April 2018 In Dance

Published by Dancers' Group, In Dance is discourse and dialogue to unify, strengthen, and amplify.

APRIL 2018

Berkeley Folk Dancers, part of Bay Area Dance Week Photo courtesy of the artist

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Apr 10–15 Photo by Andrew Eccles

Carla Service, p.12 Photo by Ah Sou Saechao

picture the scene : my 16 month old daughter hands me a book. We read it together (it’s short, so that doesn’t take long) and she’ll immediately shove it back towards me. “Read it, again,” the gesture means. And again after that. She is en- grossed by the images and words slowly making sense with all of the repetition. Another time, she stands on the floor in front of the couch and tosses a leg up. She clumsily scrambles her way to sitting. It’s hard work; the couch is still a little too high for her to climb up effortlessly. But before she can even take a breathe, back down she goes just to toss her leg back up to climb once more. These are familiar scenes to anyone who’s spent time with young kids. We adults sit back and are at awe by the gleeful perseverance on display. Children seem to live by a maxim that can too easily be forgotten as we get older – driven by pressures to always be embarking on a new project, climbing a career ladder, or checking something off as mastered. Prac- tice is fun! I don’t remember the squeals of laughter I cried as a tod- dler, but I sure know that feeling of exhausted elation when a dance teacher calls out “One more time!” at the end of a class. The music turns up, I laugh at the idea of pushing my sweating body forward to launch into movement, and I dig deep into my body’s reserves of energy to go again. Each time with a little more ease and joy. For dance-makers in the Bay Area, practice is too often a luxury, both in the rehearsal studio and on stage. Many funders support only new work and world premieres, which makes revisiting repertory all the more challenging and puts pressure on artists to condense creative processes in order to Welcome by MICHELLE LYNCH REYNOLDS, PROGRAM DIRECTOR

continually be making something new in time for the next grant deadline. One-night only or a single weekend shows are the norm. Two weekends if the stars aligns. Runs longer than that are rare. Touring elusive. This makes Sean Dorsey’s upcoming 20-city nationwide tour of BOYS IN TROUBLE all the more thrilling (page 8). Not only is the work’s theme of exploring masculinity from a trans perspective vital to share with a broad audience, it is an opportunity for the artists to deepen into the work during their extensive tour. A performance practice that will surely evolve the work and the performers’ approach to it. Dorsey is not alone in his multi-year creative process. Avy K Productions’ upcoming performances of Ruah Aduma/Red Wind also reflect long-term focus. Led by Erika Tsimbrovsky, the improvised performances are a manifestation of over a de- cade of performance practice. Learn more about this work on page 11. Prior to a work getting to the stage (or park, community center, or library) dancers hustle to afford the ever-increasing price of classes and workshops. This month offers a break for budgets: it’s time for Bay Area Dance Week! The annual festival of no-cost dance is here, and with it come hundreds of oppor- tunities to move your body. The majority of events are classes and workshops, in an impressive list of forms from around the world. So whether your dance practice is about digging deep into the subtle technique of Argentine Tango or seeing how an emerging form like Angola’s Kuduro could inform your knowl- edge of hip hop, Bay Area Dance Week is a chance to celebrate a life of dance. To be clumsy. To get sweaty and try it again. To be in process. To practice . To have fun!

Dimensions Dance Theater, Apr 13–14 Photo by Edward Miller

OngDance, part of Bay Area Dance Week Photo by courtesy of the artist

Bay Area Dance Week Celebrates an Anniversary FRIDAY APRIL 27 – SUNDAY MAY 6, 2018


Whether a fan, supporter or member of Dancers’ Group, our resources and services are a direct benefit of your involvement in our community . LEVELS AND BENEFITS Community (FREE): • Receive a weekly list of upcoming performances • Receive information on Dancers’ Group’s activities and important news items. • List your discounts, opportunities, auditions and more for free in our DG Weekly Email. • Receive timely email action alerts and special community opportunities. • Pick up In Dance for free at Dancers’ Group’s office or one of our local drop- off locations. • Enjoy the many artist resources on Dancers’ Group’s website, including: Health Care Guide, Media Seminar from SF Arts and Guide to Obtaining Music Rights Individual ($50/yr, $90/2yr): All Community benefits plus: • Receive DG Weekly, our ebulletin with job and audition listings, free and discounted tickets, discounts to workshops, opportunities, grant info, news and more. • Get In Dance mailed to you first class – 10 issues each year • Bay Area Dance Week Registration Discount Company ($85/yr, $153/2yr): All Individual benefits plus: • DISCOUNTS ON: • Bay Area Dance Week Ads • In Dance Advertising: Classified & Display Ads • Postcard Distribution • Public Relations Do-It-Yourself Guide and Media Contact List • Access to information on upcoming Grant Deadlines CALL OR GO ONLINE TO JOIN or RENEW 415-920-9181 / dancersgroup.org

20 yearѕ of watching inspiring artists of practicing your style of discovering a new groove of finding new traditions of dancing in the park of all dance, all free, all week of Bay Area Dance Week

Dholrhythms Dance Company / photo by Odell Hussey

WELCOME TO BAY AREA DANCE WEEK , presented by Dancers' Group, celebrating two decades as one of the nation's largest, most inclusive celebrations of movement and dance. The dance community throws open its doors during Bay Area Dance Week, inviting the public in to experience its vibrant and rich dance scene, completely free of charge. Watch, practice, or discover styles like hip hop, salsa, aerial, folk, modern, bollywood, ballet, West African, and more. Choose from workshops, performances, classes, open rehearsals, and more. First time dancers can explore a variety of dance styles, art aficionados can go behind-the-scenes to see how a dance gets made,

young movers can participate in a variety of family- friendly classes and activities. Greek dance, Jazz, Congolese dance, Hula, Hip Hop for adults (or kids), even dance classes for those with Parkinson’s disease. For more experienced dancers, dance-makers, and audiences, Bay Area Dance Week is a chance to deepen an artistic life. Take a class in a form that’s new to you, watch an open rehearsal or lec-dem by a renowned artist, take a workshop in choreographic practice. This festival has something for everyone. For two decades this festival has reflected the un- ending generosity of the local dance community. Participating in Bay Area Dance Week is easy and the events – all 400+ – are free!

