September 2019 In Dance

SEP 2019

Bahiya Movement, article on p. 9 Photo by Chani Bockwinkel

Flourish has become a favorite word. You can use flourish to describe style, a mindset, prosperity, and accomplishment. Depending on how you think of flourishing, paradoxical thoughts might get mixed in. For example, if I’m worried can I still flourish? Yes. What if I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition do I stop flourishing? No. Can I flourish without a ton of funds? Yes. Over the summer months, and with a practical flourish, Dancers’ Group has been able to increase the grant award in our CA$H regranting program from $3,000 to $3,500. Our ambition is to find additional funding partners that can help us increase grant funds for creative projects—projects might include making a new dance or performing previous works again. If you’re not familiar with the CA$H grant program, now in its 20th year, visit our website to learn how these grants provide direct support for an expanding range of creativity activity. We know from past experience and previous CA$H awardees that when applicants have been able to plan well and allot significant time to discuss and review their proposal materials—with a variety of people—those proposals tend to do well. The hard fact is that even top-ranked projects might not be funded (we call these applications finalists) due to the fact that there are more finalist applications than available funds. To encourage dialogue about the program and address applicant questions, Dancers’ Group staff will be available to meet and go over the CA$H application process the week of September 8-13. Our doors will be open to drop in, call, or email with your questions. Or if time is tight, consider reaching out to make an appointment to talk further. The fall deadline to apply to CA$H is Wednesday, October 2. Welcome by WAYNE HAZZARD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I’m delighted to formally introduce two new Dancers’ Group staff. And if you’ve already been greeted, spoke by phone, or received an email from them then here’s a tad more information on what these artist-administrators will bring. As the new Community Resource Manager Katie Taylor will support an ever-expanding artistic community. Katie is a dancer and teacher and is on faculty at Dans- pace in Oakland where she manages their Adult Division program. We’re eager to capitalize on Katie’s experience in bringing resources to communities in an equitable and accessible manner. Our second addition to the office, as Artist Resource Manager, is Zoe Donnellycolt. Zoe is a performance artist based in Oakland and she has shown work at SAFEhouse Arts, The Foundry Nights and Salta. Zoe will be the point person for regranting programs like CA$H and will support the fundraising activities of our fiscally sponsored artists and companies. And we are for- tunate to continue to work with all-around superwoman Andréa Spearman. Many imagine arts administration as something tedious. I don’t. I don’t differentiate my past work as a dancer and choreographer to my current administrative process. The process for me is the same: I dream of what I am inter- ested in bringing forth; I get messy and make things that go through multiple refinements (phrases - grant proposals); I discard ideas (movement - programs); I rearrange sections; I discover something new; I have doubts about the material; and often I wake up with an idea that I can’t wait to share with my co-workers (dancers - collaborators). We flourish in the light of potential.

Alyssa Mitchel presents The Classroom: Sep, 7-8 Photo by Kyle Adler

American Bon Dances: Sep 1 Photo courtesy of the artist

BUILDING A HOUSE OF CULTURE: Jesús Cortez’s Journey to Create Cuicacalli Dance Company

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HOW MANY TIMES has a dancer dreamed over a cup of tea at La Boheme? The cafe beneath Dance Mission Studio at 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco has hosted so many pre-class/post-class meet-ups among danc- ers that if its walls could speak, they would spin a tale of San Francisco’s dance com- munity over the past twenty years rivaling any history the most attuned member of the dance community could recall. Dreams to movement, cultivated in conversation among friends and among community. I met with Jesús Cortez at La Boheme on a cool summer morning to hear him describe how his dream came to be a reality in San Francisco. Jesús is the director and choreog- rapher of Cuicacalli Dance Company and in that role he has manifested a dream that brought him here from Vera Cruz, Cancun and Mexico City, to Dallas/Fort Worth and New Mexico in the US, and finally to San Francisco, where he has built an artistic prac- tice focused on both Ballet Folklórico and Contemporary Dance styles that he will be sharing with the community at the Rotunda Dance Series in San Francisco’s City Hall on Friday, September 6th. The original dream, the childhood dream, as often is for young people around the world, was football. As a child in Vera Cruz, Jesús’ initial interest in footwork was con- tained to the soccer pitch, but from the age of six his mother “was very strict about me taking dance classes. I could do anything I wanted, but before I did anything else I had to go to classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” His teacher was his great grand uncle, Juan Natoli, who ran a dance acad- emy in Vera Cruz named Cuicacalli. After 11 years of training with his uncle, Jesús moved to Cancun to dance there and began to envi- sion a career as a professional dancer. This dream came closer to reality when he joined the Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández. Based in Mexico City, the com- pany is the most prestigious Ballet Folklórico company in the world. Performing with that company was a further advancement in Ballet Folklórico, but by virtue of being in Mexico City and touring to other international and cosmopolitan cities, he began to dream of working as a contemporary dancer as well as a traditional one. That growing interest led to the deci- sion to move to Dallas/Fort Worth to focus on contemporary dance. As his studies pro- gressed he began to see contemporary dance as a practice that could exist in correlation with his Folklórico training, instead of in opposition to it. After a year or so in Texas, a friend convinced him to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico to teach dance in a public school. He reflects that “It was an opportu- nity, and it was a little challenging for me because at the time I was a full-time dancer and it wasn’t in my plans at that moment to start teaching.” He taught Ballet Folklórico in the schools, but also joined Moving Peo- ple Dance Santa Fe to continue working on his contemporary vocabulary. But teaching students in New Mexico brought forth a new dream for Jesús, one that re-connected him with his familial and artistic lineage. He realized that if he ”taught all these students [the same dances] I learned when I was a child I would be passing on all the learning that my great grand uncle gave me, that the most important things were hard work, discipline, commitment, and to respect the tradition and be true to our cul- ture.” He firmly taps his hand on the table, continuing “that was the foundation, and without that foundation I wouldn’t be where I am as a dancer, as a choreographer, as a director. So I started teaching the students

