate CI’s hippy tenden- cies and identities? Is it true that no one is free unless we’re all free? “What political territories are exposed, broadened, or critiqued through the simple act of two bodies in contact?” 6 Can CI dance experimentation expand our relational awareness, ethical capacity, and mutual solidarity? What am I doing right now? Am I listening? Where is my body? Will I yield to this dance of questioning? KEITH HENNESSY was born in a mining town in Northern Ontario, Canada, lives in San Francisco, and tours internationally. He is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. Hennessy directs Circo Zero, a laboratory for live performance that plays with genre and expecta- tion. Rooted in dance, Hennessy’s work embodies a unique hybrid of performance art, music, visual and conceptual art, circus, and ritual. Published by Circo Zero, San Francisco, 2018. Reprint, 2019. Responses welcome: keith@circozero.org 1. Ray Chung. 2015. Personal interview re: dancing in Ukraine and Israel. 2. DIXON GOTTSCHILD, Brenda. (1996). Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance . Westport CT: Greenwood Press. 3. Ibid. 4. Anna Halprin, Ceremony of Us , created with dancers from Watts/Los Angeles, 1969 5. This question and the following section are adapted from: GOTTLIEB, SARAH. 2018. “Myths to Break Down: Moving Toward Ethical Communication and Ethical Sexuality in CI.” Published on Contact Improvisation Blog, http://contactimprovblog.com/ myths-to-break-down-moving-toward-ethical-communica- tion-and-ethical-sexuality-in-ci/ 6. Scott Wells. 2016. Promo text for Touchy Subjects,

P hoto by Robbie Sweeny

and LGBT/queer goals of troubling male supremacy and complicating distinct gen- der roles. Same gender intimacy and female agency are common in contact improvsa- tion’s dancing duets. Male yielding and female strength are also core values or prac- tices that shape the dancing. And yet CI social scenes too frequently espouse essen- tialist new age distinctions between women and men, between female and male energies, that further alienate queer and non-binary dancers who might already feel awkward or unwelcome. Simultaneously, the pleasure seeking hetero male is empowered in most CI spaces, which results in a steady stream of complaints by women about young and mid- dle-aged men who exploit the ‘free body’ cul- ture of the dancing to manipulate or betray consent. Every jam has its story of the ‘prob- lem man’ who has had to be disciplined or ostracized after repeatedly creeping women out or betraying their boundaries, but until recently very few jams have taken collective responsibility for this sexist dynamic. This zine presents questions with no answers as an admission that I am far from being able to propose an articulate program for un-performing white and male privilege. I answer questions with more questions, hoping to activate the readers’ answers, responses, and further questions. QUESTIONS Is contact improvisation white and straight? Are most of the dancers white and the majority of the duets male/female? Do we recognize or erase the people of color, the queers, and the non-normative bodies when we say mostly white and mostly straight? Do these questions limit or liberate the dancing? How does the social scene around the dancing influence the dancing? How do I touch somebody? Is it possible to touch each other, across lines of difference, beyond representational frames? Is it possible to de-socialize touch? Does contact improvisation produce sites where alternatives of touch, discourse, and imagination can happen? Who is welcome to those sites? Is anyone NOT welcome? “Because if you can’t do it by dancing together, how else can you get past this stuff about being together as humans?” 1 What are the multicultural influences on CI? Where does the term “jam” come from? 2 Can we theorize the pelvis’ centrality in contact improvisation as an Africanist aes- thetic? 3 How do we theorize and historicize the dropped center that Simone Forti learned from copying a Black man dancing in an erotic exchange? Did you know that Anna Halprin modeled her naturalist walking on Black embodiment? 4