ADVERTISE For ad rates and upcoming deadlines: dancersgroup.org/advertising natalia@dancersgroup.org

Xpressions / photo by RJ Muna


P. 4

Festival highlights MACLA'S FAMILY ART DAY Sat, Apr 28, San Jose, MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana

ON THIS PAGE / Bay Area Dance Week Celebrates its 20th Anniversary 4 / Grrrl Brigade, 15 Years of Social-Feminist Dance by Marivel Mendoza and Emma Miller 5 / New View: Dazaun Soleyn 6 / April Performance Calendar 8 / A Conversation with Sean Dorsey by Roula Seikaly 11 / Exploring the Horizon with Avy K. Productions by Rebecca Lillich 12 / Dancers Choice Award

AXIS OPEN REHEARSAL Fri, Apr 27, Oakland, AXIS Dance Company A sneak peek of AXIS’ Radical Impact Tour including works choreographed by Nadia Adame, Amy Seiwert, and Marc Brew. Ex- perienced adult dancers are invited to come early for Open Company Class. CONGOLESE DANCE Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Dimensions Dance Theater / Lakiesha Golden Congolese dance is depicted by its pelvic and/or torso rotations, groundedness, funky- ness as it's danced to polyrhythms played on the Ngoma (drum). AMERICAN TRIBAL STYLE® BELLY DANCE Wed, May 2, Alameda, Sandi Ball + Wendy Allen Learn the basics of this unique belly dance language. Discover posture and body aware- ness, slow and fast movements, zils, as well as introductions to lead and follow concepts and group formations for improvisation.


An outdoor festival for youth and families with hands-on visual art activities, bilingual gallery tours, multicultural dance and music performances, and dance classes. DANCE & DRUM PARTY Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Alyssa DeCaro and Rhythm Cafe All-Star Drummers Fun, easy to follow dances and then a free- style jam to cross-cultural rhythms of the All-Star Drummers, with arrangements from Mali, Havana, Brazil, Oakland, Haiti and New Orleans. Stay late for a DJ dance party! INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE PARTY Fri, May 4, Berkeley, Berkeley Folk Dancers Explore over 200 social dances from Europe, the British Isles, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, USA, and others. Dances are at all skill levels, many suitable for beginners. Our repertoire includes couple, line, circle, and set dances.

What is poi? Poi involves swinging and danc- ing with tethered weights through a variety of rhythmic and geometric patterns. In this class, we will explore the basics of poi spin- ning, covering planes, direction, timing, and body mechanics.

KANE (MEN’S) HULA Thu, May 3, Alameda, Halau Makana Polynesian Cultural Arts, Inc.

Hula just for men! Invite your dad, son, brother, cousin, boyfriend, husband, neigh- bors and friends and join us for Kane Hula. KUDURO DANCE Wed, May 2, San Leandro, DNA Dance Tribe This is an upbeat choreography class of Kudora Dance, from Angola. INTRODUCTION TO ARGENTINE TANGO Wed, May 2, San Anselmo, Alma del Tango This class is an introduction to the social

2018: Carla Service by Heather Desaulniers

2 in dance APR 2018




rs r

. r

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org I | | rs r . r

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94103 www.dancersgroup.org

dance movements in an enjoyable, non- pressured, social environment in which live music energizes, enriches and empowers. TAMALPA DANCES WITH IU-HUI CHUA Sat, Apr 28, Kentfield, Tamalpa Institute Using the Tamalpa Life/Art Process, we will focus on developing fundamental tools of kinesthetic awareness and innovative choices in scoring, movement, and improvisation. Dancers of all levels are welcome. DAY OF DANCE FOR EVERY BODY Sun, Apr 29, Berkeley, Big Moves Celebrate all bodies with an afternoon of free beginner-friendly classes with the most joyful and body-positive instructors on the block. A dance conditioning program for the work- ing mover who wants to build strength and see results, through creative dance moves and high paced cardio. BHANGRA DANCE CLASS Tue, May 1, SF, Dholrhythms Dance Company The class is a one of a kind experience that will get your hips shaking, feet pounding, shoulders bouncing, while giving you a great cardio workout. Fun and easy to learn steps to Bhangra beats that will make you sweat and smile at the same time. DANCE JAM BERKELEY: YOUR SOMATIC- ECSTATIC AUDIO APOTHECARY! Fri, May 4, Berkeley, Dance Jam Berkeley Offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all ages. With music from the 60's to today, this is an un-facilitatated, "move-as- you-choose" event! MJDC OPEN REHEARSAL Thu, May 3, SF, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company The focus of the rehearsal will be prepara- tion for, Towards Forty-Five, Part I, which will be premiering at the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in May. YSTYLE WITH YENI LUCERO Wed, May 2, Oakland, Flying Studios Introductory physical theater workshops for artists of all disciplines. Choreographer Deborah Slater will provide structure, guid- ance and support for you to learn new ways of creating work for audiences. INTRO TO DUNCAN DANCE Sun, Apr 29, SF, Mary Sano Studio of Duncan Dancing A free class in the dance techniques of Isadora Duncan taught by Mary Sano. OPEN REHEARSAL/IMPROVISATIONAL PERFORMANCE Sat, May 6, SF, Aura Fischbeck Dance Join Aura Fischbeck Dance as they research material for an evening length work entitled DUSK, and as part of their process they will be practicing/performing during the sunset at Ocean Beach. WAYS NOT TO DROWN Sat, Apr 28, SF, Deborah Slater Dance Theater

form of Argentine Tango as danced in Buenos Aires. Learn a code of movement that will get you started with this improvised dance.

Della Davidson Prize DAWN FRANK HOLTAN is a dance theater artist who creates collaboratively. Her work is always interdisciplinary, blending nonlinear stories with raw movement and live sound. An Oakland native, Bard College graduate, and former co-director of Frank and Bryan Dance, Dawn’s “poignant and unpretentious” early work was performed throughout the greater Bay Area, in New York, and abroad. After taking a thirteen year hiatus from directing in order to be with her children, Dawn is currently creating an original


Learn fundamental steps and distinctive rhythms in this introductory class. Discover the rich culture and spirit of Greek music and dancing. FLAMENCO WITH YAELISA Sat, May 5, Berkeley, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center Start with Beginning Flamenco: for new or more experienced beginners to build founda- tion in rhythm, footwork and upper body dynamics. An intro class for the Bulerias follows. INTRO TO FOLK DANCES FROM INDIA Sat, Apr 28, Saratoga, Xpressions – Dances of India For ages 8 and up: Join us on a journey through India as we explore different folk dances and styles. Participants can join in a presentation at the end of the workshop enhanced with simple costuming. WHAT'S UP?! PERFORMANCE Wed, May 2, Berkeley, UpSwing Aerial Dance Company A studio showing of contemporary aerial dance that explores the magic of dancing on the floor and into the air. We will be dancing on the wall, in the air and every- where in between. A great class for teen or adult students who are currently attending ballet classes two times per week for at least one year. Taught by Claudine Naganuma with live accompani- ment by Roz Aronson. PARENT & ME DANCE CLASS (PARENTS AND CHILDREN AGES 5-9) Sat, Apr 27, Mill Valley, Performing Arts Academy of Marin Get moving to the beat, and challenge the co- ordination of your feet, while we do an active warm-up, learn a short duet routine, and finish with some fun hula hoop skills and games. This class is designed for one parent and one child (ages 5 - 9), but trios are welcome, too. Explore the fundamentals of various styles including Popping & Locking, B-boy\B-girl style, and more. This class is focused on learning choreography in a specially designed combination and self-esteem through free- styling to promote healthy living. DANCE FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE Thu, May 3, Berkeley, Berkeley Ballet Theater These classes are appropriate for anyone with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how advanced. No dance experience is required. Whether in chairs, at a barre, or standing, everyone in the class explores comfortable INTERMEDIATE BALLET Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Danspace PUSHFEST SPRING KIDS HIP HOP (AGES 4-6) Thu, May 3, SF, PUSH Dance Company