Top p hoto by Andy Mogg, Group photo by Sam Rodar

children [the Nahua are an indigenous cul- ture in Southern Mexico and Central Amer- ica] would be sent to learn singing, dancing, and the arts I call it the House of Culture. Period.” And it’s really a house of many cultures, according to Jesús “we don’t only do Ballet Folklórico from Mexico. We do Afro-Cuban, Afro-Nicaraguan, Afro-Peruvian, among other styles. We hire choreographers [from these traditions]. The vision of the school is to be an overall dance academy, not to be only one style. We also have a youth maria- chi group. That’s why I call it Cuicacalli Dance company and not Ballet Folklórico Cuicacalli, which I do when we perform just Ballet Folklórico. But we have many branches.” For Jesús, there’s a reward as a teacher, “but also as a carrier of the tradition of my great grand uncle. Sometimes when we are in other countries it’s very easy to lose [touch with culture] because there aren’t that many people who are passing it down.” He continues, “so even though I am not passing it down to my community in Mex- ico, I feel that my part of the tradition is to pass it down to the people who left Mexico and don’t have those outlets anymore.” That transferrence of tradition extends to his own family. His daughter is a member of the group, and his son is just about to start classes. When I ask about his teaching, he shares that he “likes to see students who become professional dancers, but I also want to see students who don’t become professional dancers just become better people. I say that when I teach dance, I’m teaching life. Every- thing you do in dance classes is going to relate to what you’re going to be doing in the streets, what you’re going to be doing in a job. It’s all about the discipline, hard work, you know, the commitment.” When I say he’s fulfilling his dreams, Jesús agrees, saying “It’s not very easy to find a job that you love, and right now I am doing that job, and I love it and I am passionate about it. And I’m looking for more, I have big dreams and I know the dreams will not hap- pen unless you pursue them and take action. When he brings his dancers to San Fran- cisco City Hall for the Rotunda Dance Series, they will perform Ballet Folklórico Mexicano using style associated with several different states of Mexico. He also says that the company will perform a “Contemporary

the way I learned as a child, and I liked the results, and I decided to continue being a teacher.” Eventually Moving People Dance Company’s members dispersed to larger cit- ies where there were more opportunities for dance, and Jesús moved to San Francisco. The dream was to live as a teacher and practitioner of dance; the work was intense and the progression slow. He danced for Printz Dance Project and took classes with Robert Moses among others, but his inten- tion was to build an academy for dance. He recalls that he and his girlfriend at the time (now wife) were “flyering everywhere in the Mission and the Excelsior and throughout the city. We rented a studio and for the first two months I only had one student! But I kept going because if I had at least one stu- dent then I had school.” He moved to a new studio at the Katherine Michiels school on Guerrero street where classes began to grow, and when he outgrew that space a friend introduced him to Brava for Women in the Arts, and their theater and studio spaces on 24th street in the Mission District. He speaks of his experience at Brava with reverence: “It was something magical. I started renting the studio on Saturdays. Now Brava has been our home for the past 12 years.” Far gone are the days when Jesús kept the dream alive with just one student; today Jesús teaches eight classes a week for over 50 regular students and is an artist-in- residence at Brava. In the spring of each year, the entire company performs an annual pro- duction, "Tradición, Movimiento y Pasión" in Brava’s main theater. He was recently able to take Cuicacalli Dance Company on their first tour and a return to Santa Fe was one of the stops. He’s planning a tour in the future to take his company to Mexico, and take his American students to Vera Cruz where his journey first began. Jesús describes his school as a dance for- mation school where children as young as six begin with Ballet Folklórico and develop their skills over time in additional classes that include Hip-Hop and Contemporary dance. He is proud to share that over time they “now have a couple of generations of dancers who were dancing with me and are now dancing in professional level compa- nies.” Furthermore, he continues, “the dance academy has been built in honor of my great grand uncle, with the name also being Cuicacalli—once again it means “House of Culture.” Other people know Cuicacalli as “House of Singing,” but because [the Cui- cacalli] was the place where the Nahua

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ON THIS PAGE / Building a House

of Culture by Rob Taylor 3 / Healing the Immgrant Body with Performance by Mabel Valdiviezo 4 / Presidio Theatre Relaunch by Heather Desaulniers 6 / September Performance Calendar 8 / SPEAK: SUNSET DANCES by Lizz Roman 9 / Did You Know? Bahiya Movement 10 / IN PRACTICE: Meet Talli Jackson by Sima Belmar

(Above): Lizz Roman and Dancers / by Daniller Photography

Continued on pg 11 »

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Healing the Immigrant Body with Performance


