July August 2019 In Dance

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

JUL /AUG 2019

Ballet Folklorico Nube De Oro, part of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Jul 6–14 photo by RJ Muna


to listening and folded in to become a part of the ritual as it continues in a new shape. What sort of ancestor will you be? Another way of asking could be “what will you be remem- bered for?” A generational view can’t contain the specifics – the precise recipe, the exact pathway of the arms in a piece of choreography, the words to the lullaby, the tenor of a laugh. The memories will reside in the DNA, below and within the subconsciousness of those who carry on, and if we are lucky, some tendrils of our values will remain in the root system of an ever-expanding future. In Dance is an integral part of Dancers’ Group’s own root system, holding strong to values which align with my own. Each month, we seek to uplift dance and the artists who make it, celebrate a diversity of perspectives and approaches, be curious, generous, dive deep into challenging issues, and stay playful and present in the abundant joy that dance can be. That is the ancestor I aim to be. Before concluding, I want to share with you – amazing, creative, powerful reader – that this July I’m bidding fare- well to my role at Dancers’ Group, after seven eventful and inspiring years. I am beginning a new adventure, as Execu- tive Director of Joe Goode Performance Group. I make this transition feeling grateful for not only the legacy of Dancers’ Group and its vibrant future but for the dance ecosystem the fills my life with meaning each and every day. May we continue working together, dancing alongside each other, and deepening that root system of values for all who come along next.

What sort of ancestor will you be? My ancestors laughed, cooked, suffered persecution, fell in love, escaped war, sought a better life, battled illness, upheld cultural traditions, cared for one another, and carried on despite difficult times. Can I tell you more about my ances- tors during the afternoon networking break? And, if there’s time, will you share the path your ancestors took? Did they arrive by boat? Did they work the land? What language did they speak? Is it the same as yours? Where does ancestral wisdom live in your body? I hope you’ll be able stay for the keynote – I hear there will be a big reveal . Are you wondering what networking and keynotes have to do with ancestry? This July, Melecio Estrella and Andrew Ward – the choreographic duo behind Fog Beast – will be playing host to a conference-turned-dance-theater-experience telling stories of the tangled ancestral roots underneath the glossy facade of our high-tech Bay Area. Dancers’ Group has commissioned this work and is partnering with the Asian Art Museum to bring it free to audiences. Readers can learn more about Fog Beast and their creative process in developing The Big Reveal in two preceding articles in the May and June issues of In Dance , both available at dancersgroup.org. Ancestry – or rather, the rage and grief collected over gen- erations, carried deep in the flesh of Native peoples, people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and myriad structurally mar- ginalized groups – unfolds beautifully in Sima Belmar’s regu- lar column In Practice , in conversation with interdisciplin- ary artist Chris Evans. It is writing about listening, about a performance that was a ritual for healing. My reading turned

Fog Beast, Jul 18-21 photo by Jessica Swanson

Octavia Rose Hingle, Aug 9-10, photo by Dalia Ortiz-Pon

AFRO URBAN SOCIETY: Uniting the African Diaspora through Dance

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THE QUESTION ‘Where are you from?’ can mean different things depending on where you are in the world. For Nkeiruka Oruche, the Artistic Director and founder of Afro Urban Society, this once was a simple ques- tion but became more complex when she moved to the United States. Nkeiruka was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, grew up in New York, Georgia and came of age and found her tribe in California. Each place she has lived has shaped her identity and commit- ment to preserving Afro urban dance culture. Through original and curated arts and event production, popular arts education and com- munity engagement Afro Urban Society create spaces for people of African descent all over the world to tell their own stories. In a candid interview Nkeiruka describes the essence of Afro Urban dance and community cultivated to celebrate the fullness of African identity; that spans many cultures and nations. Nkeiruka Oruche: In Nigeria, when people ask ‘Where are you from?’ they don’t mean where you were born or raised but your ancestral homeland. I am from the Igbo eth- nic group, which is one of about 250 differ- ent ethnic groups in Nigeria. Many Igbos in present-day Nigeria have a patrilineal society, which determines where you are from based on your father's bloodline, language, and eth- nic tribe. I grew up with a duality of culture that laid the foundation for how I approach dance. I understood that no matter where I was born or raised I had an ethnic identity that connected me to my lgbo ancestral home- land, language, and traditions. Amichi, Nige- ria is my ancestral hometown. Growing up, I lived in Lagos (Nigeria), the Bronx, Stone Mountain (Georgia), and the Los Angeles Val- ley. I finally ended up in the Bay Area in 2003 for college and have been here ever since. The question of ‘Where are you from?’ grew more complicated because my identity was shaped by all of the places that I lived in. I was no longer just Igbo but so much more! A Pan African approach to dance just felt natural because it acknowledged my multinational identity and experiences. AJ: What inspired the creation of Afro Urban Society? NO: In New York city I experienced many types of Afro Caribbean and other Non-Nige- rian African cultures. There was a collective Pan African awareness and exposure to dif- ferent accents from people of African ances- try. When I moved to the south there was little diversity and I was immersed in South- ern Black culture. Being African and different was really hard. Growing up in the South I felt more disconnected from other Nigerians and Africans. I wasn’t “African enough” and in the US I was "too African.” I attended col- lege in Southern California and San Francisco and connected with other Africans, who were first-generation immigrants or had a Pan Afri- can mindset. Afro Urban Society simply began informally as a few Africans that wanted to connect and make stuff we didn’t see. At the time, Africans were creating visual aesthet- ics specific to their ethnic identity or tribal roots. It excluded the African diaspora that has also shaped modern day African culture. We wanted to create clothing, visual art, per- formances, and events that were beyond Afri- can nationalism and included political con- sciousness of the places that we lived. Moving to the Bay Area was encouraging; here I not only met like-minded Africans but African Americans that affirmed my multidimensional expression of Blackness. In the Bay Area, I developed my Afro Urban dance practice Aries Jordan: How have your Igbo roots shaped how you approach dance?