evening-length performance with her newly assembled ensemble of friends. Cracking Open looks closely at moments of transformation – when our sense of self is shattered – and it will premiere at SAFEhouse Arts in 2018.

photo by Hans Holtan

The Della Davidson Prize honors the life and work of choreographer and teacher Della Davidson, by supporting innovative dance and dance/theater artists.



Sixty Bay Area dance organizations (from young children to professional companies and everything in between) perform over a 7-hour-plus program. Styles include Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Latin/rhythm, Classical Indian, World Dance, Swing, Belly Dance, Experimental, Folk, Ethnic, Street Dance/Breaking. APRIL FOLLIES SAME-SEX BALLROOM DANCE COMPETITION Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Bay Area Same–Sex Dance Association Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to par- ticipate in this annual event, which includes a day full of competition followed by dinner, an evening show and social dancing!

Search. Sign up. Dance.

BAILE EN LA CALLE: THE MURAL DANCES 2018 Sun, May 6, SF, Brava! for Women in the Arts An annual event takes over the streets and alleys of the Mission to celebrate and preserve the neighborhood's living cultural heritage.

ROTUNDA DANCE SERIES Fri, May 4, SF, Dancers’ Group & World Arts West Alonzo King LINES

Dance Center presents choreography show- casing the talents of

their world class instructors, many with nationally known dance

companies. See per- formances by adult students from Alonzo King LINES Dance Cen- ter and LINES Education Programs.


Sun, May 6, SF, Showgirl Awakening Weaving together dance, psychological growth, and spirit - combined with sizzle, vivaciousness, glitter, ruffles, fringe, feath- ers, and shiny things. This workshop could be for you if you are drawn to dance, improv, costume-like-clothing and glitter as well as embodied movement-based practices. KOREAN TRADITIONAL FAN DANCE WORKSHOP Sat, May 5, SF, OngDance Company & School With instructors from Korea who have professional and certified dance skills and knowledge. We will provide fans for this workshop and also you are welcome to bring your own.

Kick-Off FRI, APR 27, 12PM City Hall Rotunda, SF

Join in with hundreds of movers! Led by Dudley Flores and Rhythm & Motion, this year's kick-off features a "silent disco adventure." It's a fun and easy game! Download or stream an audio track through the headphones of your smartphone and follow along with the simple movement instructions.

photo by Lydia Daniller

No previous rehearsal necessary!! After the "tour" ends and everyone's warmed up and smiling, the music starts for One Dance , a short dance sequence in Rhythm & Motion's trademark style of fun movement! One Dance is designed for movers of all ages and experience levels.

Find video tutorials and info on free rehearsals at bayareadance.org/kickoff

PUSH Dance Company / photo by Raissa Simpson


in dance APR 2018


Dance Mission I had the freedom to be more than what was expected of me and even to experiment with what I believed in, moving away from just accepting what I was told. At that young age it was the only place where adults cared about how I felt about the way the world was moving around me. I was asked about how I felt and they truly cared to know my ideas on how to make a difference. EM: I started coming to Dance Mission when I was three years old and continued attend- ing throughout my childhood, exploring a wide range of classes like taiko drumming, hip hop, belly-samba and modern dance. When I turned nine, I was finally old enough to be a part of Jr. Grrrl Brigade. At the begin- ning of my freshman year in high school, I started working as a dance teacher’s assistant for the same Creative Movement class that I took as a toddler. At the end of high school, I was offered a teaching position in the pro- gram and I officially started teaching in the fall of my first year in college at the Univer- sity of San Francisco. MM: Dance is a vulnerable medium. There is no anonymity, and it is too obvious if faked or done only half way. Dance is an organic way to teach girls and youth about facing fears and being courageous. As a teacher I’m trying to create unafraid, unapologetic artists for the future who will not shy away from telling their truths. Grrrl Brigade has taught me to be brave in my “The movement to tear down the patriarchal status quo still continues” —EMMA MILLER

GRRRL BRIGADE is a dance leadership pro- gram that fosters female empowerment through dance. Based out of Dance Mission Theater, Dance Brigade’s Grrrl Brigade has instructed more than 500 girls over the last 15 years in modern dance, taiko drumming, hip hop, belly dance, performance, self-empow- erment, and social justice rooted in feminist thought. 45 Grrrls have attended Ruth Asawa School for the Arts in various disciplines. Grrrl Brigade has performed throughout the Bay Area and greater California, being featured at One Billion Rising, Walk Against Rape, Women against War, the De Young Museum, CounterPulse’s Blessed Unrest Fes- tival, the San Francisco International Taiko Festival, Carnaval SF, KQED Art’s Creative Resistance Salon, SF Public Library, and the first biennial Mission Youth Arts Festival. In celebration of Grrrl Brigade’s 15th anniversary, this article was co-written by Marivel Mendoza and Emma Miller. These young women attended Dance Mission from the time they were three years old until they graduated from high school. They attended School of the Arts in Dance and they con- tinue to work and be leaders at Dance Mis- sion Theater, teaching in both the Youth and Grrrl Brigade programs. Marivel Mendoza: In the woman operated building of Dance Mission, there brews the fierce force of the Grrrl Brigade. Established in 2004, Grrrl Brigade’s mission is to arm girls with feminist wisdom to face the world confident and empowered in their own voic- es and visions. The program focuses not only on dance, drumming, and performance tech- nique, but it also includes reflective discus- sions and inclusive work around the social issues that young woman are facing in our local communities and world. These feminist ideals have helped guide young women, and have planted a seed of deep devotion for all of us to work towards helping other young girls have the confidence they disserve. Emma Miller: Having programs like Grrrl Brigade is important for the community, but especially for the Bay Area’s urban “grrrls”. For the vast majority of the girls in the pro- gram it is a second home. There is a sense of comfort when you enter Dance Mission— the vibrant painted walls invites everyone to dance and relieve stress without judgement. Grrrl Brigade is a sisterhood and no one is turned away due to their identity, size, or ‘natural’ dance ability. MM: I was a founding member of the Jr. Grrrl Brigade, for ages 9-12 years. Before then, Grrrl Brigade was just for teens. I was enter- ing Jr. Grrrl Brigade from a slightly conserva- tive Mexican household, with very traditional ideals of what it meant to be a woman. At

truth, and be vocal with it so that others may find comfort and solidarity with it also. Live perfor- mance takes this a step further by pulling emo- tions directly from the audience and using that as fuel to give more, in a constant cycle of exchang- ing energy. Dance is dar- ing, and as a dancer I am lucky to be empowered through making and shar-

