January/February 2020 In Dance

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

JAN/FEB 2020

Sharp & Fine, Feb 7-9 photo by RJ Muna

Imagine a society—a world—that enables and ensures each person can live and create without money. I hope and dream about this. It will be an equalizing time when every individ- ual is fully supported so that they can be housed, nourished, clothed, with all needs met. In this time, there’s an abun- dance of wellness centers that are as plentiful as creative spaces where we’re invited to dance, listen to music, watch performances and read. We have full and easy access to services in every space, and we continue to connect with now free services online, where each request is met with an enthusiastic “yes, we can get that for you”. All education is free, and this creates opportunities to share breakthroughs in every area of human study. A collective exhale takes place around the globe. The world knows deep comfort and ecstatic joy. Othering is no longer needed. We freely share and learn from those we encounter because money and the accumulation of wealth is no longer valued, needed. I hope and I dream about this. It’s like when as a kid I read comic books that made supercomputers, self driving cars, and watches we could communicate on come to life. And now these long-ago imagined devices, and many more, are part of our everyday experience. It’s an essential part of our journey to believe in the potential of the unknown, believe that there’s a future that’s truly equitable for every- one, and continue to believe in, and, when needed, fight for what is true and needed. Each day these hopes, dreams and desires impact how I think about my ongoing work to bring visibility and resources to those that make and want to see dance. In this first issue of 2020—a date that seems born out of my science fiction loving childhood—there are uber-themes in each article that I am sure will resonate, and they are: Welcome by WAYNE HAZZARD, ARTIST ADMINISTRATOR

Ask for help Ask for help often and then ask for help again, and then ask for help another time because now you know you deserve it Be open to encounters Imagine seeing and participating in dance that is not the dance you imagined Take a seat at the table Take time, find time, to participate and be in conversations that reflect the future you want Bring back dances (recycle) Let’s make this the decade to re-invest in what’s been created Word Create combinations of words—and movement—that are true to you Nurture creativity, especially in children Through this act, boundless rewards are reaped for future generations Celebrate And acknowledge the breadth of artistry created in the Bay Area

RAW Artist Showcase, Jan 11-12 photo by Alexandria Spearman

Imagine it red, Imagine it blue, Imagine it freely, while Imagining in every which way you want to.

Enjoy the creative moments and the work ahead— our moment is now.

Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Feb 27-Mar 1 photo by Robbie Sweeny


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 and job notices, artistic opportunities, news, and more • Artist resources (no login required) and other content on Dancers’ Group’s website • Access to Grant Calendar of upcoming deadlines • 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: • All Community benefits plus: • 10 issues of In Dance mailed to you each year • Discounts to performances, classes, workshops, space rentals, and more • Full access to resources on dancersgroup.org


Dance Brigade / photos by Robbie Sweeny

participation in the WORD! series. With this program, Dance Mis- sion Theater also worked closely with Tangen and Arenas through production, specifically inviting them to present full-length works and highlighting their voices as woman of color. For years, DMT has supported both their projects. Keefer, as both the executive direc- tor of DMT and artistic director of Dance Brigade—the resident dance company of DMT—finds herself in the same trajectory since 1975, creating content-driven choreographies at the intersection of arts and politics. These stories deepen witnesses understanding of spiritual and cultural perspectives as they move in-between spiritual and material work, encouraging viewers to reimagine their own power because our actions collec- tively matter.

WORD. In the vernacular, you say “Word,” to express agreement, validating you’re listening to what someone is saying. You might also hear it when something said is truthful or insightful. Words hold so much power. With words you can speak both life and death into being, shed light on the truth and hide the truth. We use words to reflect, inspire, story- tell, and the list goes on. When words aren’t enough, use dance, music, or art to further express. Give depth and meaning beyond the words. Make movement your vocabulary. Embody everything. Speak through it all. Dance Mission Theater (DMT) presents the WOMXN SPEAK: WORD! series - Womxn Oracular Radical Dance featuring different groups of women identified artists with intersecting identities, who share their oracular truth, while representing their com- munities through dance. This series started in the Fall of 2018, with Nkeiruka Oruche and Tossie Long of Afro Urban Society in collaboration with DMT presenting Bakanal De Afrique: What Had Happened Was… , an Afro-Urban musi- cal; and collaboration on a new program with La Colectiva de Mujeres ( Baile Col- ectivo ) spearheaded by Andreina Maldo- nado and Vanessa Sanchez. And this year, it expanded to include Rulan Tangen/Danc- ing Earth ( Between Underground and Sky- world ), Kanyon Sayers-Roods and Berna- dette Smith ( REINDEGENIZE ), Lenora Lee ( In the Skin of Her Hands ), Susana Arenas/ Arenas Dance Company ( Eso sí ), and finally finishing up the season with Krissy Keefer/ Dance Brigade ( Butterfly Effect ),that will run for three weeks in January 2020. The vision of the program is to elevate the female-identified artistic voices that aren’t always heard. “Women have oracu- lar power to see into what’s happening in the world. These voices are critical for social change, without their voices, we don’t have social change, social justice and equality,” says Kristy Keefer, Dance Brigade’s Artistic Director. “These artists are really visionary and are creating something so deep and pro- found with their work; supporting cultural preservation through the dances they create, the spoken word and text they are writing and incorporating into their productions, the groups of people they bring together. These efforts transform humanity.” WORD! weaves various themes through performance ritual and multi-media sto- rytelling. Tackling issues such as: climate change, perspectives of blackness interna- tionally and nationally, the rise of indigenous voices—acknowledging that we are on occu- pied lands—immigration, spirituality, health equity and living with breast cancer. I spoke with three choreographers - Rulan TI spoke with three choreographers - Rulan Tangen, Susana Arenas and Krissy Keefer - about their intention behind their