Afro Urban Society / photo by RJ Muna

or unsheltered. Public spaces are a place to socialize, conduct business, create music or dance. From these interactions, street dance emerges and no one owns it. Each city has its own Afro Urban style but I have noticed a global thread of line dancing, freestyle, bra- vado, and call and response. Freestyle and being yourself is important. When there is music playing, you simply dance. There are no strict guidelines, instruction or rules to follow which is rooted in African tradition. Secondly, there is also a crowd celebration of solo or partner dancers that put their unique spin on traditional or contemporary movements. Crowds gather around dancers that truly embody or elevate a dance style. Line dancing and community dancing have an important function in Afro Urban dance. Line dance is an expression of unity that brings the collec- tive group together in movement. Lastly, the interaction between the dancer and music is essential. Traditionally, the exchange between the dancer and drummer is harmonious. Dancers moved in response to the music and vice versa. Contemporary Afro dance styles follow the same structure but traditional drummers have been replaced with DJs. AJ: What can your audience expect from Afro Urban Society's upcoming performance at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance festival? Also, what is Pan-Afro Urban Drumline? NO: The audience will experience the Afri- can Diaspora through dance and music. The Pan-Afro drumline is an experimen- tation of urban drum culture throughout the world preserved by people of African descent. We incorporate drum styles like Junkanoo from the Bahamas, Southern Rap, Miami bass, Second line, Bay Area Hyphy, Coupé-Décalé from Côte d'Ivoire, Dance- hall from Jamaica, Reggaeton from Puerto Rico and Igbo Folkloric Chant from Nigeria. That is the drumline! Our Pan-Afro Urban Drumline has partnered with UC Berke- ley Bearettes dance team to pay homage to HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Uni- versities] band dance culture. 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 descriptions that provoke thought and inner reflec- tion. She is a proud New Yorker based in Oakland, CA. Social media: @ariesjthepoet

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Nkeiruka Oruche / photo by Brooke Anderson

which became a meeting place for all the dif- ferent styles I had learned from Dancehall, Congolese music, hip hop, and contemporary African pop. Afro Urban Society became the umbrella to unify and center the creativity of people of African descent. AJ: How do you define Afro Urban culture and dance? NO: Afro Urban acknowledges the way peo- ple of African descent show up whether it is dance, music, fashion, or visual arts that are unique to each city or each urban locale. In America, the word “Urban” has become synonymous with African American culture. Globally urbanization describes living con- ditions and has a totally different meaning. Afro and Urban combined connects Black people from the African continent to the dias- pora. No matter where Black people are in the world, they consciously and unconsciously have a vibe that is rooted in African culture. Urban culture naturally infuses traditional and contemporary dances. Afro Urban dances are created or fostered by people of African descent living in Urban areas like Breakdance, Turf, Pantsula, Bachata and Afrobeats. AJ: What are the dance elements that make up an Afro Urban Dance experience? NO: Urban Dance is usually generated from the stories, social and political conditions of urban living. In places where dance culture is strong, it is often in disenfranchised com- munities, where people live in close quarters


ON THIS PAGE / Afro Urban Society: Uniting the African

Diaspora through Dance by Aries Jordan

3 / Swing Dance in the Bay Area by Mina Rios 4 / In Practice: Chris Evans by Sima Belmar 6 / Jul/Aug Performance Calendar 8 / Colleen Mulvihill Remembrance 10 / Speak: Invaluable Lessons by Amy Seiwert 11 / Summer Reads by Community Submission

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival presents: Afro Urban Society with the UC Berkeley Bearettes: Jul 6-7, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, sfethnicdancefestival.org or afrourbansociety.com