Did you know that Halprin considered “white walking” to be too stiff and not free? What is the influence of rock n roll and therefore of Africanist music and dance on the arts scenes from which CI emerged? How is the approach of free improvisa- tion linked to jazz, to Black innovation and resistance? What are the Japanese influences on CI dancing? How did Aikido and Zen influence the embodiment and awareness practices of early CI dancers? How did centuries of Chinese and Japa- nese philosophies and martial arts practices produce the Aikido roll? How did Western dance, especially CI, change with the introduction of Aikido’s spi- raling, yielding, redirecting, flowing? How have Buddhist meditation practices influenced the somatic awareness practices taught in CI classes? How has Taoism, through its healing arts and somatic practices, been syncretized into CI dancing? How do Chinese American dancers, especially as CI teachers, influence the cross- cultural development of the dancing? When did dancers start sitting in circles? How have indigenous and Xicanx dancers influenced CI? How does the dancing change when engaged by queer Latinx femmes? What are the regional and cultural dialects of CI? How does the dancing shift or hybrid- ize as dancers travel from Beijing to Seat- tle, from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo, from Freiburg to Berkeley, from Kisingani to Dakar to Ramallah to Melbourne to Kiev...? How does a more complicated under- standing of CI’s non-European influences transform our understanding of CI and therefore our dancing and therefore our- selves? What is the difference between appropria- tion, fusion, and syncretism? What are the settler or colonial dynamics of cultural fusion or hybridity? Is it too late to care about cultural appro- priation? Does decolonization depend on reparations? Can cultural debts be repaid? Can a segregated subculture be politically effective? How do white people who identify as anti- racist or not-racist continue to reproduce privileged and segregated social contexts? Am I too impatient, or was Nina Simone correct in singing out, “Too slow!”? Is CI a site of political refuge? Why does it flourish during or imme- diately following social unrest, national trauma or crisis? How does contact improvisation invite or allow a withdrawing from political engage- ment, a space of retreat and refuge?

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Gravity Access Services Introducing Live Audio Description For Dance and Theater Make your next event more accessible: * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * www.jesscurtisgravity.org/access

ODC Theater Presents Àse Dance Theater Collective Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical October 17-19, 8PM


in dance OCT 201

calendar OCT 2019 VISIT THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CALENDAR, to find additional events and to submit a performance. dancersgroup.org

Tara Pilbrow Dance The Fireside Lounge, Alameda

“Stop Drop Drink” follows a group of intrepid performers as they delve into the whys and wherefores of the human desire to gather, to connect and more often than not... to drink. Sat, Sep 28; Sat, Oct 5; Sat, Oct 12; Sun, Oct 13, shows at 7pm, $25. stop-drop-drink.brownpapertickets.com Alonzo King LINES Ballet Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Two jazz luminaries return to San Francisco for a world premiere collaboration with Alonzo King. Tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pia- nist Jason Moran perform their second com- missioned score for LINES Ballet. Tue-Sat, Oct 1-5, 7:30pm; Sun, Oct 6, 2pm & 6pm, $45-$95 linesballet.org

Sintonía Presidio Theatre, SF

Sintonía ( in harmony, in Spanish), a new Oak- land-based flamenco dance troupe founded in 2018 by Fanny Ara and Marina Elana, presents its inaugural production, Tattooed , an experi- mental flamenco dance performance about survivors’ strength and resilience. Thu, Oct 3, 7pm; Fri-Sat, Oct 4-5, 8pm, $25-$50 sintoniadance.com

Joanna Haigood Zaccho Dance Theatre, SF between me and the other world is an

exploration of scholar and civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois’ seminal work The Souls of Black Folk . This performance installation has been created in collaboration with composer Anthony Brown, media artist David Szlasa, and scenic designer Sean Riley. Thu-Sun, Oct 3-6, 7-10pm, Free, except Thur, Oct 3 Preview zaccho.org Davalos Dance Company Shawl-Anderson Center, Berkeley Launching their 25th season, the Davalos Dance Company remounts their first full-eve- ning work originally titled Borders, Spaces and Brown-eyed Girls . The 2019 version, Borders, Spaces and Brown-Eyes features a new cast from the Latina/o/x diaspora. Sat, Oct 5, 8pm; Sun, Oct 6, 5pm & 7pm, $15-$16.74. shawl-anderson.org

San Francisco Trolley Dances, Oct 19-20 / photo by Kim Epifano

Arenas Dance Company EastSide Cultural Center, Oakland Dance Mission Theater with Eastside Arts Alliance presents ARENAS DANCE COMPANY in ¡Eso sí! to celebrate the 20th anniversary of director Susana Arenas Pedroso’s arrival in the United States. Sun, Oct 6, 6pm, $18-$27 dancemission.com Shahrzad Dance Company SAFEhouse Arts, SF Footloose presents Shahrzad Dance Company in Symbols of Love . The symbolic

