October 2018 In Dance

ON TRADITIONAL OHLONE LAND: Dancing Earth at Alcatraz

MEMBERSHIP Dancers’ Group – publisher of In Dance – provides resources to artists, the dance community, and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. LEVELS AND BENEFITS Community (FREE): • Performances This Week emails • Weekly emails featuring audition & job notices, artistic opportunities, news, and more • Access to artist resources (no login required) and other content on Dancers’ Group’s website • Action alerts about arts policy and special opportunities • Pick up In Dance for free at Dancers’ Group’s office or one of our drop-off locations Individual ($50/yr, $90/2yr): All Community benefits plus: • 10 issues of In Dance mailed to you each year • Discounts to performances, classes, workshops, space rentals, and more • Access to Grant Calendar of upcoming deadlines • Full access to resources on dancersgroup.org • Bay Area Dance Week registration discount Company ($85/yr, $153/2yr): All Community & Individual benefits plus DISCOUNTS ON: • Bay Area Dance Week guide advertising • In Dance advertising • Postcard Distribution • Public Relations Do-It-Yourself Guide and Media Contact List


These performances demonstrate Dancing Earth’s understanding of metaphor, indigenous strength and beauty, and a deep understanding of the body, gravity, and contemporary ensemble dance practice. Although I have not had the opportunity to preview GROUNDWORKS , I imagine that it employs some of the same “performance ritual” visual elements, and co-mingling of global indigenous forms as past Dancing Earth productions, with specific attention to site. Both Tangen and Parker identified Alcatraz as a place for the activation of reclaiming Indigenous Land and a profoundly symbolic location for Native people in the Bay Area. Tangen described the performance as “an offering to the community in a way that is location-based...an offering to the land and intertribal community platform.” The site also liberates Dancing Earth from the Western stage. GROUNDWORKS will be performed among the thousands of individuals visiting the island and throughout multiple sites on the island. Tangen and Parker stressed that GROUNDWORKS is an effort to connect people to activism through art, bring

“AS CONTEMPORARY PEOPLE we’re taking the responsibil- ity to create the songs and dances that speak to our time now...and creating intertribal and global indigenous rela- tionships, and creating new languages of collaboration... sharing what is appropriate to share in order to learn from each other.” (Rulan Tangen. Personal interview. 21 August 2018.) This year, like many years before, in the twilight before dawn, boats will run from one piece of traditional Ohlone land, San Francisco, to another, Alcatraz Island, for the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Gathering. This is a day of solidarity by, for, and with Indigenous people. And this year is special. On October 8, 2018, for the first time, the City of San Francisco will officially cel- ebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day. It also marks 49 years since the “Indians of All Tribes” occupied Alcatraz in protest of the discrimination, land rights restrictions, and living conditions of all Amer- icans native to Turtle Island, or the United States. This year, visitors to the island will experience GROUNDWORKS , a mul- tidisciplinary and mobile performance art installation

Rulan Tangen / photo by Paulo Taveres

JOIN or RENEW dancersgroup.org / 415-920-9181

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

awareness to social and environmental justice in a digestible and beautiful way, to inspire each other, and to inspire artists and activists to keep moving forward. For Tangen, this work is about collabo- ration and resilience. In a time where pro- test is the predominant mode of combating colonialism let us not forget the power of art, culture and beauty and the necessity for healing in imagining and creating the world in which we want to live. Dancing Earth is a living, collaborative manifestation of this vital process. 1. August 23rd interview at the Kennedy Center with Denise Saunders Jones of the International Associa- tion of Blacks in Dance 2. Blade of Grass GABRIELLE UBALLEZ is a cultural organizer, educa- tor, and art omnivore. She currently serves as the Minister of Collaboration and Activation for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, where it is part of her job to amplify and support work around the USDAC’s Honor Native Land Guide. Her passion for equitable arts access is rooted in 20-years of experience, at every level, in community-based arts and platforms that support artists of color. She most recently served as the executive director of Working Classroom, a grassroots arts organization of which she is an alumnus. Uballez received her B.A. in Art and Art History from Pomona College and a certifi- cate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders. She is a proud Latina, wife, and mother of a Chinese- Chicanx child, currently living in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dancing Earth presents GROUND- WORKS : Preview: Oct 5, City Hall Rotunda, SF, dancersgroup.org/rotun- da; Performance: Oct 8, Alcatraz, SF, dancingearth.org