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IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST. You know that toe-tap- ping, pre- World War II tune Sing, Sing, Sing that commands you to dance the moment you hear it? That was the point of the catchy jazz arrangement by Louis Prima, famously performed by Benny Goodman and his orchestra – to get listeners up on their feet. Swing music worked its magic back then – as it does today, conjuring up an intoxicat- ing social dance experience. Jazz music of this kind, treasured by countless people over multiple generations, will never be forgot- ten. Enthusiasts wouldn’t allow it. For this reason, swing music and dance live on – as it must – in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the globe. Today, you could say swing has a some- what underground existence. You’re less likely to see swing events publicized widely through paid advertising outlets. Under- ground as it may seem, swing communi- ties are far reaching in both rural and urban areas worldwide. Enthusiasts are savvy to knowing precisely where to find the lat- est happenings in their area; usually online through social media, specific websites, and word of mouth. Just as important as it is to learn the steps to the various swing dance styles, knowing the basic history of swing and learning about what led to swing’s revival in the 1980s and 90s, is equally essential information for any newcomer to the scene. Swing emerged in Harlem, New York during the depression and made its mark at the Savoy Ballroom – America’s first swing club showcasing American jazz dance, now known as swing. The first official swing dance, the Lindy Hop, a partner dance driven by African rhythms with dance influ- ences from the Charleston and tap, became an international sensation when legendary Savoy dancer Frankie Manning added aerial dance moves to the Lindy, inspiring a mul- titude of other swing styles, i.e. the Balboa, Shag, and others – all the way through the end of World War II. The swing resurgence of the 1980s and 90s was a pop culture phenomenon. Follow- ing the popularity of the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers, featuring the big band sound of Cab Calloway, and the colossal response to rockabilly music by The Stray Cats, danc- ers from Sweden and Pasadena, California went on a mission to track down some of the original 1930s/40s swing dancers. Frankie Manning and other notable dancers such as Al Minns agreed to teach an eager genera- tion of dancers the Lindy Hop and other swing dance styles. Classes and workshops led by the legendary dancers were held worldwide, expanding the new generation of swing dancers globally, and prompting the first ever Swing Dance Camp – held in Her- räng, Sweden – becoming one of the fore- most swing dance events on the global radar to date. Music influences during the 80s and 90s swing revival included the Royal Crown Revue, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddy’s. Movies such as A League of Their Own and Swingers also played a significant role during the swing comeback; as did the 1998 Gap commercial Khakis Swing – fea- turing Lindy Hop dance to Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.” Often, when we think of swing dancing, high energy lifts and swift aerial dance steps come to mind. Finding this kind of specta- tor entertainment is fairly uncommon these days; but Stanford Swingtime in Palo Alto – Stanford University’s premiere performance- based swing dance troupe, comprised of Stanford undergraduates and graduate stu- dents, has created such an outlet.

Following college, Watanabe began swing lessons through a Park & Recreation class in Palo Alto and received further training in West Coast Swing, Jitterbug, and Lindy Hop in San Francisco. Looking back 23 years, during Lindy in the Park’s early beginning, Watanabe says, “At that time, there were only around 30 people actively dancing Lindy Hop and we were all connected via email. One of us knew about the bandshell in Golden Gate Park and thought it would be fun to dance there. For several months, we would talk about it, but never get around to it. Eventu- ally, my friend, Chad Kubo, and I decided to organize an outing to the bandshell, so I emailed everyone on the list. I showed up early to sweep the bandshell, and Chad brought his boombox. To our amaze- ment, the electrical outlets at the bandshell worked! Thirteen people showed up, and we had so much fun that we had 3 more that Summer and Fall. In the Spring of 1997, we decided to make it a regularly weekly event. At the same time, swing dancing became cool again, and as the fad grew, more people were getting into the swing dancing and vintage fashion, more retro swing bands were forming, and more clubs were featuring swing bands and classes. It was kind of like the perfect storm. Word spread and Lindy in the Park grew quickly in size, and the rest is history.” If night-time swing dance socials with live music and martinis are your thing, there’s some swank venues around town worth checking out. By night, Watanabe is a swing event pro- ducer for the weekly Woodchopper’s Ball in San Francisco, offering live music and danc- ing every Tuesday night at the historic Verdi Club - a newly renovated 2,500 square-foot ballroom and lounge with a full bar. What makes attending swing events at the Verdi Club so special? Watanabe explains, “It features the largest variety of live swing dance music in San Francisco. We have a different band each week. So far, we’ve had over 40 bands.” Regular bands include Clint Baker, Johnny Bones and The Palace of Jazz, the Hot Baked Goods, the Oaktown Strutters, the Cotton- tails, the Alpha Rhythm Kings, Jellyroll, the Silver Bell Jazz Band, Lisa Gonick & the Damfino Players, the Fil Lorenz Orchestra, Laura Lackey’s Rhythm Revue, Sam Rocha and his Cool Friends, the B-Stars, Rob Reich Swings Left, and Nirav Sanghani and the Pacific Six. There’s no denying that the Bay Area swing scene has no short supply of live music. That’s one sure way to pick a choice venue for learning swing and becoming a regular; follow the live music. Whether you’re partial to live music or learning how to Lindy in the Park, there’s an abundance of events happening daily in these parts. Get on board now and watch the scene as it grows. Before long, someone will produce another hit film, song, or album that will send peo- ple into another burning frenzy, initiating an insatiable desire to learn how to Boogie Woogie. Wait and see. Originally from San Francisco, Mina Rios is a free- lance journalist and voice for the global arts com- munity through stimulating, under-reported journal- ism. Driven by her background in music, dance, drama, and a passion for the arts, Rios writes for a variety of California based publications including: In Dance , Sonoma Magazine , North Bay Bohemian , Pacific Sun , and The San Diego Reader. Rios also offers writing services in ad copy, press releases, business proposals, and grant acquisitions through her consulting business Mina Communications.

Jean Baptiste Ruffio and Bonnie Nortz / photo by Paul Csonka

Lindy in the Park / photo by Jeremy Cooper

Founded in 2002 – the troupe, funded by Stanford University, holds regular auditions – open to Stanford students only with no prior dance experience. While the qualifications are lenient, a hint of verve does go a long way; “Swingtime members are chosen for attitude as much as aptitude,” as it states on the Swingtime audition web page. Maya Lee Ziv, Digital Media & Alumni Relations Chair for Stanford Swingtime shares, “Some dancers have turned profes- sional. A few Swingtime alums have gone on to compete at Camp Hollywood and other swing events. Paul Csonka, who was Swing- time’s Artistic Director for a few years, is out there making us proud with Audrey Ho, who ran the Stanford Lindy Project for a while.” Members of Swingtime also host quarterly Stanford Swing Dancers (SSD) events (for- merly the Stanford Lindy Project), which are free and open to the public. Current presi- dent of Stanford Swingtime, Alexandra Ber- nard, teaches many of the SSD workshops held weekly at White Plaza on the Stanford campus.