Haft-seen (“seven S’s”) comes to life, as dancers portray characteristics associated with each symbol, every dance emoting and inspir- ing love from a different perspective. Thu-Fri, Oct 10-11, 7:30pm, $15-$20. safehousearts.org

Rotunda Dance Series: SF Awakko Ren

San Francisco City Hall Rotunda, SF SF Awakko Ren’s six dancers perform a col- lection of pieces, along with one ten-minute piece to live traditional music by seven musi- cians; two Shamisen among them (a three stringed instrument). Audience participation is encouraged. The Rotunda Dance Series is pre- sented by Dancers’ Group and World Arts West in partnership with Grants for the Arts and SF City Hall. Fri, Oct 11, 12pm, Free. dancersgroup.org Arenas Dance Company Dance Mission Theater, SF Dance Mission Theater, in partnership with Eastside Arts Alliance, presents ARENAS DANCE COMPANY in ¡Eso sí! to celebrate the 20th anniversary of director Susana Arenas Pedroso’s arrival in the United States. Fri-Sat, Oct 11-12, 8pm; Sun, Oct 13, 6pm, $18-$27 dancemission.com

Noche Flamenca, Oct 31-Nov 16 / photo by Peter Graham

The New Ballet Corinthian Ballroom, San Jose The New Ballet presents an evening of tricks, treats, and dark beauty at their annual Hal- loween Extravaganza. Dance the night away and enjoy an unforgettable party at a spec- tacular Halloween event for the entire family. Sun, Oct 13, 4-8pm, $50-$200 newballet.com

Ian Spencer Bell CounterPulse, SF

Litquake , San Francisco’s literary festival, presents Ian Spencer Bell performing Duet + Marrow , two dance works with original poetry.

Mon, Oct 14, 7pm, $20 ianspencerbell.com

MOMIX, Oct 19-21 / photo by Max Pucciariello

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The New Ballet, Oct 13 / photo by Bari Lee

Hannah Ayasse & Company and Dustin Ordway SAFEhouse, SF Hannah Ayasse and Company present scores on listening . Dustin Ordway presents a work- in-progress that was inspired by the sculptural process of life-casting. Fri-Sat, Oct 25-26, 8pm. $15-$20. safehousearts.org AXIS Dance Company Z Space, SF in·ter·twine: Alice in Californialand , is the company’s first international commission, choreographed by Arthur Pita. Completing the triple bill will be Flutter from POST:Ballet Artistic Director Robert Dekkers and a premiere of Pet- richor, the smell of earth after rain from NYC choreographer Jennifer Archibald. Fri-Sat, Oct 25-26, 8pm; Sun, Oct 27, 2pm. $20-$75. zspace.org Sarah Bush Dance Project The Flight Deck, Oakland Un-Changing Nature invites reflection, con- versation and community interaction around the important notions of compassion for the planet and empathy for the health and safety of its inhabitants. Fri-Sat, Oct 25-26, 8pm; Sun, Oct 27, 3pm. $20. sarahbushdance.org

Oakland Ballet Bankhead Theater, Livermore

est musical release Pasifika . The collection includes original Hawaiian and Tahitian songs inspired by the land, the ocean and places of spiritual significance. Fri, Oct 18, 8pm, $20. rhythmix.org

An array of dances including Graham Lustig’s Luna Mexicana ballet which highlights Dia de los Muertos, and Viva la Vida! , a collaboration between Lustig and Martin Romero, artistic director of Ballet Folklórico México Danza, honoring the life of Frida Kahlo. Featuring Bal- let Folklorico México Danza and Aztec dance company Nahui Ehekatl & Co. Thu, Oct 17, 7:30 pm, $20-55. oaklandballet.org