Grrrl Brigade / photos by Peter Tam

for social justice, and pushes towards global peace. I am proud to be a part of a social movement, such as when I participated in One Billion Rising , Eve Ensler’s worldwide campaign that aims to use the arts to bring an end towards rape and violence against wom- en. I am also fortunate to be exposed to the San Francisco dance community at large, and was fortunate to join Dance Brigade in cele- brating its 40th year anniversary last winter. Nasha Harris Santiago , my peer and a graduate from Grrrl Brigade who now is a freshman at Boston University says, “To me, Grrrl Brigade, means family, sisterhood, and using our love for dance to help make a dif- ference in this world. Grrrl Brigade gave me a community and group of friends I know I will have for the rest of my life. Grrrl Bri- gade helped me realize my worth as a young girl and now as a young woman.” Another member of Grrrl Brigade who graduated in 2016, Miya Herstein describes the program as “an unwavering energy.” She continues, “It doesn’t matter where our grrrls travel or what obstacles we find our- selves up against; we can always channel this force. Grrrl Brigade fostered my growth, served as a comfortable escape from life’s tribulations, and provided me a medium to express myself. It is my roots, my sustenance, my motivation. Without it, I would be lost. Without it, I would not be me.” MARIVEL MENDOZA is graduating this May with from SF State with a B.A. in Dance and a minor in Education. EMMA MILLER is on schedule to graduate 2020 from USF with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Performing Arts and Social Justice with a focus in Dance. Both have performed professionally with Dance Brigade and Alayo Dance Company on stages large and small, including YBCA, Laney College Theater, and Dance Mission Theater.

ing my art. I am grateful every day for Grrrl Brigade’s trust, guidance, and generosity in their teachings of how to be a productive woman in our world. EM: Being a part of a junior company like Grrrl Brigade, requires a particular type of discipline. Girls learn to be accountable for their own actions, contribute to a group ef- fort, manage their busy schedules between

school and dance, and how to take care of themselves: physically, mentally and emotion- ally. Having such strong bonds between girls, no matter the age, is a crucial aspect of the program and is significant in the girls’ socio- emotional development. The constant love and support between students, teachers and parents is what draws families back to Grrrl Brigade year after year. The concept of female empowerment is a fundamental element of the Grrrl Brigade program. For young women today, female empowerment comes in many forms. It is finding the courage to stand up, use your voice and know that you can make a differ- ence in society. Throughout the generations, the notion of female empowerment has transformed. Wom- en have progressively been fighting for equal- ity and are gaining more rights. Even so, the struggle is not over. We have recently experi- enced a surge in women expressing their in- ner strengths and are taking the opportunity to be vulnerable and be truth tellers, despite the backlash. The movement to tear down the patriarchal status quo still continues. Grrrl Brigade has given me the opportunity to have strong female examples while being a student in the program, and now has given me the opportunity to be a role model for my own students. I am fortunate to experience seeing students go from youth program to Grrrl Brigade, as I did years ago. I am grateful to be a part of a feminist community that uses the arts to bring awareness and advocates

4 in dance APR 2018




rs r

. r

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94103 www.dancersgroup.org


main accessible/affordable for the art makers. Also, my secret wish is that one day we will have a system like “class pass” but for shows. We can call it “show pass.”With your “show pass” people would pay a monthly fee and they could go see as many dance shows as they wish. It will be simple, you pay your fee, flash your “show pass” at the box office and boom: artists can support artists without sacrificing dinner or rent money. What event(s) will we find you at this spring? You will find me dancing for my life at my company’s first show, existence . The LINES Ballet Training Program Showcase on May 26th. The Duhnam workshop at Dance Mis- sion this spring, sweating for/with my ances- tors! What (or who) is inspiring you right now? Love is my biggest inspiration. For me, it is the most powerful and beautiful teacher that we have in this realm. I am also inspired by SZA, her talent and the vulnerability on her latest album, Ctlr , shifted my views on storytelling. My best friend Alex- eya EM, she's a true artist that can literally do anything, and she is one of the main reasons why I work as hard as I do. Also, I recently got introduced to Shigeru Ban’s architectur- al works. He is incredible, set a reminder for yourself to look him up. “if there’s not something in your life that pushes you to the point where the pee is running down your leg then you ain’t living big enough… if you know everything and if you’re in charge of everything you ain’t living... that why you gotta trust your God [and allow your dream to] push you beyond your comfort zone and take you out of the know into the unknown with faith and trust in yourself” – Auntie Iyanla Vanzant What’s a piece of advice have you been given that you still hold on to today?

direct, while still trying to drink enough water, be a veg- etarian, foster a healthy love life, and be a vessel for God to use on a daily basis. It’s a lot, but for me it’s the type of environment that I strive in. I wouldn’t want to live any- where else in the world but don’t get me wrong, I want to experience the world. (All of it!) The Bay has also gifted me with a group of friends and mentors that are willing to support my ever evolving career. They consistently push me to produce my highest quality of work, while giving me more shoulder to cry on then I can count. haha What’s your neighborhood/ community? Where do you spend your time? I live in Oakland near Mills College but all of my jobs are in San Francisco. To be honest, I feel like my neighborhood is my car. Traffic is my lover and friend. My car, Bae, is where I spent most of my time. Bae