If you’re attending one of Stanford’s quar- terly social dance events, such as the annual Big Dance held in the Spring or the Fall Ball, live swing music is a typical standard. Among the favorite featured bands is the Don Neely Swingtet. SSD events also encourage the following Partner Dance Roles: (1) Don’t assume some- one leads or follows based on gender pre- sentation. You can invite someone to dance by asking “Would you like to lead me/follow me in this song?” If you plan to switch roles within a single dance, clear it with your part- ner first. (2) Wear ribbons (when available) to indicate a willingness to lead or follow or both that night; it will make finding a part- ner more efficient. If there’s one swing event in the Bay Area that’s a definite must, particularly for the absolute beginner, it’s San Francisco’s world-famous Lindy in the Park. Every Sun- day from 11am – 2pm in Golden Gate Park (weather permitting), 100-200 seasoned and aspiring lindy hoppers head to San Fran- cisco’s best known, free, outdoor swing hub. From weekly regulars to first time goers, an ethnically diverse crowd of individuals predominantly attend, ranging in age from young adult to seniors in their 80s. Head instructor Hep Jen and head orga- nizer, co-founder/swing dance instructor Ken Watanabe spearheaded the event back in August 1996, offering a free beginner les- son to help grow the recurring event. If there’s one swing event in the Bay Area that’s a definite must, particularly for the absolute beginner, it’s San Francisco’s world-famous Lindy in the Park.

HERE'S A FEW SWING DANCE RESOURCES Cats Corner For Dancers Only LindyCircle.com Lindy in the Park Northern California Lindy Society

Stanford Swingtime The Bootleggers Ball The Breakaway The Dancers Den The 9:20 Special The Woodchopper’s Ball Wednesday Night Hop


in dance JUL/AUG 2019

IN PRACTICE: Reconstructing Reconstruction with Chris Evans


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GRIEVE in the con- text of perpetual marginalization and terror- ization? What are the contours of grief in the afterlife of ancestral, epigenetic, and inter- generational trauma? And what if what is grieving is the earth itself? What if there’s no way to move on? Chris Evans’ collaborative, multidisci- plinary, multimedia event Reconstructions Performance Ritual is divided into four parts: a gallery installation performance in three cycles (Cycle 1: Find Me, Cycle 2: Grief, Cycle 3: Rage); a staged performance (This Must Break); a procession through Oakland’s Idora Park/Rancho San Antonio/Ohlone Land neighborhood; and a shared meal curated by Thuy Tran. The installation, staged perfor- mance, and meal took place over two week- ends in March at the Idora Park Project Space at the corner of Shattuck and 56th Street, a former French laundry built in 1934. In the gallery, grief, rather than a unidi- rectional and finite process, is a cycle that repeats. And rage, rather than operating as a necessary step on the path towards mov- ing on from grief, is the core affect around which the project circles. Reconstructions Performance Ritual is the final installment of the Reconstruction Study Project that Evans began in collaboration with Broun Felli- nis saxophonist/keyboardist/vocalist David Boyce in 2015. Each study is an investigation into the affective afterlife of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era in the US. Through- out the work, Evans, dancer/choreographer Byb Bibene, and Boyce embody historical, biblical, and composite characters to explore the question, “What is the liberatory potential of rage?” Evans writes, “The project begins with the premise that we in America are born, in the words of Lillian Smith, onto a ‘Trem- bling Earth,’ a trembling that began with the first violence done to the First Peoples.” Idora Park Project Space is the home of choreographer/dancer/director/cellist Evans and her partner in life and art, installation artist/sculptor/exhibitions designer Ernest Jolly. The couple worked on Reconstructions Performance Ritual with Bibene, Boyce, cos- tume designer/vintage clothing store owner/ one-woman-show-wonder Regina Evans, lighting designer/visual and performing art- ist Stephanie Anne Johnson, dancer/choreog- rapher Latanya D. Tigner, and co-producer curator/artist Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen. The number of backslashes alone attests to the range of experiences, interests, and talents that went into the construction of Reconstructions. I attended the penultimate performance ritual on March 30. What follows is a recon- struction of my trembling conversation with

Photos by Sibila Savage

Evans at Idora Park Project Space, in her liv- ing room, which had only recently been the site of the staged performance and shared meal segments of the ritual. Evans and I have talked a lot about her process and her ideas over the past few years so there will be under-explicated assumptions throughout our discourse. I hope you will allow your- self to float in the lazy river of our talk and worry not about extracting anything solid from its silty bed.

