Winter 2021 In Dance

(Opposite) Vera Schwegler and Kara Townsend, (left) Olutola Afalayan, Colin McDowell, Robin Nasatir, Kara Townsend and Vera Schwegler; (right) Michael Armstrong

O ne Saturday afternoon last Febru- ary, I sat upstairs in Shawl-Anderson Dance Center’s large studio space watching Dana Lawton Dances (DLD) prepare their upcoming new work, The Farallonites . Created by Artistic Director Dana Lawton, scored by Thomas Edler and inspired by a set of poems by Jennifer Kulbeck, The Farallonites was slated to premiere April 24, 2020 at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. When I was invited to observe this particular rehearsal, the mixed discipline collaboration was well on its way. A blend of text, music, light and movement, the evening-length piece told the story of the dedicated lighthouse keepers who lived on the Farallon Islands in the 1800s - an uninhabitable by HEATHER DESAULNIERS

archipelago twenty-seven miles off the coast of San Francisco. What follows are some initial observations I had about the work’s various chapters:

A duet called ‘birds’ finds one dancer balancing on the back of another, like a raven or eagle suspending itself on a cliff before soaring into the air. A variation for the company’s women is grounded in a collective triplet step, countered by upper bodies performing individualized task-based gestures. It has such a beau- tiful duality to it – the common footwork pattern sug- gesting a keen sense of sisterhood while the rest of the body reading of loneliness and isolation. Yet another ensemble sequence takes the form of a square dance. While uproarious in quality, it also has a tenuous

by Heather Desaulniers


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WINTER 2021 in dance 17




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In Dance | May 2014 |

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