the minority group; the idea that these peo- ple are not like us and so should be feared and admonished. What does that mean in our society and what does that mean person- ally to be dismissed and not thought of as important enough to be treated with dignity and respect? MV: Juliana, your background as a chore- ographer and an immigrant from Venezuela influences our work. JM: Metamorphosis comes at a very spe- cial moment in my life where being a recent immigrant has been a test for personal improvement, an identity crisis, and an opportunity to transcend limits and create new possibilities. Choreography and interpretative dancing is the creative path that has enabled me to know myself, heal, and cultivate my femininity. I studied contemporary dance and Butoh and have researched traditional Venezuelan and Latin American dances. Through all of these, I have developed a vocabulary that expresses my concerns in dance and reflections on life. Envisioning Metamorphosis MV: As the Artistic Director, I am grateful for CounterPulse’s residency. We are able to exper- iment for six months; engage in artistic dia- logue, investigate the intersection of embodi- ment, dance and tech; also bringing community voices and truths into the dance space. We are developing a work that can be socially, culturally, and artistically impactful. Metamorphosis incorporates shamanic ritual inspired by the Peruvian Amazonian cul- ture and an interactive healing garden with artwork by painter Limbert Gonzalez. The original score by Ronald Sanchez, aka “Alti- plano,” blends electronic beats with native influences. The project includes art and dance movement workshops in the Latinx commu- nity with the intention of healing the con- tested territory of the immigrant body. Choreography Brings Narrative to Life Metamorphosis has an overarching narra- tive influenced by a Latin American indig- enous worldview and the heroine’s journey archetype. In this piece, the dance portrays an indigenous woman surviving systematic and gender violence while she crosses the U.S. Mexican border. Seeking solace, she encoun- ters a Peruvian shaman who guides her to a healing garden. She begins her path to whole- ness and reemerges as the Aztec earth god- dess Tonantzin. JM: In our piece, the choreography explores elements of contemporary dance, indigenous shamanic dance, and physical theater. From the combination of these different “lan- guages,” the choreography interprets the narrative and symbolic elements of the story through physical actions, specific movements, A ritual space emerges where we envision the past, present, and future of immigrant women

DURING MY 16 YEARS as an undocumented artist, I was deeply disconnected from my body and from society at large. The heavy impact of my status affected my entire exis- tence. I lived in silence, underground, and saw no chance to reclaim my being. I didn’t realize that my physical being was holding deep fear and that trauma and illness had ravaged my once healthy body. Unsurpris- ingly, I became very sick. A sheer will to live took me through recov- ery. My whole being ached for movement, fulfillment, and freedom. I began to imagine a vision that would take me out of isolation and into empowerment for myself, my com- munity, and my culture. Within that context, Metamorphosis: Phase 1 came into being. Gestation Metamorphosis is a multimedia dance perfor- mance that combines contemporary and indig- enous movement, storytelling, and shamanic ritual with interactive visuals and sounds to explore the intersection of family separation, trauma and the well-being of Latinx immi- grant women. We ask the question, “How do we alleviate suffering and restore hope through an artistic process that is rooted in our indigenous culture, and the healing of our individual and collective body?” What follows is a conversation with my collaborators, choreographer Juliana Men- donca, and technologist Travis Bennett, where we delve into the artistic process and development of our work. Mabel Valdiviezo: Juliana, we met during Kinetech Arts DanceHack at CounterPulse in 2018. I was new to dance and hoped you would join me in this adventure. Juliana Mendonca: Our encounter during DanceHack was a beautiful synchronization. I remember the clarity and force with which you presented the story on immigrant Latina women and I felt that this story related to me. A connection was created between us and it was accelerated when you were selected for the CounterPulse Combustible Residency. I felt it was a very interesting opportunity to contribute and share my work as a choreog- rapher and dancer. And a way to give life and depth to a story that also has to do with my personal life and my sensitivity to shamanism and healing through art. MV: Travis, the pre-prototype we developed during Kinetech Arts’ DanceHack expanded my mind to the possibilities of mixing dance, technology, and shamanism to create a vision of wholeness. When we met, I thought that you were so perfect for Metamorphosis . Travis Bennett: My background is in tech- nology, art, and community work through Kinetech Arts. I love to help out other art- ists, so that my work and my own perspective isn't so technology-focused. After meeting you, I thought the story you're trying to tell is very important. The topics being addressed in this work are very prescient. The current political climate and nationwide debate over immigration is certainly worth exploring. On a broader level, I am interested in the idea of othering, whoever the underdog is,

P hotos by Robbie Sweeny

ideas on the conceptual side and experiment with visuals and technology, music and cho- reography, and how they all interrelate. The process ends up finding things that are emo- tionally resonant that are a good fit for the piece. They become a much more refined toolkit for us to explore further. Trauma and Healing Using Dance and Tech MV: Travis, two key topics in the piece are trauma and healing of the immigrant body. Enacting them through technology is a diffi- cult balancing act. TB: How do we direct the energy of the piece to avoid re-triggering trauma? I am think- ing about the night time attack scene that we are exploring. Using a technique like the heat map, we are able to let the audience imag- ine what could be happening in that scene more than what we are putting in on display for them to watch. This moment becomes an internal emotional struggle. When we bring the technology in that way, we create a bigger impact and draw the audience in. The same thing works in the healing parts of the piece when we start to expose another level of consciousness or spirituality that is not normally seen. We’ll be able to expand the understanding and the energy of what we're performing so that there is another level of themes on top of what we are showing and dancing. Using the technology, we can actu- ally tip our hat to inter-dimensionality. Working with the Latinx Community MV: Metamorphosis calls for a strong com- munity component. We are facilitating a series of free Art for Healing workshops for immigrant women at La Voz Latina in The Tenderloin and in The Mission district as a way of building empow- erment and resilience through collage, draw- ing, painting, and dance movement. The per- formance and the workshops seek to alleviate the stress felt by the Latinx community due to inhumane immigration policies that are directly impacting immigrant families, and exposing them to post-traumatic stress. We honor the creativity and courage of immigrant women with a community art exhibit at Coun- terPulse during our September performances. MABEL VALDIVIEZO is a 21st-century techno- shaman who employs the arts as a means of expres- sion to achieve social justice for cultural, community, and gender healing. Utilizing a multidisciplinary lens, she creates immersive works through film, dance, video art, and painting to explore transnational migration, displacement, and women’s spirituality. TRAVIS BENNETT is a Bay Area web content creator, immersive technology researcher, and technical artist. His work explores the nature of society’s rela- tionship with emerging technologies; such as AR, VR, motion capture, and human movement. JULIANA MENDONCA is a Venezuelan contempo- rary dance performer, choreographer and teacher based in Oakland. Juliana co-founded Raíz de Agua, a live music and dance company that creates proj- ects inspired by nature and our relationship with it.