Company ($85/yr, $153/2yr): All Community & Individual benefits plus: DISCOUNTS ON:

• In Dance advertising • Postcard Distribution

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

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


The following are excerpts from their interviews that have been condensed and edited.

with REINDIGENIZE that included pre- show activities and performance rituals curated by California Native people who are currently living here in the Bay Area. “They brought their vision and genius to the streets at 24th and Mission BART,” says Rulan Tangen. “It’s important to remember that we are respectful guests on Ohlone land. We use our power and privilege as artists to bring them visibility.” Christine Joy Ferrer (CJF): What was your intention and process behind Between Underground and Skyworld ? One of your main themes focused on recovering ances- tral knowledge and making that accessible to the audience’s level of understanding. But, was there an overarching theme that you wanted to convey? Rulan Tangen: Between Underground and Skyworld speaks to energy, between two places and two sacred realms, retelling what is in-between and the impact each space has on the other. Space, being marginal can become bridges, which is the space of infinite poten- tial. The overarching question is, what is the future we want to bring forward? I generally invite my performers to collaborate, but this time was different, I decided to let them lead. The future is young people, indigenous cen- tered and it’s in their hands. What they choose to create is going to be the future. My previ- ous works have been environmentally themed, and indigenous cultural barrier and elder driven, but this is about acknowledging that young people too are the cultural advisers and the power that they have.

Rulan Tangen’s Between Underground and Skyworld (BTW US) is a multimedia dance theater work that illuminates the practical, spiritual and cultural aspects of renewable energy, combining intertribal perspectives with Indigenous futurities. Fusing tradition with technology, Indigenous interdisciplin- ary artists engage creation and constellation stories in tandem with geo-sensitive new media to conjure visions for a more sustain- able future. The creative process behind BTW US started a few summers ago, when Rulan started collecting different elements of nature and putting them in her backpack. Later in the studio, she asked each dancer to reach into her bag and pull something out. The dancers wrote about these objects. Spread out over the studio floor, were beautiful rocks, leaves, branches, and roots, but scat- tered amongst them were also things like safety pins, hair ties, a plastic bag, a rub- ber ball, other inorganic materials. Tangen imagined some of the writings would be about toxicity in our environment or human- ity’s disregard for nature but instead, danc- ers’ reflections strived to find the connection between ALL elements, even man-made. (Plastic bag) I am transparent, Even if you disregard me, I will never go away, and will shape to your every dream. And now that it’s made, how do we repurpose? Find the beauty and life force in everything. How does it translate into our actions? BTW US ran from Oct 26-27, 2019. And on Sunday, October 27 BTW US opened


ON THIS PAGE / WOMXN SPEAK: WORD! by Christine Joy Ferrer 4 / 35 Years Later SFB Brings Back Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Heather Desaulniers 5 / SPEAK: How to Ask for Help by Megan & Shannon Kurashige 6 / January/February Performance Calendar 9 / Dance Play is Serious Business by Nancy Ng 10 / SPEAK: A Seat at the Table by Deborah Slater 11 / Encounters Over 60 by Sima Belmar 15 / IZZIE Nominees & Honorees Announced