predominantly people of color. There’s some- thing about this self-healing that is happening within communities that have been trauma- tized and marginalized. I asked everyone who worked on the piece what kinds of things they did in order to process, what were their own personal ritu- als, and Latanya said something that made a lot of sense to me. She said, “I’m never out of it.” So it’s not really a question of processing it and then it being done. The couple nights after the show I couldn’t sleep because I felt like the earth was so sad and weighted upon. [ Tears. ] It’s such a huge question. There’s nothing I can do to solve that. But I can be in my work about it, around it. SB: You and I have talked a lot about what it means to listen. I consider myself a good listener but I’m often (always?) respond- ing to what I’m hearing in my head, which doesn’t feel like good listening to me. CE: We talk so much about listening and there’s so little listening that actually hap- pens. For the staged performance, when you walk in you’re hearing a story told in a language that most people wouldn’t recog- nize. It was the Ohlone language Chochenyo, the first language spoken on these lands by human beings. There was a night when people were buzzing with questions about the language, all of this talking. I didn’t want you to necessarily understand it. I wanted its meaning to come into your body. I wanted you to be in a state of not knowing and still allow something to come in. So at the last performance, Rhiannon read something I wrote about listening to the audience—that this is an opportunity to listen and let the unknown come into your body through your pores, through your ears, without you try- ing to capture it in words. I hope people had some experience of that because I think it’s key for anything to change. SB: You asked me to do some writing about this work. What does a writing that’s a lis- tening look like? Why write about a ritual performance? What does the writing serve? invisible as an artist and being made visible. Most of my collaborators are not as visible as they should be. They are super talented, accomplished people who don’t get enough support for what they do. And you’re who I wanted to write about it because I’ve talked to you a lot about this, I know you’re going to be aware of racial dynamics, you’re think- ing about history, you’re thinking about the embedded racism that is throughout so many of our artistic structures and institu- tions. And I was also curious to see what you would do. Your writing is a continuation of the work in a different form. CE: Part of it is practical, to have the docu- mentation. Part of it is I have felt fairly

ally give way to acceptance and forgiveness of self and others. But if you are a victim of systemic, structural violence that separates and hierarchizes humanities, then I can see that you’re always already living grieving, and then something has to give for you to feel the injustice, which is radically different. CE: That direction of anger to grief is a bit of a masculine construct and potentially a west- ern European white construct. For people who are not allowed to express anger, that anger gets buried under grief, and people who are not allowed to express anger are not allowed to be fully human members of a community. The only emotion available for them/us to express is grief or sadness or depression, because if you express anger you’d be killed. I’m interested in how to let that grief move through to find that righ teous anger. SB: How do you feel about what happened in the work that you made? What you were hoping to make visible, palpable? CE: I feel like this kind of ritual work that I did with this piece, that people like Amara [Tabor-Smith] and Ellen [Sebastian Chang] do, like Dohee [Lee] does, is happening in different places, and it’s as if we’re creating these pools of water that are starting to join. I feel almost funny saying I created this work because it came to me, like I was told, ok, this is your part to do to join the work of these other artists, who have influenced me and been such an important part of my growth as an artist. And the people I collaborated with on every aspect were so much a part of mak- ing it realize itself. I think this ritual work is also so much about healing participants. The audiences for this work are diverse and often

Sima Belmar: Why does rage follow grief in this work?

Chris Evans: David and Byb have a duet about grief, black men’s grief specifically, the loss of and assault on intimacy and connec- tion. After we finished the shows and in the process of coming back to life, it felt like the earth was grieving, and I didn’t know what to do with that. I think of rage as having this transformative power, particularly the Jim Coble story 1 , which was one of the first inspirations for the piece. Through his rage he transformed his life. How does rage get channeled into transformation? But I think the grief has to happen first because there’s so much trapped energy in people and then the rage can get expressed. SB: What you’re saying makes me think that moving from anger to grief to acceptance is a privileged order of emotional life. Like maybe you’re angry at your mother or your boss and that anger is getting in the way of feeling the grief over what you didn’t get that you needed in life. This suggests that the playing field is even and it is an individual process of internalizing pain that can eventu-



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SB: Like Clementine! She’s a character in a children’s book series, who is always getting in trouble for not paying attention at school. But she always asserts, “But I was paying attention!”—just not to the lesson, rather, to the sky outside or a classmate’s pigtails. Tell me a bit about what you were paying atten- tion to while performing in the work? CE: In the gallery we were excavating. Here, in this artificial, theatrical space, it was about reconstructing. I became a different person in here. I felt my fierceness and my authority. I wasn’t just excavating and listening and hav- ing things channel through my body. I was full with that and I had something to say. It was very different. I felt my own rage in here. CE: The archetype I was embodying was about in-between-ness and invisibility and the deep feminine. To stand up and be seen and heard unapologetically was a powerful experience in front of an audience. It was me and not me. I felt like I became an ancestor spirit that was saying, You need to hear me. I was Dorcas, a biblical character, a seam- stress, who had a group of widows who were her disciples, I think. In the story she dies and St. Peter raises her from the dead. I read that story as this transition from matriarchal to patriarchal religions and that being risen from the dead was not a good thing but rather an appropriating thing, where she becomes a symbol of the power of patriarchal, monothe- istic religion—a violence. SB: Fierce is how I felt your presence here. Though the interview drops off here, Chris and I continued talking over rice cakes and hummus in her living room that had been the theater space, that had been the ritual space, that continues to be a space that welcomes ghosts to help heal us all. 1. “ […] a story passed down to David from his great uncle about a family relative named Jim Coble. Sometime around 1910 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Jim Coble killed 10 white people in the town’s general store. Eluding the inevitable pWosse that ended for so many in lynching, Coble and his family escaped to Mexico where David still has relatives” (reconstructionstudy.net). SIMA BELMAR, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in the Depart- ment of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at the University 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 , Perfor- mance Matters , Contemporary Theatre Review , and The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies . Her writing on living in Naples can be found at under- theneapolitanson.blogspot.com. To keep up with Sima’s writing please subscribe to tinyletter.com/ simabelmar.