gestures, images and improvisational patterns that define the dance and the characters. The content of the narrative explores movement in a way that goes from the con- crete to the abstract and vice versa. Addition- ally, technology and music are elements that influence the choreography. MV: This mixing of contemporary and indig- enous movement is what makes our piece evocative. JM: As Latin American immigrants, you and I are women artists who have been searching within the sensitivity and knowledge of our ancestral culture for universal answers and deeper connection. The narrative of Metamorphosis desig- nates the aesthetic aspects of the characters and even the body language for each dancer. In this case, the immigrant woman is defined in contemporary body language and the sha- man in an indigenous language. This fusion between the indigenous ancestral and the contemporary increase the possibilities of creative movement. A ritual space emerges where we envision the past, present, and future of immigrant women. Converging Dance and Tech MV: Travis, I’m curious how you see the role that technology plays? TB: Technology is one of the best mediums for collaboration because it needs a lot of exploration and experimentation to figure out how to be effective, tell a story, and evoke certain emotions. This is a lengthy process and continual effort to tease out the subtle details and characteristics that technology can bring to the performance. The residency gives us the time and space to explore this topic with the technology to find the right balance of concerns, narrative, and expres- sion that can take our piece to the next level. MV: We have given a lot of thought to our themes and the tech side. TB: The dual nature of a modern immigrant's journey (leaving everything behind for a chance at something better) is a dense tapes- try of interwoven hopes and fears. We use a variety of tools and techniques throughout the piece to expose this struggle to succeed in a world of heightened cultural divides, increased political instability, and algorithmic bias. Through the simple act of masking or revealing, we seek knowledge, relief, and understanding (with our custom software, 3D depth sensors, and cameras). We mask dangers and reveal truths. We hide pain and show love. We heal and gain transcendence. As a collective of artists, we rework these

Metamorphosis: Phase 1 , Thu-Sat, Sep 12-14 & 19-21, CounterPulse, coun-


in dance SEP 2019

PHOTO / photo by Photo

by HEATHER DESAULNIERS Presidio Theatre Relaunch

RENOVATION IS A TOUGH, arduous process. Making major changes always is. Setting goals, crafting plans and then finally break- ing ground, with the ultimate purpose of building something new. Consider for a moment a structure under renovation. When you walk into such a space, what are your first thoughts and observations? Is your eye pulled to the work that still needs to be done - the unpainted wall, the exposed wiring, the flooring not yet installed. Maybe your curiosity is piqued by budget or deadlines. Is the project stay- ing within its financial limits? Is it going to be completed on time? Or are you someone who is able to envision the next chapter? Someone who pictures glorious experiences and deep collaborative relationships devel- oping in this new environment, both today and for decades to come. The latter is cer- tainly a powerful perspective, one that can be even more potent when shared. Multiple gazes, together, cast on what might be possible; a cohort buoyed by a remodeled space’s potential. The renewal of the Presidio Theatre has been full of this rare and special spirit. A massive undertaking brought to fruition by a group of passionate, dedicated individu- als who imagined another life for an empty building. For the past few years, these folks have worked tirelessly to transform the his- toric theater that sits on the Presidio grounds (the former army base, now National Park) into a contemporary performance center. Something that could help fill a gap in the San Francisco performing arts ecosystem. “The theater opened in 1939, and was pri- marily a place for military personnel and their families to go and see movies, and from time to time, some other performance events,” explains Robert Martin, Presidio Theatre’s Executive Director, “it was a hub where people could gather, for entertain- ment, sure, but really, as a community.” It is this legacy of community impact that has fueled the renovation plans, with the hope that the revamped space will become a simi- lar hub for today’s audiences and artists - a place to encounter innovative creativity and showcase an array of art practices and dis- ciplines. Mid-September, the updated Pre- sidio Theatre opens to the public. As the multi-year endeavor nears its end, everyone involved is reflecting on the epic journey, one that Martin describes as “a labor of love.” While construction began in earnest two years ago, getting a broader sense of the project’s trajectory requires going back a bit further. In the mid-1990s, the Presidio ceased operation as an active military base and since that time, the theater has been vacant. A lack of financial wherewithal seemed the primary reason for its long dormancy, “I think the Presidio Trust [the organization responsible for the park’s care and maintenance] would have loved to have done something with the venue, but the lack of funding and other resources made any attempts extremely dif- ficult,” Martin shares. That is, until Peggy Haas, whom Martin credits as the driv- ing force behind the new Presidio Theatre, entered the picture approximately five years back. “When passing by the building one day, Peggy found herself brimming with questions – what is this doing here; why isn’t it being used; how could it be repurposed?” recounts Martin, “and being keenly aware of the need for Bay Area performance spaces, an empty theater seemed like an incredible opportunity.”With the seed planted and the ideas percolating, the next step was to take the proposal to the Presidio Trust. “She took her plan to the Trust, who said that if the resources could be secured, they were on board,” says Martin, “Peggy was able to take it on financially, through a major gift from the Margaret E. Haas Fund.” It took two more years to get the lease signed, and by fall 2017, the renovation had begun, and Haas’ vision for a Bay Area artist haven – all levels,