DAZAUN SOLEYN is a teaching artist and cho- reographer in the Bay Area and is artistic director of dazaun.dance. Dazaun gradu- ated from the University of South Florida with a BFA in Modern Dance Performance and Choreography and subsequently became a Trainee at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. He has performed works by Sidra Bell, Kara Davis, and Maurya Kerr and was a company member of Robert Mo- ses Kin. Dazaun’s teaching credits include the Alonzo King LINES Ballet School, Univer- sity of South Florida, Gibney Dance Center, America’s Ballet School, Dance Mission The- ater, and ODC Commons. Dazaun was fea- tured in Red Medjellekh's popular Dancers Vs. Trump dance film. The mission of dazaun.dance is to create holistic art that illuminates the dynamic full- ness of the human soul. Dazaun cultivates a movement playground for artists to create work that investigates new perspectives of the human experience on stage. How did you start dancing? To be honest, I have been dancing since I was a baby. There is a VHS of my 1st birth- day party where you will see little smiling Dazaun giving a strong bounce for a solid 2 minutes, and I swear I was on beat! I watch it now and gratefully say to myself “... That was the seed that started it all.” What’s an early (or favorite) dance memory? Oh man, there are so many. I am actually smiling so hard right now. My favorite dance memories are typically awkward, now laugh- able, situations that my friends and I got into because we were determined to get the step and being READY for the stage! I specifi- cally remember my best friend, a classmate, and myself had three days to create a new piece, for a college showcase, and all the stu- dios in the dance department were booked. So our next best option was outside… on the concrete… with our sneakers… and my speaker… in the Florida heat… dancing for our lives! What project are you working on, and what are you eager to share about this project? I am currently working on producing exis- tence , my company’s first show and it’s set to premiere at Dance Mission the weekend

Dazaun Soleyn / photo by Julien James

is the only way that I can make it from a rehearsal at ODC that ends at 3:30pm to Vis Valley by 4pm to teach a youth hip hop class. I don’t mind the time in my car because it allows me to listen to Shonda Rhimes on Audiobook, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, SZA, and Oprah… lots of Oprah. What’s a hope that you have for the arts ecosystem in your community? My hope is that spaces for art making re-

of April 20th. With this work, I am using my background in hip-hop, contemporary and floor techniques to reveal the complex beauty of the minority experience with code switching. What I am most eager to share about this project are the artists that I get to work with. They are incredible! They are living, breath- ing demonstrations of passion. These hu- mans are incredibly versatile, luscious, gen- erous, nuanced, expressive, pure raw talent. Thank you Giordan (Gio) Cruz, Claire Fish- er, Suzette Sagisi and Linda Steele. Absolutely amazing! The Bay Area is per- fect for me. Living here allows me to have a rigorous career grind while still doing some deep soul searching and healing during a Tuesday night hike. To be honest there are always deadlines to meet, emails to answer, 16+ classes a week to teach, rehearsals to Describe what it’s like to live and work in the Bay Area right now.

dazaun.dance presents existence: Apr 20-22, Dance Mission Theater, SF. dazaunsoleyn.com



Apr 27-28, ODC Theater, SF

Son of the Wind is a classic, tour- de-force kathak dance drama centered around the adventures of Hanuman, the infamous Hindu god who proves to be a central force in the timeless and universal battle between good and evil as told in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. The show provides an opportunity for audience members to experience Kathak in its full expression – as dance, music, theater, poetry, mime


Leela Dance Collective / photo by Margo Moritz

– integrated into one. The production is directed by Pandit Chitresh Das' senior dis- ciples, Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta. The show features an original score along with an ensemble featuring some of India's finest musical artists. Featuring an all female cast of Kathak dancers, Son of the Wind turns history on its head by presenting a full cast of women playing roles both male and female. This dance drama shows women in the role of male warriors, challenging modern day perceptions of Kathak dance as well as a history that typically showcased only male dancers. theleelainstitute.org

Apr. 25 - May 5 web.sonoma.edu/tix A community engagement - social justice - dance based performance


in dance APR 2018

APR 2018 calendar VISIT THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CALENDAR, to find additional events and to submit a performance. dancersgroup.org

Carolina Lugo’s & Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, SF A mother & daughter duo, their high energy and passion defines a new dimension in Span- ish dance traditions. Sun, Apr 1, 8, 22, 29, 7pm, $16-21. carolinalugo.com Shotgun Players The Ashby Stage, Berkeley A contemporary folk opera, Iron Shoes brings together a rambunctious, world-class ensemble of vocalists, dancers, and actors. Wednesdays Apr 4, 11, 8pm; Thu-Sat, Apr 5-7, 12-14, 8pm; Sundays, Apr 1, 8, 15, 5pm, $5-40. shotgunplayers.org RAW presents Kristen Rulifson, Meghan Horowitz, and Arina Hunter SAFEhouse Arts, SF Arina Hunter utilizes her body as the sound- scape in movement. In Stunning by Kristen Rulifson, asking "How much can we feel?" Also Social Exhibition(ist) by Meghan Horowitz on falsified self images to garner attention. RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Thu-Fri, Apr 5-6, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Funsch Dance Experience ODC Theater, SF Mother, Sister, Daughter, Marvel will explore what it means to take space as seasoned, vet- eran women performers in mid-life, in this part of our country and at this specific moment. Thu-Sat, Apr 5-7, 8pm, $20-35. funschdance.org

ka·nei·see collective, Apr 19-22 / Photo by Rob Best

Alonzo King LINES Ballet YBCA Theater, SF For over twenty years Alonzo King and Zakir Hussain have been pushing the boundaries of creative expression together. This spring, these two masters of rhythm, vibration and transfor- mation will unite for a special world premiere collaboration in honor of LINES Ballet’s 35th Anniversary Season. Fri, Apr 6, 7:30pm; Sun, Apr 8, 6pm; Wed-Sat, Apr 11-14, 7:30pm; Sun, Apr 15, 2pm & 6pm,$35-90. linesballet.org HaoExpressions Sunnyvale Community Theater, Sunnyvale Story based on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Notre Dame de Paris, directed by Bay Area based French-Vietnamese artist, Hao Bach- Thai Lueckhoff. This special local event com- bines movement, dance, acting and singing. Sun, Apr 8, 2pm, $12-25. haoexpression.com

Mark Foehringer Dance Project Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, SF

Alice in Wonderland features colorful sets, cos- tumes, puppets, live music and a small cast of 8 dancers, and no intermission, the performance is ideal for the young child’s attention span. Sat- Sun, Apr 7-8 & 14-15, 11am & 2pm, $22.50-42.50. mfdpsf.org Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley With repertoire that looks back to seminal works like Ailey's own Revelations , and new ma- terial that engages with vital social movements, the company creates dances with the power to transform. Tue-Fri, Apr 10-13, 8pm; Sat, Apr 14, 2pm & 8; Sun, Apr 15, 3pm, $36-40. calperformances.org RAW presents Jasmin Yohai SAFEhouse Arts at 145 Eddy, SF the reveal : unraveling transparency. what lies beneath.. soft animal bodies yearning to be held and seen. RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Fri-Sat, Apr 13-14, 9pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Dimensions Dance Theater Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, Berkeley Celebrating 45 years of dance, the evening will feature premieres by choreographers Andrea Vonny Lee and Latanya d. Tigner. Fri-Sat, Apr 13-14, 8pm, $20-45. dimensionsdance.org