I’ve been trying to practice listening in making this project. Not just listening to people—listening to place, the non-material world, the past, things we may not see or that do not fit into our rational understand- ing of a thing to be listened to. So in order to make this piece I had to keep trusting and keep listening. This didn’t come from inside me. This came from somewhere else and I lis- tened. That allowed me to see and hear and create things that I couldn’t have done with- out that. I have this image of you writing and you doing that sort of meditation and that sort of listening and seeing what comes and trusting that. SB: Ok. I want to be fiercely honest. I feel bereft because I wasn’t really present enough for your show. [ Tears. ] It was really shitty timing for me. I wasn’t even supposed to be here. I was supposed to be in New York but I had to cancel the trip. It was such a low point and then I missed the gallery sec- tion and I’m angry at myself for that. I feel like I let you down. Like I betrayed some- thing. Like I was supposed to show up in a certain way and I didn’t. So I was already having trouble connecting to the perfor- mance because of my own shit, which, truth be told, happens at almost every perfor- mance until I have a chance to arrive, settle in, await the moment that pulls me into feel- ing, into an experience. While I wait, I watch the dancing, the technique, the patterns. I get into design thinking. I start to ask ques- tions about the work and make connections. I begin to think about how I’d write about what I’m witnessing.When I entered this space, I thought, Why aren’t we in a circle? (I was making assumptions about rituals “…listen and let the unknown come into your body through your pores, through your ears, without you trying to capture it in words.” —CHRIS EVANS needing to transpire in circles.) Then you invited audience members onto the stage. I loved watching them watch us as we listened to the unbearable litany of numbers, dollar amounts and ages from the auction block. It went on for a long time and the air became thick with grief and rage, but also with more minor affects like discomfort and irritation. Then, the minute you began playing the cello, I felt physically moved by its sound and by where you go facially while you’re playing. I felt like I was being rolled around viscerally. That was when I stopped resisting the work and ceased to feel like I’d fucked it up by the time I got there. You mentioned water earlier. I felt the per- formance to be a container rather than the water itself, a vessel for the flow of grief and rage. I felt like I was being held by the per- formance for my own nonsense, which may have nothing to do with what was motivat- ing this work. I think I’m telling you that I wanted to rise to what you made because of how I know you. [ Full crying now. ] I felt a certain responsibility to the work. CE: When you said that you felt like you were in a container and you were having all of these feelings—that’s ritual. It’s not per- formance. That was my goal. I want people to feel and I want it to be a place of heal- ing. I think that’s my work in this world, to help all of us heal in different ways. You had a whole journey and I think that’s amazing. You’re saying you weren’t present but you really were.

Flyaway Productions ($22,000) for MEET US

Dancers’ Group Announces Spring 2019 CA$H Awards CA$H are bi-annual awards supporting Bay Area dance artists and organizations. $42,000 in grants are being awarded to seven individual artists and seven dance orga- nizations in support of artistic projects—each grant award is $3,000. CA$H supports artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and creative practices. Projects supported this round feature Hula, Bharatanatyam, performance ritual, Persian, contemporary, Cuban folkloric, and dance works focused on the experi- ences of artists of color. The CA$H program, which has been supporting dance- makers for the past 19 years, is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Grants for the Arts.

Rainin Foundation Awards Arts Grants Grants will support arts

QUICKLY WITH YOUR MERCY: Part 2 of The Decarceration Trilogy (MERCY), the second piece in a trilogy of perfor- mances exploring the effects of prison on American citizens. Fresh Meat Productions ($21,000 ) for The Lost Art of Dreaming, Sean Dorsey Dance’s new full-length work, which investigates what is possible when trans, gender non-conforming, and queer and optimistically about their futures, at a time when threats to these communities have escalated. Fua Dia Congo ($20,000) for Lufuki: The Origins of Funk, a new site-specific dance creation rooted in a dialogue in dance between traditional Congolese movement, Afro Urban dance styles, and Hip Hop. Jess Curtis/Gravity Inc. ($22,000) for (in)Visible, a new experimental perfor- mance piece grounded in research of the intersections of movement, culture, sensory difference, and physical diver- sity in live performance. Demons, an immersive multi- media bharatanatyam dance production which explores increasing income disparities within the local South Asian community. The Dance Brigade ($30,000) for Comhar, a festi- val featuring unique collabora- tions between artists, healers, scientists, and community. krfoundation.org communities are encour- aged to think expansively Nava Dance Theatre ($15,000) for Tea with