grounded in contemporary dance and tradi- tional ceremony, curated by Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. Dancing Earth, founded in 2004, “pro- motes biocultural diversity through Indige- nous dance and related arts for the education and wellness of all people.” Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer Rulan Tangen, a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist and Blade of Grass Fellow among many other accolades, shared that the processes and productions initiated by Dancing Earth are community led and community oriented. Tangen’s pro- cess is to “transform by opening hearts,” and her work engages issues from environmental stewardship to the preservation and sharing of indigenous culture. Tangen identifies as “Kampampangan/ Norwegian with ceremonial hunka (adopted) Kulwicasa Oyate Lakota tiyo- spahe.” Through GROUNDWORKS , Tangen explores the question: Whose ground are we on? 1 According to Tangen, “decolonization not only happens through our intent but through our process.” 2 Therefore, Danc- ing Earth’s process of collaboration begins with the understanding that they are visitors in someone’s home. When Dancing Earth arrives in a community, it is by invitation. Upon arrival, they listen first. Critically, they “come with something to give rather than extract.” Dancing Earth ensemble members share their skills as arts facilitators and con- temporary dancers. They engage with elders and community members in conversations, visioning sessions and movement work- shops to explore indigenous knowledge. Dancing Earth also welcomes collaborat- ing community members to be a part of the dance production and choreography pro- cess itself. Tangen recognizes that everyone enters where they are most comfortable, that,

“sometimes they want to witness and guide, sometimes they want to experience.” Tangen described GROUNDWORKS as the product of years of nurturing cultural relationships with California First Nations friends, rela- tives and collaborators. Dancing Earth is the product of a web of global indigenous kin- ship and exchange. Tisina Parker (California Miwuk, Paiute, Pomo), dancer and project coordinator for GROUNDWORKS , emphasized that Danc- ing Earth is mindful to respect the autonomy of the cultures with whom they collaborate. Their pieces “carefully include what [local collaborators] want to share without appro- priating it.” They contain elements of the ceremony without revealing the sacred, and "share [only] what is appropriate for public sharing.” Parker described the effect of the process on her: “[it] strengthens connections to my Indigenous identity and allows me to carry traditions forward in a contemporary way, express my heritage outside of the box … [and] … experience creative growth.” Dancing Earth manifests the cultural heri- tage and prevailing existence of Indigeneity. Central to their work is the truth that Native peoples are living, contemporary people, who practice traditional and ceremonial cultures while innovating and creating new forms. Tangen’s audiences have experienced the traditional Western theater presentation of dancers on a proscenium stage, but that stage is overlaid with projections of red des- ert landscapes of infinite blue skies and rich red sand, and dancers clad in contemporary yet traditional garb undulate, the wind blow- ing in their hair. Dancing Earth incorporated elements of aerial dance, contemporary and traditional indigenous song, spoken word poetry, and reinterpreted traditional dance into these productions.


P. 4

ON THIS PAGE / Dancing Earth at Alcatraz by Gabrielle Uballez 3 / In Practice: Patrick Makuakāne’s Hula in Unusual Places by Sima Belmar 4 / Speak: Beyond Gravity by Jess Curtis with jose e abad, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Gabriel Christian, Abby Crain, and Rachael Dichter 6 / October Performance Calendar

10 / Community News 12 / Speak: Kim Epifano edited by Zackary Forcum

2 in dance OCT 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

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