P hotos by Terry Lorant

all groups, all fields, professional and com- munity – was truly underway. Every detail of the refurbishment had to go through careful scrutiny because of the necessity for historic preservation. So gut- ting the theater and starting from scratch wasn’t an option. Nor was changing what- ever they wanted to change – approvals had to be sought at many points along the way so that historic integrity could be main- tained. Having said that, much was done to make the space viable and operational for its future artistic visitors. Because it had initially been built for cinematic use, the proscenium had to be moved about twelve feet, which Martin describes as “a major engineering triumph.” The theater housed a basement, which had thus far been underutilized, so in the redesign, that area was excavated and expanded to twice its size, which allowed for the inclusion of dressing rooms, public restrooms, a lobby and rehearsal space. Two outdoor pavilions were also added – one houses the elevator/stairs to the basement level; the other, a catering area, green room, offices and the stage’s load-in point. If you were to visit the Presidio Theatre today, you would find it in a phase of “final touches.” Martin reports that everyday, something is being checked off the list, “while work on the lighting grid is ongoing as are some tasks in the outdoor plaza spaces, the house itself is mostly finished – the six hundred audience seats are in place and the stage is done.” Another exciting part of the relaunch pro- cess has been happening away from the con- struction site: programming and curation for the Presidio Theatre’s inaugural season. Such amazing theater, film, music and choreogra- phy has been planned for the coming year and beyond! Dance-wise, one of the part- nerships that Martin is very much looking forward to is with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, who will be celebrating their 42nd season in 2020, “a long-term goal is for the Presidio Theatre to become the festi- val’s home; this January, we begin that jour- ney as the festival holds their auditions here and then returns for their annual event next June.” The Presidio Theatre team has also organized and curated a number of riveting movement concerts during the fall months. Sintonía is bringing the world premiere of Tattooed , a mixed discipline piece of music, Flamenco and spoken word that facilitates a discourse between traditional and contempo- rary Flamenco forms, while simultaneously tackling an urgent narrative, surviving abuse. In addition, October plays host to some significant milestones: San Francisco Mime Troupe’s 60th anniversary and the 40th birthday of Balinese dance and music institu- tion, Gamelan Sekar Jaya. And on October

11th, ODC/Dance, another constant thread in SF’s artistic fabric, will reprise Co-Artistic Director KT Nelson’s Path of Miracles , a col- laboration between the company and choral ensemble Volti that looks at and to the spiri- tual Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The full-length work debuted at Grace Cathedral in 2018 and since then has typically been performed in church settings, which makes this one-night engagement particularly note- worthy, “not only will this will be a chance for our patrons to experience transcendent choreography and music, but we also hope that it provides an opportunity for ODC to experiment and explore how the site-specific piece translates to a more traditional prosce- nium environment,” adds Martin. Before this impressive programming can really get under way, the San Francisco/Bay Area must first be introduced to the new Presidio Theatre. Slated for the weekend of September 21st and 22nd, the grand unveil- ing features two wonderful events. Saturday’s ticketed evening includes bites and libations as well as an artistic collage of excerpts and offerings from White Crane Lion & Dragon Dance Association, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Beach Blanket Babylon, and Tahi- tian performance group Te Mana O Te Ra. The following day, the entire community is invited to tour and celebrate the updated space during a free open house. The Presidio

Pop Up Orchestra will be on hand revisiting the glorious tunes of the 1930s and 1940s; a nod of honor and recognition to the theater’s original opening eight decades ago. Eighty years is indeed a substantial legacy, and everyone at the Presidio Theatre can- not wait to contribute to the next chapter of the story. And while the road to this finale has been long and occasionally bumpy, they are so thrilled to see Peggy Haas’ vision fully realized. “We hope the Presidio Theatre will be a place of discovery with a vast mix of programs, and most important, that it will be user friendly for artists/arts groups in the community,” Martin relays, “we are eager to welcome regional, national and international artists to the space, but the Presidio Theatre will always have a commitment to local Bay Area artists and making it a home for them.” HEATHER DESAULNIERS is a freelance dance writer based in Oakland. She is the Editorial Associate and SF/Bay Area columnist for CriticalDance , the dance curator for SF Arts Monthly , a contributor to DanceTabs as well as several other dance-focused publications.

Join the festivities as the Presidio Theatre re-opens September 21-22, followed by their 2019-2020 season.

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44 Gough Street, Suite 201

Jess Curtis/Gravity Presents (in)Visible How do you experience a performance? By seeing it? What if that's not possible?

Thu-Sun October 3-13 8pm @ CounterPulse

Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions

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

BrasArte’s Brazilian Day Festival BrasArte, Berkeley

In its thirteenth year, BrasArte’s Brazilian Day Festival pays homage to two major celebra- tions in Brazil: Brazil’s Independence Day and a recreation of a Lavagem, a cleansing ceremony using song and dance. The festivities unfold in Berkeley as a street party. Sun, Sep 1, 10am- 7pm, FREE.

American Bon Dancing Yerba Buena Gardens, SF

A joyous celebration of departed ancestors, Bon is a Japanese Buddhist festival that’s been marked for more than five centuries with a tra- ditional dance known as Bon-Odori. American Bon Dancing – An Invitation to Dance features an array of traditional masters. San Jose Taiko, one of the leading taiko ensembles outside of Japan, also performs. Sun, Sep 1, 1pm, FREE.

Open Stage CounterPulse, SF

An evening of body-based, improvisational, and poetic expression, courtesy of our weird and radical community. This is CounterPulse’s fourth Open Stage. Wed, Sep 4, 6-7:30pm, FREE.

AXIS Dance Company Yerba Buena Gardens, SF

Returning to the Gardens, AXIS presents a lively interactive performance with excerpts from the current repertoire including Flutter by Robert Dekker, Historias Rotas by Nadia Adame, and a peek at new work by Jennifer Archibald. Thu, Sep 5, 12:30-1:30pm, FREE.