USF Dance Ensemble, Apr 20-21 / Photo by Tony Nguyen

San Francisco State University McKenna Theatre, SF

Intersect Dance Theatre and counterpoint/shift Joe Goode Annex, SF contrast brings together socal artists/direc- tors, Sofia Olga Carreras and Sue Roginski, in a shared dance concert featuring Riverside companies. Sat, Apr 14, 8pm, $15-20. intersectdancetheatre.com RAW presents Visceral Roots Dance Company SAFEhouse Arts at 145 Eddy, SF Presenting a new work by Visceral Roots Dance Co. RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Sat-Sun, Apr 14-15, 7pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Koresh Dance Company Jewish Community Center, SF Presenting repertoire ranges from explosive and passionate to intimate and restrained. Tue, Apr 17, 7pm, $30. jccsf.org

University Dance Theatre performs work by Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, SFSU fac- ulty and students. Thu-Sat, Apr 5-7, 7:30pm;

Sun, Apr 8, 2pm, $15-20. theatredance.sfsu.edu

RAW presents Rohith Sankarraman and OOMPH

Dance Theater SAFEhouse Arts, SF

OOMPH Dance Theatre presents Hard to Hold . How do you hold all that you encompass? Can you allow another to share the same load? Rohith Sankarraman presents 377 : “The soci- ety frowns upon me like I am from a different world. The authorities beat me to death for me being me. The government tells me that my love is illegal. My family kicks me out of home.” RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Work- shop. Sat-Sun, Apr 7-8, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org

Visceral Roots Dance Company, Apr 28-29 / Photo by Lynne Fried / Bay Area Dance Photography

6 in dance APR 2018




rs r

. r

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94103 www.dancersgroup.org

USF Dance Ensemble Presentation Theater, SF Students perform original works by USF faculty choreographers: Philip Agyapong, Nicole Klaymoon/Amber Julian, Eli Nelson, Megan Nicely, & Jennifer Polyocan. Fri-Sat, Apr 20-21, 8pm, $5-10. usfca.edu

Bay Area Dance Week The dance community throws open its doors, inviting the public in to experience its vibrant and rich dance scene, completely free of charge. Watch, practice, or discover styles like hip hop, salsa, aerial, folk, modern, bollywood, ballet, West African, and more. Choose from workshops, performances, classes, and open rehearsals. Fri, Apr 27-Sun, May 6, FREE. bayareadance.org Featuring a cast of all female, Kathak dancers, Son of the Wind is powerful as it turns history on its head by presenting a full cast of women playing roles both male and female. Fri, Apr 27, 8pm; Sat, Apr 28, 2pm & 8, $45-55. theleelainstitute.org RAW presents Alley Wilde SAFEhouse Arts @ 145 Eddy, SF Alley Wilde presents Exorcise , queered witch- craft interrogating whiteness and maleness as demons of the totality that must be fought by all means necessary. RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Fri-Sat, Apr 27-28, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Leela Dance Collective ODC Theater, SF

SMUIN Ballet YBCA Theater, SF

Dance Series 02 features the world premiere of If I Were a Sushi Roll by Val Caniparoli, a piece set to contemporary baroque from Nico Muhly and Teitur; Helen Pickett’s Oasis , set to an original score by composer Jeff Beal; and Amy Seiwert’s Falling Up , an intimate explora- tion of trust between partners. Fri-Sat, Apr 20- 21 & 27-28, 8pm; Sat-Sun, Apr 21-22 & 28-29, 2pm; Thu, Apr 26, 8pm, $31-79. smuinballet.org dazaun.dance Dance Mission Theater, SF existence uses the aesthetics of hip-hop, contemporary and floor techniques in order to reveal the complex beauty of the minority ex- perience with code switching. Code switching is the phenomenon of an individual adapting their speech to the dominant language or culture in order to succeed or fit in. Fri-Sun, RAW presents eMotion Arts/ Es “Delight” Co/ Naina Shastri SAFEhouse, SF Naina Shastri presents Mystic Messengers , which explores saints and mystics that have walked the soils of India. eMotion Arts Dance Co. presents a new work that reflects on isolation, connection, and acceptance. Also presenting Delightful Moves by Es “Delight” Co., duets with artists in different movement back- grounds. RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Sat-Sun, Apr 21-22, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Sonoma State University Evert B. Person Theatre, Rohnert Park Join SSU Dance Faculty Kristen Daley and Christine Cali for a new evening-length work featuring the groundbreaking work of Brooklyn-based dance troupe Urban Bush Women (UBW) and SSU dance students. Wed- Thu, Apr 25 & 26, 10am; Fri, Apr 27, 7:30pm; Sat, May 5, 7:30pm, $10-17. web.sonoma.edu/tix Apr 20-22, $10-20. dazaunsoleyn.com

Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Apr 7-15 / Photo by Matt Haber

AvyK Productions Joe Goode Annex, SF

Red Wind is a poetic abstract installation/per- formance. The piece focuses on the Russian Avant-Garde art movement and how it can shed light on our present and future possibilities. Red Wind continues the search for what is beyond form and what lies beyond the mind, between the sky and the earth— exploring the horizon of the possible. Thu-Sat, Apr 19-21, 8pm, $20-35. avyk.org


Skin Leaves - an evening of dance sharing stories of pain and passion, of hope and desire, of bodies reclaiming their freedom from the subjugation of patriarchy and mi- sogyny. Skin Leaves is created and performed by Raphael Boumailia, Heather Cooper, Kara Davis, and Holly Johnston. Thu-Fri, Apr 19-20, 8pm; Sat, Apr 21, 3pm & 8pm, $25-30. hollyjohnston.org

Carolina Lugo's & Carolé Acuñ​a Ballet Flamenco, Apr 1,8,22,29 / Photo by Weiferd Watts

FACT/SF CounterPulse, SF

Xpressions, part of Bay Area Dance Week, Apr 28 / Photo courtesy of artist

Life is the second of Slender-White's triptych on death, mourning, and loss. Life is part of Reimagine, an SF-wide series of events aimed at changing the way we talk about the end of life. Wed, Apr 18, 7pm, $10-20. factsf.org San Francisco Conservatory of Dance San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, SF 2018 Spring Choreographic Residency: Alexandre Munz and Carly Lave. A regular series of free, informal showings of work. Wed-Fri, Apr 18-20, 8pm, FREE. sfconservatoryofdance.org RAW presents Preethi Ramaprasad & Nathaniel Moore SAFEhouse Arts, SF Batshit presents I just want : Research with Nathaniel and Jason. Also presenting RAVANA by Preethi Ramaprasad. Preethi collaborates with Shruti Abishek and Sri Thina Subrama- niam to retell the tale of Ravana, the villainous character from the Indian epic, Ramayana . RAW = SAFEhouse Arts' Resident Artist Workshop. Thu-Fri, Apr 19-20, $15-20. safehousearts.org Work Nights features new work by the artists of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance's