2 in dance




rs r

. r

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

JAN/FEB 2020

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201

Rulan Tangen’s Between Underground and Skyworld / photo by Paulo T Photography

Arenas Dance Company / photo by Brooke Anderson

says, "someone is going to find you while you’re dancing in the Malecon and take you abroad." And this is how my journey to United States begins. At the time, the situa- tion between U.S. and Cuba was hard. But, it’s my job as a cultural bearer to teach and educate others about my culture. We dance more for heart than for money. Más que bai- lar en Cuba bailaremos por Cuba. Founded and directed by Susana Arenas Pedroso, Arenas Dance Company’s mission is to preserve and promote the rich and diverse Cuban folkloric and popular dance traditions. Krissy Keefer’s upcoming show, Butterfly Effec t, runs from January 26 – February 9, 2020 at Dance Mission Theater. Her lat- est work is site-specific centered on climate crisis. Since 1975, Keefer’s work explores contemporary social issues by creating, pro- ducing, presenting, and teaching feminist and multicultural dance and theater. Finding her- self in the same trajectory over the years, at the intersection of arts and politics. CJF: With the heightened awareness of the unprecedented global climate crisis we’re facing, why is Butterfly Effec t so relevant? Krissy Keefer: I came out of the 1970s, deeply aware and conscious of the environ- mental crisis. Back then, we were all about not shopping at Safeway, or at least, not taking plastic bags from Safeway. Save the Whales! Save the Planet! But, it all changed with this massive march towards consumer- ism. However, in our current environmental and political state of things, a lot of people are taking a hard stance around the world right now about the climate breakdown that is happening in their cities, towns, and coun- tries. There’s a huge global environmental movement coming out of the U.K., Extinc- tion Rebellion. In Honduras, hundreds of activists have been killed each year, trying to defend their lands and rivers, against multi- national interests.

I have never done an entire, even-length work on the complete degradation of our cli- mate until now. Butterfly Effect is all about climate change and catastrophe. With a cast of 16 performers, people are singing, drum- ming, acting and dancing. Images depict the apparent climate crisis, people in a state of despair, who feel trapped and caught up in day-to-day activities. They are so focused on Trump, they don’t even notice the bigger problem. The dances take place in different rooms. One room is about consumerism and fash- ion. Getting sucked into the beauty of a fashion show display that turns dystopian at the end. The audience will witness through visual imagery how entire towns get wiped out because of flood and fire. Remember- ing PARADISE and people trying to fight for their lives in SONOMA and SANTA ROSA. It’s time for me as an artist to participate in the best way I can to make a difference, and piggy back on grassroots movements that are trying to enact social response and social change. Dance Brigade’s Artistic Director Krissy Keefer explores the intersection between art and social issues with fierce inventiveness and a deft comic touch. We breathe life into our WORD, and it becomes reality. Like the Holy text reads, “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God.” So let’s continue to uplift the beginning of the WOMXN SPEAK: WORD! And the oracu- lar knowledge and spirit that follows it. Visit dancemissiontheater.org for more info and if you’re interested in donating to sup- port this work. CHRISTINE JOY FERRER is a multi-disciplinary creative from San Francisco, California. A youth movement arts instructor by day and a freelance media producer and designer by night. Founder of EO MVMNT, Media & Design (eomvmnt.org). She dances with Parangal Dance Company.

story, as a dance instructor, as a professional dancer and as an Afro-Latina. Eso sí is about who I am through Afro-Cuban folklore and dance. I came to the U.S. from Cuba 20 years ago. It’s about my spirituality, with the ori- shas and Santeria, Yoruba traditions that come from Nigeria, and Bantu culture. It’s about ceremony. Eso sí is about music, and that no matter what age you are, everyone’s welcome. I mix rhythms of Rhumba and Comparsa with both passion and heart. I honor the two cultures of Bantu and Vodou through dance. In Eso sí , the Godmother ( La Madrina ) has a dream of one of the dancers (me), traveling to different places, teaching and performing Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance, making money, learning about other cul- tures. So, bless Yemaya. Connect with the ocean. Yemaya provides safe passage across the ocean, and represents the seven seas. In Cuba, El Malecón is very important. It’s the place where Cubans come to sing, cry, dance, maybe find a love. La Madrina