Black Choreographers Festival,Sep 7-8, Pictured: Frankie Lee Peterson III / photo courtesy of artist

Rotunda Dance Series: Cuicacalli Dance Company City Hall Rotunda, SF The Rotunda Dance Series brings many of the Bay Area’s most celebrated dance companies to San Francisco City Hall for free monthly noon-time performances and is presented by Dancers’ Group and World Arts West in part- nership with Grants for the Arts and SF City Hall. Cuicacalli “House of Culture” is a year- round youth training program, in association with DANCING EARTH, the nation’s foremost Indigenous contemporary dance ensemble. Founded in 2008 by renowned international performer Jes ú s “Jacoh” Cortes. Fri, Sep 6, 12-1pm, FREE. tinypistol’s Maurya Kerr and little seismic dance company’s Katie Faulkner invite you to their autumn tiny little get down, a dance party for people who love to dance, but don’t want to go clubbing or worry about looking cool, and need that 10pm-ish bedtime. If you’re feeling undone yet again by our state of the union and long for a cathartic space that affirms the power of the collective, come sweat, shake, get down, and revel in this subversively joyful dance event designed for all bodies. Fri, Sep 6, 7:30-9:30pm, $5-$15 suggested donation at the door (to cover costs). tiny little get down CounterPulse, SF

SOULSKIN Dance Dance Mission Theater, SF

film. Roman's newest project Sunset Dances II draws audiences into an intimate experience that unfolds in multiple locations simultane- ously as audiences at 3 locations migrate throughout the home. The production includes 8 dancers, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Pete Litwinowicz, award-winning lighting designer Clyde Sheets, musician/composer Jerome Lindner and percussionist Malcolm Lee with vocalist Tamsin Black performing an original live score. Fri-Sun, Sep 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 8:30pm, $30. DanceFAR (For A Reason) Herbst Theater, SF DanceFAR 2019 is hosting a benefit for the In- ternational Rescue Committee and Gugulethu Ballet Project. All proceeds will be directed to serve the immediate needs of refugees and

SOULSKIN Dance is proud to premiere two new contemporary ballets: PARALLEL DIALOGUES – a West Coast Premiere - choreographed by Adrianna Thompson (SOULSKIN Dance artistic director) and GOLDEN MEAN - a World Pre- miere choreographed by Adrianna Thompson and guest choreographer Barbara Koch as part of their 6th Season in San Francisco. Fri, Sep 6, Andi Salazar, Jyoti Arvey, and Mogli's Movers Artist Collective SAFEhouse ARTS, SF Andi Salazar is a Chilean dancer, choreographer and sociologist, and in her new dance Volar , she celebrates migrants through the poetic image of birds. Jyoti Arvey’s new work is based on her poetic text, STONE AND FLESH , incorporating drag performance, spoken word, soundscapes, and installation. Mogli’s Movers Artist Collective examines the idea of transparency in their new work Morrígans . The collective is led by Sierra Berg. Fri-Sat, Sep 6-7, 8-10pm, $15-$20. Lizz Roman & Dancers Home Salon, SF A new site-specific journey, engaging a home’s architecture with performance, music and 8-9:30pm, $25-$30.

Merde Project Joe Goode Annex, SF

An artist commissioning project created and supported by Kristin Damrow & Company and Yikes! Oakland. In its inaugural year, Merde Project brings together four choreographers to present dance works around the theme of “tak- ing risks.” Thu-Fri, Sep 5-6, 8-9:30pm, $20.

CONCEPT series 26, Sep 13-14 / photo by Hilary Goidell

Alyssa Mitchel, Sep 7-8 / photo by Kyle Adler

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Coastal Belly Fest Veterans Memorial Building, Santa Cruz

to experiment on the edge of what is known. This year they present works that activate the entire building with shamanic healing gardens and manipulated realities. Thu-Sat, Sep 12-14 & 19-21, 7:30pm, Free-$35. Arielle Cole & SevanKelee Boult SAFEhouse ARTS, SF In Phone, Keys, Wallet Arielle Cole’s ArcTan- gent Dance explores society’s transition from analog to digital through the lens of the mil- lennial experience. SevanKelee Boult (Lucky 7), presents a work exploring the history of the scarecrow and its relationship to slavery. Fri- Sat, Sep 13-14, 8pm, $15-$20. CONCEPT series: 26 Green Room at SF War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, SF RAWdance and guest artists Kim Ip/Krimm’s Dance Party, randy reyes, Red Brick Company/ Nick Korkos, Robert Woods-LaDue & Sarah Woods-LaDue, and Virginia Matthews. Fri, Sep 13, 8pm; Sat, Sep 14, 3pm & 7pm, $10-$25.

Come and enjoy the 4th Annual Coastal Belly Fest. Doors open at 10am for dance work- shops, shopping the extensive bazaar, henna tattoo, Festival Dancing all afternoon and a spectacular evening Gala Show featuring the workshop teachers and special guests. Sat, Sep 21, 10am-10pm, $15-$155.

FROLIC, Sep 19-22 / photo by Robbie Sweeny

Hope Mohr Dance's Bridge Project The Women’s Building, SF

provide education to empower impoverished youth through dance. DanceFAR features works from today’s top choreographers with international artists from companies repre- senting the diverse Bay Area dance commu- nity. Sat Sep 7, 7-9pm, $100. Alyssa Mitchel ODC Dance Commons, Studio B, SF How do we learn? Alyssa Mitchel draws upon her background in education as she explores that question in an hour-length dance pro- duction, The Classroom . Each section of work examines a particular element of the learning process. Mitchel integrates the recorded interview responses and written reflections of students, teachers and professors. The work features seven dancers: Jessica Bozzo, Jessica DeFranco, Sierra Heller, Tayler Kinner, Nicole Maimon, Katherine Neumann and Frankie Lee Peterson III. The creative team includes lighting designer, Daniel Weiermann, Chicago-based jazz composer Jacob Fisher and videographer Mark McBeth. Sat Sep 7, 8pm: Sun, Sep 8, 6pm, $20. Black Choreographers Festival: Summer Series Malonga Casquelourd Center, Oakland Saturday's program will feature works by Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, Gregory Dawson and Reginald Savage, among others. Sunday’s show features more than half a dozen pre- professional youth dance groups from around the Bay Area, including Frankie Lee Peterson III, New Style Motherlode, Oakland School for the Arts, On Demand, Sweat and Zaccho Youth Dance Company. Sat Sep 7, 8pm: Sun,