MOMIX Bankhead Theater, Livermore

Through its trademark use of magical lighting and imagery, Artistic Director Moses Pendle- ton combines athletic dance, riveting music, outrageous costumes, and inventive props to create a multimedia experience. Sat, Oct 19, 8pm, $20-95. lvpac.org Nā Lei Hulu presents Kahulanui Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, SF The Hawaiian jazz sensation returns for another lindy-hopping, jaw-dropping hula ex- travaganza. Sat-Sun, Oct 19-20, Sat at 7:30pm; Sun at 2:30pm, $35-90. cityboxoffice.com San Francisco Trolley Dances International Art Museum of America, SF An annual, admission-free festival present- ing dawnsondancesf, GERALDCASELDANCE, Guillermo Galindo, Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company, MoToR/dance, SoulForce, plus Epiphany Dance Theater. Sat-Sun, Oct 19-20 11am-5pm, Free. epiphanydance.org RAW presents eMotion Arts SAFEhouse Arts, SF Presenting an extract of The Act of the Dreamer , a new work that explores how moving to a different country/culture transforms the individ- ual. Score by Bay Area composer Peter Colcla- sure. Sat-Sun, Oct 19-20, 7-9:30pm, $15-$20. safehousearts.org Dimensions Dance Theater Lisser Hall at Mills College, Oakland Armed With Joy , Erik K. Raymond Lee’s piece explores the idea that joy is the best bulwark against the inevitable slings and arrows life sends. Sanctuary , Latanya d. Tigner’s newest piece, examines ideas of safety, both in places of solitude and in community. Sat, Oct 19, 8pm; Sun, Oct 20, 4pm, $15-$25. eventbrite.com

Àse Dance Theatre Collective ODC Theater, SF

Drawing on traditions of the African diaspora, Have K(NO!)w Fear: A Bluessical is a work of ritual dance theater, live music and film. An “undoing spell to untie all the knots that choke the future, from natural disasters and systematic oppression to forced migration.” Thu-Sat, Oct 17-19, 8pm, $15-30. odc.dance

eMotion Arts, Oct 19-20 / photo by Kyle Adler

Māhealani Uchiyama | Hālau Ka Ua Tuahine

Rhythmix Cultural Works, Alameda Mahealani Uchiyama and her halau presents music and dances from Uchiyama’s new-

AXIS Dance Company, Oct 25-27 photo by David DeSilva

MOMIX Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose Viva: MOMIX uses mannequins, neon-lit costumes, and life-size spinning tops to go far beyond the medium of dance and take audi- ences through a transformation of the natural world into surreal fantasy. Sun-Mon, Oct 20- 21, 7:30pm, $45-$60. sjsu.edu/hammertheatre dancersgroup. org/calendar/hammer-theatre-center- presents-viva-momix/all/ St Louis-based performance artist, dancer and choreographer Tom Brady, in collabora- tion with Monica Newsam and videographer Zlatko Cosic, brings a 40-year work-in- progress to San Francisco. Thu-Sat, Oct 24-26, 8pm, $15-$25. odc.dance Dancing Earth Dance Mission Theater, SF A multimedia dance theater work that il- luminates the practical, spiritual and cultural aspects of renewable energy, combining inter- tribal perspectives with Indigenous futurities. Sat, Oct 26, 8pm; Sun, Oct 27, 6pm. $20-$25. Dancemissiontheater.org ANNONY Arts ODC Theater, SF

Roy Batty PianoFight, SF

More Human Than Human: Dawn of the Rep- licants is a staged Blade Runner-prequel, with choreography by Jennifer Cedar-Craft. Thu-Fri, Oct 31-Nov 1, 7:30pm; Sat, Nov 2, 5pm; Thu- Fri, Nov 7-8, 7:30pm, $25. pianofight.com

Noche Flamenca Z Space, SF

Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Noche Flamenca Artistic Director Martín Santangelo and lead dancer Soledad Barrio, Entre Tú y Yo explores the possibilities and constraints of relationships. Thu-Sat, Oct 31- Nov 16, 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm, $25-$70. zspace.org

Alonzo King LINES, Oct 1-6 / photo by RJ Muna

Dancing with ED The Flight Deck, Oakland

Stages of Change: A Dancers Body Journey is a collection of choreography performed by dancers, their family, and friends impacted by eating disorders, body image struggles, and addiction. Sun, Oct 20, 7pm, $20. dancingwithed.com