organizations in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and col- laborations designed to help artists thrive. AXIS Dance Company ($21,000) for Alice, which explores the intersections between people with dis- abilities and the homeless community through the story of Alice in Wonderland. Dance, an immersive perfor- mance on the USS Potomac which seeks to deconstruct the white male body’s expression of power and challenge its role in American democracy. Counterpulse ($21,000) for Weaving Many Spirits: Two-Spirit Native American Artist Commissioning, a performance festival seeking to decolonize gender through Indigenous performance. choreography by Leyya Mona Tawil in collaboration with art- ists will be featured as part of the Arab.AMP festival, which focuses on experimental live art from the Arab diaspora, celebrates the plurality of Arab voices, and challenges identity legibility. Eastside Arts Alliance ($30,000) for LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE (LAIR), a program that fosters risk-taking, rigor and radical critique on the role of political activism, cultural work and art in society. Eye Zen Presents ($30,000) for OUT of Site: SOMA, a new site-responsive, immersive LGBTQ+ walking tour. OUT of Site: SOMA will focus on San Francisco’s South of Mar- ket (SOMA) neighborhood, celebrating its new status as the first LGBTQ+ and Leather Cultural District. Constance Hockaday ($30,000) for Old Man, Dance Elixir ($25,000) for Noise & Nation, a new

The 14 Spring 2019 Dance grantees are:

Individual Artists Susana Arenas Surabhi Bharadwaj Cherie Hill Irene Hsi

randy reyes Liv Schaffer Keisha Turner

Organizations ¡FLACC! Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers Halau o Keikiali’i inkBoat Lenora Lee Dance NAKA Dance Theater Sense Object Shahrzad Dance Academy dancersgroup.org/cash


in dance JUL/AUG 2019

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

choreographer Stephanie Martinez (winner of the Joffrey Ballet’s “Winning Works: Choreog- raphers of Color” commission). Wed-Sat, Jul 17-20, 8pm, $25-55. asimagery.org

Fog Beast Asian Art Museum, SF

Melecio Estrella and Andrew Ward of Fog Beast use body-based theatrics in The Big Reveal , a subversive art experience with dancing, humor and live music. Presented in the format of a corporate conference turned dance theater experience, this interactive performance draws on family histories and immigration stories to consider access and belonging, revealing what lies beneath modern corporate America. As an audience member, you will move through the museum, orienting and reorienting yourself in “networking” sessions and in-depth breakout groups, culminating in a full-throttle keynote address. Co-presented by Dancers’ Group and The Asian Art Museum. Thu, Jul 18, 6-8:30pm; Sat-Sun, Jul 20-21, 10:30am-4:30pm, FREE . fogbeast.com Subversion invites artists working with themes of social justice, community-empowerment, and political awakening to come try out new work/work-in-progress in front of a live audi- ence. Each evening will have four featured per- formers, plus an optional facilitated feedback session afterwards for those seeking input on their creations. Fri Jul 26, 8pm, FREE . theexit.org IncivilitySF EXIT Theatre, SF

Genevieve Rochefor and Mel Mark SAFEhouse Arts, SF

Genevieve Rochefort’s new work explores partnerwork and use of the gaze. Mel Mark examines games and play in “No one can play this game alone.” Presented by SAFEhouse’s Resident Artists Workshop. Fri-Sat, Jul 26-27, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org

Garrett+Moulton, Aug 9-11 / Photo by RJ Muna

SF Ethnic Dance Festival: Weekend 1 Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley Featuring 15 Bay Area dance and music ensem- bles showcasing traditions from around the world: Afro Urban Society + Bearettes, Chitresh Das Institute, Gâta Bantu, Jubilee American Dance Theatre, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Kiazi Malonga, Kohaku + Shiho Tendou, L'Emir Has- san Harfouche + Georges Lammam Ensemble, Los Lupeños de San José, Nicole Maria + Georges Lammam Ensemble, O D K, and SF Taiko Dojo. Sat-Sun, Jul 6 & 7, 3pm, $14-68. sfethnicdancefestival.org

Carolina Lugo’s & Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, SF A mother & daughter duo, Carolina’s y Carole’s, high energy and passion defines a new dimen- sion in Spanish dance traditions. Saturdays,

third annual ChoreoFest features nine local companies in a weekend of extraordinary per- formances throughout the Gardens’ lawns and architecture. Sat-Sun, Jul 13 & 14, 1pm, FREE . ybgfestival.org SF Ethnic Dance Festival: Weekend 2 Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley Performances by 13 Bay Area dance and music ensembles showcasing traditions from around the world, including: Awon Ohun Omnira (Voices of Freedom), Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro, Cunamacué, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, Feng Ye Dance Studio, Guru Shradha + Antara Asthaayi Dance + Navia Dance Academy, Jackeline Rago, Parangal Dance Company, Tara Catherine Pandeya, and

ODC/Dance ODC Theater, SF

This year Summer Sampler features two unique programs over two back-to-back weeks. ODC’s Artistic Directors and Choreog- raphers (Brenda Way, KT Nelson, Kate Weare

Jul 6-Aug 31, 7pm, $22. pachamamacenter.org

HEARTLAND: Woodland Creatures Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley

A pop-up event from Salt Lake City choreogra- pher Molly Heller and composer Michael Wall, HEARTLAND is a dance party within a DANCE PARTY in which multiple performances happen amidst moving and grooving. Sat, Jul 13, 8pm, $15-20. shawl-anderson.org Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest Yerba Buena Gardens, SF Curated by RAWdance’s Artistic Directors, the

Te Mana O Te Ra. Sat-Sun, Jul 13 & 14, 3pm $14-68. sfethnicdancefetival.org

Amy Seiwert's Imagery ODC Theater, SF

Junji Dezaki and Norma Ann Taitano Phillips, part of SpectorDance Choreographers Showcase, Aug 3-4 / Photo by Michael Higgins