HMD's Bridge Project and SFMOMA's Open Space present INHERITED BODIES : How do movement artists in different traditions contend with, honor, and resist the past? Featuring a series of lecture demonstra- tions using language and movement by Sara Shelton Mann, Jarrel Phillips, Nadhi Thekkek, and Snowflake Towers. Following, join Claudia La Rocco, Director of Community Engagement and Editor-in-Chief, SFMOMA's Open Space, for a moderated group discussion. Thu, Sep 26, 6-8pm, FREE. Peri Trono SAFEhouse ARTS, SF Peri Trono explores space, shape, and order in her new dance work fold , inspired by Origami, the art of paper folding. Trono has presented her work in New York, San Fran- cisco, Santa Barbara, and Southern California. Fri-Sat, Sep 27-28, 8pm, $15-$20. Join the inaugural performance of Vishwa Shanthi’s new series, Samarpanam: A Dedi- cation to Art . Smt. Shreelata Suresh takes the stage to perform Bharatanatyam in its tradi- tional and pure form in an intimate chamber setting for connoisseurs and serious students to enjoy. The one-hour performance will be followed by Q&A with the dancer. Sat, Sep 28, 4-5:30pm, $30. Los Lupeños de San José School of Arts and Culture, San Jose The Cashion Cultural Legacy invites you to Los Lupeños de San José’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concerts. Under the artistic direction of choreographer Samuel Cortez, experience a deep-dive into distinct regions of México showcasing the past, the present, and the future – all with live musical accompaniment. Over 100 performers will share the stage including Los Lupeños Juvenil, Los Lupeños Legacy, Mariachi de la Bahia, Madrigal Musi- cal, and Ensamble Folklórico de Veracruz. Sat, Sep 28, 8pm; Sun, Sep 29, 2pm, $20-$35. Vishwa Shanthi Cubberly Community Center, Palo Alto

SOULSKIN Dance, Sep 6 / photo by Annabelle Denmark

featuring twelve Bay Area LGBTQ+ artists. Program A: jose e abad, Jesselito Bie, Audrey Johnson, Melissa Lewis, Aiano Nakagawa, pateldanceworks. Thu, Sep 19, 8pm; Sat, Sep 21, 5pm; Sun, Sep 22, 7pm, $15-$25. Program B: Stephanie Hewett, Cynthia Ling Lee, Fran- ces Sedayao, Mark Travis Dance, Janpistar, Snowflake Towers. Fri, Sep 20, 8pm; Sat, Sep 21, 8pm; Sun, Sep 22, 4pm, $15-25. Kickbal = Emma Lanier & Ky Frances. Evening includes SF premiere of Anagama , Emma’s solo about healing from pain and finding your voice again, previously shown in St. Louis and New York. This is also a rare chance to see Emma and Ky onstage together in their “lol-worthy” duet 11 Options for Beginnings of Various Dances . Fri-Sat, Sep 20-21, 8pm, $15. PUSHfest Dance Festival ODC Theater, SF PUSH Dance Company kicks off its four- teenth season with PUSHfest, a mixed genre showcase of dance works by mid-career to emerging choreographers. The season will feature a final installment of the Afro-futuristic Mothership III by Artistic Director Raissa Simpson and a world premiere work by guest choreographer Gerald Casel. Local choreog- raphers Yayoi Kambara, David Herrera and Joslynn Mathis Reed join the lineup as well as SF debuts by visiting companies and artists. Fri-Sat, Sep 20-21, 8pm; Sun, Sep 22, 4:30pm & 7:30pm, $20-$100. Kickbal SAFEhouse ARTS, SF

Bliss Dance Company Ohlone College Dance Studio, Fremont

Bliss Dance Company presents Sugar Baby . An evening length performance that will carry you through unexpected twists and turns using modern and contemporary jazz movement (For Mature Audiences). Sat, Sep 14, 8pm:

Sun, Sep 15, 2pm, $15-$20.

FROLIC Waterfront Theater, Berkeley

Shawl-Anderson Dance Center’s first annual Queering Dance Festival presents FROLIC,

Sep 8, 3pm, $10-$25.

Combustible Residency CounterPulse, SF CounterPulse is back with year three of Combustible, their highly-acclaimed dance/ technology residency that carves a place

DanceFAR , Sep 7 / photo courtesy of the artist

Duniya Dance & Drum Company Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, SF

The festival will feature traditional performing arts groups representing different regions of Africa and the African diaspora. The lineup will include some of the Bay Area’s premier dance companies, including Chinyakare Ensemble, Fua Dia Congo, Duniya Dance and Drum Company, and The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts World Music + Dance de- partments. Sun, Sep 29, 11am-4pm, FREE.