Joanna Haigood, Oct 3-6 / photo courtesy of the artist

ANNONY Arts, Oct 24-26 / photo by Gerry Love


in dance OCT 2019

Supporting One Educator at a Time, Over Time


means to embody multiple roles of artist, educator, parent, and community builder. Dasha Che is another young leader Luna has engaged with. A Russian-born, Bay Area- based dance artist, Dasha came to an ini- tial consult with a vision of bringing dance improvisation workshops to the LGBTQ+ community of St. Petersburg, Russia. Chal- lenging the socio-political environment that marginalizes and oppresses LGBTQ+ bodies, Dasha planned to offer a creative space for How can I design unique movement experiences to allow students to honor their family legacies? folx to experience physical freedom, touch, and expression. As we unpacked Dasha’s developing program in that first consult, we talked about how the success of the work- shops would rely on a strong pedagogical foundation and a reflective practice. A sea- soned dance artist, Dasha decided to enroll in Luna’s Developing & Implementing Dance Curricula - A, a course that was developed to strengthen teaching skills, particularly those of curriculum design, leading movement classes, and observing and responding to the needs of students. A year later we heard from Dasha, this time thrilled to tell us about the growth of their program, Telaboratoria, that taught 350 hours of dance classes to over 200 LGBTQ+ folks over nine months. Their pilot run was ready to take off again, and while they were writing grants to fund another year of free community classes in Russia, Dasha was seeking more training as a dance educator to take Telaboratoria into its next stage. They signed up for Develop- ing & Implementing Dance Curricula - B, which focuses on building lessons into longer units, teaching the art of composition, and creating a personalized teaching philosophy. We know we’ll continue to be in touch with Dasha as they cultivate their program and their voice as an artist-educator-activist. While we often meet emerging dance teaching artists through our consults, expert educators call in too for fresh per- spectives and curricular shifts. Lisa Simon is the Lower School Dance Educator at ‘Iolani School in Hawaii, and despite liv- ing an ocean away, she was destined to join Luna’s learning community. “I first visited Luna while on vacation about ten years ago, then reconnected recently on the advice of artistic coach Hope Mohr. As I explored Luna’s website, I was drawn to the wide range of offerings uniquely tailored to sup- port dance educators,” Lisa explains. A vet- eran dance educator who has led her school’s program over the past 25+ years, she spent her semester-long sabbatical investing in inquiry and her own professional develop- ment. Lisa signed up to be a Professional Learning User, which allowed her to book a series of consults and dive deep into her questions: How can I bring classes outside to my school’s new natural playground, to play through movement and respond creatively to an interactive environment? How can I strengthen community with relationship- based dance opportunities including multi- generational participation? How can I design unique movement experiences to allow stu- dents to honor their family legacies? Lisa then flew out to take an Improvisation and Community workshop with us to glean more ideas and to put into action some of what she discussed in her consults. Lisa shares, “My Luna consults with Nancy Ng and Patricia Reedy have included rich conversa- tions about turning ‘dream big’ ideas into the movement opportunities I design for young —LISA SIMON, LOWER SCHOOL DANCE EDUCATOR AT ‘IOLANI SCHOOL, HAWAII

BY 6PM ON THE LAST TUESDAY of any given month, you’ll find a Luna Dance Institute faculty member in a sweat and speed-talking as they jog back-and-forth from their office phone, to our Professional Learning library for an in-person meeting. This sweaty-ses- sion is part of Luna’s free consultations that provide back-to-back coaching sessions over a three-hour period. Each consult presents the dance artists at Luna with impromptu inquiries into dance education. The monthly marathon tests our teachers’ skills of impro- visation as they listen to and support a unique spectrum of dance teaching artists working in various capacities. It’s exhausting, but it’s the kind of exhaustion that is also exhilarating. While by the end of the evening the consultant may collapse in a chair, it is not without a smile on their face, happy to have stretched their creative muscles. When Luna began offering professional development workshops in 1994, we saw a steady stream of questions flowing in about the art of teaching dance. Eventually it became too much to answer every question immediately — there were far too many — and yet we didn’t want to abandon the men- toring and Q&A services entirely. Clearly there was a need for an ad hoc dance educa- tor support system. Therefore, in 2008 we launched our free monthly consultations as a way to give back to the field, share our expertise, and listen to the needs of our fel- low artist educators. For more than a decade, we’ve heard a wide-range of questions from dance practi- tioners from throughout California, across the States, and around the globe, such as— How do I change careers from engineer to dance teacher? My curriculum is too restrictive, what can I do? How do I get a dance program going? How can I expand