PUSH Dance Company Buriel Clay Theater, SF

ka·nei·see | collective CounterPulse, SF

PUSHfest Spring features workshops, perfor- mances, and a youth showcase. Guest compa- nies include LV Dance Collective and Visceral Roots Dance Company performing alongside local youth groups PUSH Youth Program, Mini Mix'd, Handful Players, Rising Rhythm and The Village Dancers. Fri, Apr 27, 8pm; Sat, Apr 28, 2 & 7:30pm, $10-20. pushdance.org Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab, SF Still Life No. 7 is a duet for choreographers and performers, Lauren Simpson and Jenny Stul- berg. This new work experiments with sounds, text, video, and a single source light. Sat, Apr 28, 8pm; Sun, Apr 29, 3pm & 7, $10-25. stilllifedances.org Oakland Dance Festival Jack London Square, Oakland Bringing together local dancers, choreogra- phers, studios, and teachers for two days of rhythm and fun. This festival will showcase a dazzling array of dance genres including jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop, folkloric dance and more. Sat, Apr 2, 12pm-8; Sun, Apr 29, 12pm-6, FREE. facebook.com/events/147670089277634 sjDANCEco Santana Row, San Jose More than 50 performing groups from cultures around the world. Part of Bay Area Dance Week. Sun, Apr 29, all day, FREE. sjdanceco.org

Drawing inspiration from the feminist battle cry, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” A col- laboration with the all-women Cat Call Choir surveys the field of gender-based harassment from the subtle to the violent, in a marriage of song and dance, comedy and horror. Thu-Sat, Apr 19-21, 8pm; Sun, Apr 22, 5pm, $20-35. kaneisee.org

Shabbat Art-In CSUEB Dance Studio, PE 140, Hayward

20 Points of View Luna Dance Institute, Berkeley

Monthly experimental performance events. Performances by Bandelion, CSUEB DanceSing Drum Company and guests. Let them know if you'd like to share some of your work. Friday, Apr 20, 6:30p, FREE. dandeliondancetheater.org

20 choreographers share a peek into dance- making. Featuring: Byb Chanel Bibene, Antoine Hunter, Katie Faulkner, Carmen Roman, Randee Paufve, Janet Collard, Vangie King, and more. Thu, Apr 26, all day, FREE. lunadanceinstitute.org

Sean Dorsey Dance Z Space, SF

Trailblazing transgender choreographer Sean Dorsey returns to the stage with BOYS IN TROUBLE , a new evening of dances that unpack masculinity with unflinching honesty – from unapologetically trans and queer per- spectives. Thu-Fri, Apr 19-20, 8pm; Sat, Apr 21, 4 & 8pm, $15-30. seandorseydance.com

Funsch Dance Experience, Apr 5-7 / Photo by Christy Funsch


in dance APR 2018

BOYS IN TROUBLE: A Conversation with Sean Dorsey by ROULA SEIKALY

on the lips of mainstream cisgender culture, including the dance field and the arts. So, the beginning of some awareness is there … but with zero trans leadership, representation, or support. Cisgender organizations are using the word 'trans' or gender themes for their festivals and conferences and events – but completely bypassing transgender and GNC people in the process. We’re not being hired, supported or brought into leadership. This is one of the things that pushed me to expand my #TRANSformDance program to the national level. Through #TRANSfor- mDance, we work with nonprofits, service

When I feel deeply called to dive into a question that informs with whom and how I want to work. To create The Missing Gen- eration , I recorded 75 hours of oral history interviews with long time trans and LGBTQ survivors of the early AIDS epidemic, and then spent 500 hours after that sitting with and sifting through transcripts, and creating the sound score. For BOYS IN TROUBLE , I worked again in community and hosted forums on mascu- linity, listening to all kinds of conversations about masculinity. I held movement work- shops that were supportive to trans-spec-

mentorship in your practice, and that you look more to writers or visual artists as guides because there simply aren't trans dancers or choreographers to identify as models. Given that, are there people in the dance world whom you look to, even though trans bodies are not represented? SD: I think most people can't imagine what it means to not see a single person like you in Dance … not onstage, or choreographing, or taking dance class next to you, or stage- managing, or running a theater. Although I always loved to watch dance, I really don't feel like there was ever a “someone” who

SEAN DORSEY is a dance-maker, activist, and trans advocate based in San Francisco. A founder of the Sean Dorsey Dance, Fresh Meat Productions and the Fresh Meat Festi- val, Dorsey and his family of talented artists who represent the breadth of gender expres- sion have slowly chipped away at rigid social attitudes that influence who is celebrated in a performance setting. I spoke with Sean about his new dance work, BOYS IN TROUBLE , which premieres in April, and what changes in the dance field need to happen so as to ful- ly and ethically embrace this moment when trans experience is in the cultural spotlight. Roula Seikaly: Could you describe your current project? Sean Dorsey: BOYS IN TROUBLE un- packs masculinity with unflinching honesty – from unapologetically trans and queer perspectives. We do this through full-throttle dance, super-vulnerable storytelling, raw emotion, irreverent humor and exquisite queer partnering. True Transsexual Con- fessions. An unabashed love letter between queer Black men. A sendup of all things Ma- cho. A queer spin on butch-ness. Real talk about whiteness. An invitation to look deep- ly at shame. A witness to hurt and harm and heartbreak. A roadmap for another way. We premiere the work April 19-21 at Z Space in San Francisco, and then launch a 2-year, 20-city tour supported by the Na- tional Dance Project and National Perfor- mance Network. This project was commissioned by six theaters across the US (from Maui to L.A. to Atlanta), so I built the work after engaging transgender, gender-nonconforming (GNC) and queer people on the masculine spectrum during my community residencies in several cities. I hosted community forums, led par- ticipatory self-expression workshops and taught classes. The urgent, and sometimes explosive, themes that emerged from com- munities deeply inform this work. When I began work on this project two years ago, I couldn't have imagined how timely and urgent this work would be – we’re premiering BOYS IN TROUBLE right as America is grappling with toxic masculin- ity, the #metoo movement, and renewed at- tacks on trans and LGBTQ rights. RS: I was fortunate to witness you and the dancers rehearsing sections of BOYS IN TROUBLE . Does the work include some of what you performed at your home season last year as Boys Bite Back ? SD: We performed some early sections of this project as works in progress at our Boys Bite Back concert last year. Since then, it’s become clear what sections I would set aside and al- low to rest, what needed development, and what was ready to emerge and be created. Ultimately, I’m shaping everything down into a 60-70 minute performance. RS: That flows nicely into a question about previous performances and preparation. I prepared for this interview by reading press and watching clips of earlier performances including Outsider Chronicles , (2005), Un- covered: The Diary Project (2009), Secret History of Love (2013), and Missing Gener- ation , (2015). These all seem to take 2-3 or 2-5 years to realize. How does that process unfold beginning to end? Do you start with music, or the idea? How does it progress for you? SD: I always start with a conceptual frame or thematic lens for the work. That gives me a doorway into my creative investiga- tion. It also creates the structure of what my community engagement process will be for that work. My fundamental belief is that art needs to exist for a reason, an important rea- son to be in the world. Otherwise, it might as well just be danced or created in our bed- rooms. It’s always about the “why” and the “why now” and about “how” the work will impact communities and culture.