SKETCH 9 : Perspective features original works by Artistic Director Amy Seiwert, Artistic Fel- low Ben Needham-Wood, and Chicago based

Christina Carter, Aug 2-3 / Photo by Andy Barron

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In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

JUL/AUG 2019

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201

SpectorDance SpectorDance, Marina

The Choreographers Showcase offers local audi- ences a chance to see a wide variety of original, cutting-edge works from dance artists from around the country, celebrating the diversity and vitality of dance as a contemporary art form today. Sat, Aug 3, 7:30pm; Sun, Aug 4, 2pm, see website for ticket information. spectordance.org bananarama and Octavia Rose Hingle SAFEhouse Arts, SF Performing arts collective bananarama (Clarissa Dyas, Kassidy Friend, Nicole Maimon, and Manuel Mendoza) present a new work that stud- ies the obsession with genitalia as a predeter- mination of gender, the inherent voyeurism of a present audience, and the masculine/feminine energy dynamic. Octavia Rose Hingle imagines the future when ocean tides have seized the land at the water’s edge and the Bay Area, as we know it, is underwater in their new performance work The Gills Beneath Our Flesh . Presented by SAFEhouse’s Resident Artist Workshop. Fri-Sat, Aug 9-10, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Four Acts of Light and Wonder features two world premieres and a US premiere set to original music and the reprise of a popular work set to Mozart. Janice Garrett presents The Over-Soul and Moulton’s newest iteration of his crowd favorite Ball Passing , the US premiere of Garrett’s Gojubi and the reprise of The Mozart (2017) all with live music. Fri-Sat, Aug 9-10, 8pm; Sun, Aug 11, 3pm, $25-42. garrettmoulton.org International Deaf Dance Festival Dance Mission Theater, SF Produced by Urban Jazz Dance company, the annual event consists of performances and workshops that highlight the important contri- butions that Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) artists make to our community. This year they have many local Deaf artists, some flying in from India, Colombia, Taiwan, Jamaica, Mexico, Washington DC, Arkansas and more. There will be a diversity of Sign Languages including but not limited to Colombian Sign Language, Ameri- can Sign Language, International Sign Language and Russian Sign Language. Fri-Sat, Aug 9-10, 7:30pm; Sun, Aug 11, 2pm, $12-30. realurbanjazzdance.com Garrett + Moulton Productions YBCA Theater, SF

Parangal Dance Company, part of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Jul 6-14 / Photo by RJ Muna

Mel Mark, Jul 26-27 / Photo by Eric Allen

and Kimi Okada) collaborate and cross- pollinate on a new work exploring survival and escape during trying times over the first weekend. The second weekend features works by Brenda Way. Fri-Sat, Jul 26-27 & Aug 2-3,

8pm, $30. odc.dance

NewGround Dance Company Canada College Theater, Redwood City

Star Seed , a poetic weave of dance, voice, and imagery focusing on 3 powerful seeds that live inside each of us. When these 3 seeds are planted in the human heart, a new humanity is born. Sat, Jul 27 & Aug 3, 7pm, $25. newgrounddance.com

Kathy Mata Ballet, Aug 24 / Photo by Jennifer V. Zee

Dalton Alexander Studio 210, SF

nity to witness the cycle of decay and creation through the movement language of dance. Gwendoline Hornig and collaborators explore women’s bodies, voices and agency through- out history in their new work. Presented by SAFEhouse’s Resident Artist Workshop. Fri- Sat, Aug 16-17, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Megan Lowe Dances Athletic Playground, Emeryville Action Potential is a site-specific dynamic dance and live music adventure by Megan Lowe Dances. Audiences will be led through space, with dancers interacting with ladders, planks, bars, mats, blocks, aerial apparatus, walls, and each other. Sat, Aug 17 & 24, 6 & 8pm; Sun, Aug 18 & 25, 7pm, $20-30. actionpotential.eventbrite.com Two works will be presented that look at transformation and nurturing. Fri, Aug 23, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org Kathy Mata Ballet Mercy High School, SF The program will present classical and contemporary ballet pieces performed with live accompaniment, as well as numbers incorporating many different dance styles, including modern, lyrical fusion, contempo- rary, musical theater, character, and much more. Sat, Aug 24, 7pm, FREE . kathymataballet.org ayanadancearts SAFEhouse Arts, SF

Christina Carter, Es “Delight” Co, and Connolly Strombeck SAFEhouse Arts, SF

#Whitenoise strives to collide nostalgia for the past with current American affairs. Fri-Sat, Aug 9-10, 16-17, & 23-24; 8pm; Sun-Mon, Aug 11-12,

7pm; Sun, Aug 18 & 25, 7pm. dalexandermoves.space

Christina Carter explores the work and plea- sure of activism in her new solo. Es “Delight” Co is directed by Esra Coskun and presents a new dance work examining loss. Connolly Strombeck is also presenting new work on this program. Presented by SAFEhouse’s Resident Artist Workshop. Fri-Sat, Aug 2-3, 8pm, $15-20. safehousearts.org

Francesca Cipponeri and Gwendoline Hornig SAFEhouse Arts, SF Francesca Cipponeri’s new work is the embodi- ment of redemption and ransom; an opportu-

Guru Shradha, part of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Jul 6-14 / Photo by RJ Muna


in dance JUL/AUG 2019

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