students. The generous offering of consult sessions sparked exciting developments for our program at `Iolani and my own growth as a dance educator.” Local dance artists often book in-person consultations and meet us in our Profes- sional Learning library. Besides forming meaningful, real-life connections, these face- to-face sessions allow us to pull articles, books, and resources off the library shelves to help answer questions and provide cur- riculum examples. Highlights of these local inquiries include helping prepare proposals for conference presentations or new pro- grams; orienting Bay Area newcomers to the dance resources of the region; and introduc- ing teachers to experts in their topic of inter- est such as special education, intergenera- tional teaching, or cultural dance forms. Our Professional Learning faculty rotates in our position of monthly consultant so that we each have a turn fielding questions. When we’re on call our own creativity is chal- lenged. We must be flexible, fluid, and quick while challenging ourselves to stretch out- side of our own box. In 30 minutes we lis- ten deeply to what is being asked (and what is not), ask strategic questions to uncover more, then offer a tidbit of advice that is meaningful to the caller. Such a great creativ- ity workout. These consults also benefit Luna by serv- ing as “field research” to the pedagogy we offer in our professional learning work- shops. By spending so much time listen- ing to dance educators, we ensure our fin- gers are on the pulse of what’s going on in our field — what questions and inquiry are being presented now, what are the current big issues today? This influences our own research at Luna and informs the design of each year’s Professional Learning calen- dar of workshops and events. And there’s always that surprise call from a Luna work- shop alum from many years ago. Sometimes they’re looking for a curricular refresher, but more often than not, they’re in a new leader- ship position and calling for advice on how to step up as an advocate for dance educa- tion. When we get off the phone we exclaim to everyone in the office, “Guess who I just heard from! And guess what they’re doing now!”We’re reminded why we are a relationship-based organization and of the impact of investing in connections. It’s excit- ing to reunite and even more exciting to cel- ebrate the growth of these practitioner lead- ers. And it keeps us hopeful for the future of our field, as we hear about their projects and help them strengthen their voice and vision. You can read about some of these leaders and their stories on our website at https:// lunadanceinstitute.org/news/blog/#teachers- creating-change. What can we help you with? No question is too big or small. If you are curious about any aspect of dance teaching and learning— from curriculum advice to career counseling to a leadership pep talk—we’re here for you. Give us a call, or come meet us in person. Free consultations are scheduled in 30-min- ute increments between 3:30 and 6pm the last Tuesday of each month. Reserve your time at http://lunadanceinstitute.org/pro- fessional-learning/resources/consultations/ #DanceEducatorHotline #Askadanceeduca- tor #ForadanceteachingemergencycallLuna PATRICIA REEDY is the Executive Director of Creativity & Pedagogy at Luna Dance Institute and JOCHELLE PEREÑA is Luna’s Professional Learning Manager. They have worked together since 2011 to support artists and educators to spread their wings and, as they do so, to challenge oppression and knock down obstacles in their paths.

the program I already have? What advice do you have about a labor dispute with my employer? The questions we get run the gamut. Sometimes a question launches a long-term relationship that offers us an up-close view of a dance education leader emerging. Julie Lebel is one such person. She first called us after reading the May 2012 issue of In Dance which included an article by Patricia, co-writer of this article, about early child development. As the founder of Foolish Operations Ensemble, Julie had been intent on continuing her work as an artist and cho- reographer after becoming a parent. After touring Stroller Dances, she launched Paper Playground and Dancing the Parenting, two programs that bring dancers, choreogra- phers, parents, caregivers, and young chil- dren together to engage in creative process and performance. She visited Luna to take the first Family Dance Institute offered in 2014, then returned to Vancouver to expand her dance-parenting programs. Julie invited Patricia to give the keynote address at a con- ference she was organizing in Vancouver and teach several community workshops while she was there. Foolish Operations performed Yarn-Around at that conference which led to several hours of dialogue between Julie and Patricia about intention and tension trying to meet the needs of parents and children in the same space. Recently, Julie called again, requesting help to document her pedagogi- cal theory and practice and develop a train- ing module so that she can build capacity by teaching other choreographer-teacher- parents how to do what she does. We all saw this as a way to help Julie expand her program and allow her to continue to tour her choreographic work. We at Luna look forward to this new 2019-20 partnership to continue to push the envelope of what it

by LENORA LEE DANCE at Dance Mission Theater

world premiere of

FRiDAy / SATuRDAy Nov 1st - 2nd | 8pm SuNDAy Nov 3rd | 5pm


photo of Lynn huang by Robbie Sweeny deSign olivia ting

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

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