Sean Dorsey Dance / photos by Lydia Daniller

organizations, funders, presenters, venues, and dance schools. We’re asking the field to start naming and recognizing the continuing exclusion of transgender and GNC people in dance as a CRISIS. There are specific barri- ers that are keeping my people out of dance classes and schools, teacher training pro- grams, and admin, tech and programming positions. That gatekeeping extends to fund- ing organizations and who holds the purse strings as well. This needs to be acknowl- edged and we need field-wide change. America’s “trans moment” is happening without trans people in leadership, and that needs to be addressed. So I'm saying to cis- gender people in the dance world, whether they are EDs or administrators or choreogra- phers or dancers or teachers or funders, that they are not ready to do trans-based pro- gramming or events unless they have trans people in leadership doing that work with decision-making power. RS: You've toured and taught extensively, and in talking with you now, I understand that teaching accessibility is very important to you. You've met and worked with trans, queer, non-binary and GNC artists who, I'm guessing, have aspirations similar to yours. Do you give them advice? What do you say? SD: Sean Dorsey Dance has toured to 29 cities, and I've taught in more than 35 cit- ies. Whether in big cities or small towns, the conditions for a trans or GNC person want- ing to enter the dance field are far less than favorable. Where I start when I’m teaching, regardless of the identity of the students I'm working with, is with a self-care practice. This might sound flakey or 'Californian' of me, but we desperately need this supportive practice as trans people. What I experience every day as a trans- gender dancer and dance-maker is that EV- ERYTHING in my field tells me that my body is unusual or wrong, not suitable, that there's no place for me. I don't see myself reflected anywhere in my field. So I encour- age my students and give them tools to cre- ate a daily practice that gives them positive messages about their bodies being beautiful and wise, that they have gifts to offer, be- cause the greater external messages we are barraged by every day say that our lives are meaningless. That's the place I start.

trum and gender non-conforming people, and also held some workshops that were open to anyone who identifies as masculine some or all of the time. Also, in this process, my dancers are deep artistic collaborators. They're a central part of the process, so that informs how I might devel- op a character for them, or a duet, or a section of dialogue. In this project, my dancers’ life histories really informed how their role in the work developed. As we created the talking sec- tion you saw us do in rehearsal, we had a lot of conversations around masculinity, white- ness, white supremacy and racism in America. We've also done writing exercises about these topics, which then source an idea for move- ment, or may enter the show as text or as a recorded section of the score. My dancers have always been deeply involved in the creative process. They aren't just bodies that show up to learn and perform choreography. They're fully invested. It's powerful and exciting. RS: A follow on to that question: are there specific challenges, victories, or hindrances that you face consistently? I'm also thinking about funding, and how the flow of money to the arts and artists in this country is al- most exclusively philanthropic. Have you noticed a change in that climate that recog- nizes the artistic value and quality in what you produce? SD: I feel like three things are true. The first is that I make good work, and so I'm blessed that Sean Dorsey Dance and Fresh Meat Pro- ductions are supported by a group of signifi- cant and prestigious funders. Second, it's true that as a transgender artist, me and my or- ganization still have to prove ourselves twice as hard, or do twice as much, to receive the same amount of funding as cisgender artists/ organizations. For example: in many cases we may be awarded a grant comparable to another organization, but that other organi- zation is only a dance company or only an annual festival. We operate a nationally-tour- ing dance company and a major festival. We provide fiscal sponsorship. We offer national trainings and workshops. We do teaching residencies. We advocate in the national field around trans exclusion. The third truth is something that is very important to me. As a trans artist, activist, and advocate, I am painfully aware that we are at an important and dangerous moment in history. We’re in a time when the word and the phenomenon of "transgender" are

was my inspiration. I was in a kind of wil- derness and so I starting making work based on my gut and my heart. I had to make the dances I wished I saw. RS: Is there a desire, whether it's welcome or something you resist, to be recognized in the form of awards or money from the for- mal or institutional dance world? Is that im- portant to you? SD: The most important thing for me is that my work succeeds at being accessible, beau- tiful, moving and deeply relevant for the audience, transformational somehow. And this is true for a transgender person as much as it's true for a cisgender or heterosexual person in the audience. That's what drives and feeds me. But I sure wouldn’t sneeze at something like the giant unrestricted art- ist awards that many of my cisgender peers have been awarded! RS: I'm thinking about the role of language or spoken word work in your performance strategy. For you, or your dancers or we in the audience, is it explanation? Is it elucida- tion? How do you relate to that? SD: All of my work features language and text. Not constantly, and not in all parts of my work, but that's central for me. I'm a writer. I'm in love with language and story- telling. I love the smoothness or crispness or urgency of breath in spoken language. But language for me is not used as “explanation” in my work. It's there because as a writer and poet, I love the relationship of language to breath, to our lungs and our diaphragm and our muscles as we're moving. I know there's still a tradition of “purity” in dance that says we “shouldn't need text” to com- municate in dance. I don't believe that at all. As a human being, I use language and story in my every day life as well as in movement. It also creates a deep connection between the audience and myself. RS: For someone who doesn't know the con- text at all, is that getting closer to musical theater, or dance theater? Is that an accurate description? SD: Dance-theater, sure. I use "dance-the- ater" often as a shorthand, but it's not a per- fect fit to describe what I do. It does indicate the use of story, or text, or character, and that's important to convey.

RS: You've emphasized the importance of teaching, community building, and

8 in dance APR 2018


| |

| |

rs r rs r

. r . r

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org I | | rs r . r

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify unify strengthen a plify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94103 www.dancersgroup.org

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online