AXIS Dance Company, Sep 5 / photo by David DeSilva


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to work with me. The dreaded Sunset district of the city, where sad people wander through the fog. For me, the Sunset/Ocean Beach neighborhood in San Francisco is beauti- ful. I am grateful to live so close to the ocean. The Sunset has a microclimate all its own, and just when you think you've figured it out, you haven't. In the course of one three hour rehearsal, dancers would go from sunglasses and sunscreen to wearing coats and hats. So, I am most grateful to the art- ists who made that trek out to my place for every rehearsal. Thank you. As we begin the final rehearsals, I am daily reminded of how much I love collaborating with other artists. Without them, I have no art. If I forget this, which I might in a stressful moment, I am guided back by wit- nessing what we have

MAKING DANCE has always been a mixture of disciplined artistry and gratefulness. As in any practice or skill, there are levels or stages we move through; student, performer, teacher, choreographer, mentor, producer, administrator, but no two of us have the same career. Dance as a career is a big com- mitment. It costs money to train and to keep our skills sharp, we need to train. To make the money to train or practice, we gotta work and if you don't have a paying dance job, you have to figure out how to work and dance. A dance career can be as reward- ing and beautiful as it is frustrating. In essence, we need to dance, so we need other people who need to create, teach or prac- tice dance who need us to dance for or with them. So with every class, performance, or rehearsal I try and practice gratefulness. What I am most grateful for, is all of you who are on a similar journey and how we collectively make up this thing we call the “dance community.” I primarily make site dances. The dance is the sum of the journey we take through a site, creating a visual history of our physi- cal journey through that space that becomes a dance. It is driven mainly by the archi- tecture of the space. I am working with a small community of dancers, musicians, a filmmaker and lighting artist on a collab- orative project SUNSET DANCES II . The first installation of SUNSET DANCES, Architectural Meditations , was performed in 2017. This September, the second instal- lation, like the first will take place in my home. When I first decided to create a dance for my home, I wasn't sure I'd find anyone


so it helps to think of Lizz Roman & Danc- ers as a pick up company, so I don't hold on too tight to my collaborators. Artists have lives outside your project, so it's just more practical to recognize this. To be honest, it's just how it is, so I try to practice being grate- ful when I get to work with new collabora- tors. I've learned to embrace the change that comes with each project. SUNSET DANCES II is full of repeat collaborators and includes past collaborators coming back in new ways as well as first time collaborators. For this, I am super grateful. It's the beginning of some- thing, the adjustment you make to work with new people, requires seeing what every- one brings to the table, as a new opportunity to explore your site. In this new site-dance, I welcome back my son Jerome, a musician who has worked with two of my main music collaborators; WATERSAW (2012-2018) and Alex Kelly and Clyde Sheets (2004-2010). Thanks for all the beautiful, inspiring music you created for my dances. For SUNSET DANCES II , Jerome is leading a band composed of new collaborators, Malcolm Lee (percussion) and Tamsin Black (vocals). The joy of creating art with my son is pretty special. He really loved SUNSET DANCES I , so he was excited to join the project and has brought an entirely different sound. His band mate Malcolm brings a joyful energy and beautiful drum- ming that's extremely infectious. Tamsin is the daughter of a favorite collaborator, Chris Black. Chris's current bio on my website is short and sweet, which says she's been danc- ing for me for 25 years. She has, and I am grateful to her for taking this journey with me. And then there's always a little bit of sadness with each project as it's often the last time I will work with some of my collabora- tors. This time around I am saying goodbye to an artist who opened up my work with an entirely new skill set and a kick ass attitude. Sonya Smith, I just love you. Sonya is leaving the Bay Area to run her own Circus School in Ashland, Oregon. What an incredibly gen- erous artist/individual you are. Thank you. As for the rest of my dancer/collaborators, Jaime Nakama, Gizeh Muniz, Colin Epstein, Jenny McAllister, Becky Leviton-Robinson, and Clarissa Ko. Thank you for making art with me.

created. If my confidence wanes, I remind myself that I’m leading a creative community of artists. I've only had five opportunities to work the same site twice in my 25 years of making site specific dances. I really enjoy the challenge of seeing the site with fresh eyes

Then there's filmmaker Pete Litwinow- icz, who when I asked him to join me for SUNSET DANCES I , wasn't sure he could make a film for my dance. Relieved, I replied, “Whew, that's good, as I actually want you to make a film that is part of my dance”. That's where our journey began and this time around, we're enjoying the collabora- tion on a whole new level. And there's Clyde Sheets, one of those collaborators who is an accomplished artist himself, lighting designer, musician and all around, knows a lot about it, artist. In 2012 Clyde left the Bay Area to return to his home state Michigan. He has landed well, currently gracing Interlochen Arts Academy with his greatness. Clyde comes back to the Bay Area for a handful of local artists who like me, love the mix of skills and confidence he brings to each proj- ect. So once again, he will come back and light my dance. Finally, thanks to Jerry, my partner for the past 32 years. As I finish this dance, I am grateful to you for every building you’ve cleaned and organized, every prop/structure and bench you’ve built, every tree and shrub you’ve cut back, every show you’ve ushered and for everything else you do that I did not mention. LIZZ ROMAN and her company have been making dances in San Francisco and the Bay Area since 1995. LR&D are best known for their trademark expansive dances that spring, roll and fly through buildings, re- sulting in IZZIE awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography in 2018 for SUNSET DANCES (2017), in 2013 for DEEPER Architectural Meditation at CounterPULSE (2012) and Izzie nominations for Out- standing Achievement in Performance-Company for SUNSET DANCES (2017) and CELLGROUND (2005). The company has developed innovative site-specific techniques to work in unique and commonplace locations with a variety of multi-media collaborators and scenic elements. In 1998, Roman and filmmaker Kevin Cunningham received the SF WEEKLY Black Box Award for Cross Genre Performance for IN HER DREAMS . In 2013, Roman was commissioned by Trol- ley Dances SF and performed FIFTY FIVE SIX as part of their 10 year anniversary season.

Lizz Roman and Dancers presents SUNSET DANCES II : September 6-22, Home Salon, SF,

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