The first act is about storytelling setting up the journey. The second act is more of an energetic ritual. You move through this por- tal through a staircase, running away from the apocalypse, learning about the creation story, traversing waters, climbing moun- tains. They open up their backpacks to find medicine bundles and pieces of trash. They process their connection to the objects. Rec- ognizing that the energy and life force that is spirit, matter, history and future, connects us all, which is directly invoked in imagery on stage. It’s not about spirit vs. matter or inorganic vs. inorganic. Or even the past vs. present. It’s about the in-between. Everything is sacred. Dancing Earth Indigenous Contempo- rary Dance Creations dynamically activates their mission to support Indigenous dance and related arts, to encourage and revitalize awareness of bio-cultural diversity through artistic expression, for the education and wellness of all peoples. Eso sí , Arenas Dance Company’s latest work, celebrated the 20th anniversary of choreographer and director Susana Arenas Pedroso. The evening-length work featured Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular dance, live drumming, incorporated movement and text, and integrated the sacred and the profane in Cuban culture. With sold out performances, Eso sí ran at Eastside Arts Alliance and and Dance Mission Theater October 6-13, 2019 at Dance Mission Theater. CJF: In Eso sí , you integrate your own spiritual practice and honor your ancestors through Afro-Cuban folklore and vibrant visual storytelling. What does Eso sí mean to you? How does it reflect who you are as a cultural barrier within the Afro-Cuban diaspora? Susana Arenas: Soy hija de Elegua y mi mama es Yemaya. As a Cuban, raised in Havana, for me, dance is about life, spirit and soul. Cuba is all about music and dance. We are born with its rhythm. Eso sí is my


in dance JAN/FEB 2020

35 Years Later San Francisco Ballet Brings Back Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream


HAVE YOU EVER been to a wedding where the invited guests just couldn’t keep it together? I have. And I’m betting you know exactly the kind of wedding I mean. Sloppy, inap- propriate speeches fueled by over-imbibing. Decades-old quarrels rearing their heads, passive aggressive looks running rampant and complex romantic entanglements pulling focus from the newlyweds. William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream paints a similar picture. Writ- ten toward the end of the sixteenth century (though scholars disagree on the exact year), the five-act comedic play declares that the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta, are about to be married. Though very little time is actu- ally devoted to that specific event. Instead, Dream focuses on the eccentric attendees who are gathering for the wedding celebra- tion: the impish Puck; Oberon and Tita- nia, King and Queen of the Fairies; the bewitched Bottom; and the lovers Demetrius, Lysander, Helena and Hermia, all of whom are embroiled in interconnected drama. As we follow this madcap collection of humans, fairies and sprites, shenanigans ensue. Unrequited love and familial expectations abound. Magic potions are deployed in order to ensure certain outcomes. Relationship pairings pivot and change. Scheming. Trick- ery. Dream runs the whole gamut. As the author so aptly penned in Act I, Scene I, “the course of true love never did run smooth…” In 2019, Bay Area audiences had some wonderful opportunities to engage with this enchanting tale. Cal Shakes included it in their most recent season, as did a number of other regional theater troupes like Silicon Valley Shakespeare and Concord’s B8 The- atre Company. This coming spring, San Fran- cisco Ballet (SFB) continues the trend, dig- ging into their vast repertory archive to offer another A Midsummer Night’s Dream expe- rience. One that communicates Shakespeare’s magically layered narrative through classical ballet, innovative choreography and stun- ning visual storytelling. A Dream filled with arms and hands that flutter as though casting a spell. With solos that command the space with large shapes, long extensions and light- ning-fast batterie. Sharp, directional changes in the stage architecture mirror shifts in the story; turns and spins indicate a change in character intention and trajectory. At the beginning of March, the company brings George Balanchine’s 1962 adaptation back to the War Memorial Opera House stage. It’s been thirty-five years since SFB first debuted this two-act story ballet, and they are beyond thrilled to resurrect it under the impeccable direction of Sandra Jennings, full-time répé- titeur with The George Balanchine Trust. An incredibly important member of the creative team, the ballet répétiteur is tasked with teaching, coaching, rehearsing and stag- ing an existing ballet work or any of its com- ponents. To do so successfully requires a soul intimately connected to the ballet in ques- tion. An encyclopedic knowledge of the cho- reography, to be sure, but also of the music, of each character’s developmental arc and of every design element’s contribution to the overall message or story. When it comes to Balanchine’s Dream , Jennings, who has a significant personal history with the ballet, certainly fits the bill. “As a young 11-year-old dance student, I fell in love with this ballet – Diana Adams was one of my teachers and she was the very first Titania,” she shares. As Jennings continued her dance studies and eventually launched her own professional career, that adoration only deepened. “When I was part of New York City Ballet from 1974 to 1983, I got to dance Dream many times, learning various parts from legends like Gloria Govrin and watching dancers like

Edward Villella perform the principal roles,” she remembers, “it was one of my favorite ballets to dance, very romantic and every sec- tion felt so joyful.”With all that first hand experience and artistic lineage in tow, Jen- nings began staging Balanchine’s Dream (and other compositions) for the Trust in the mid- 1980s. Internationally, she has set the work for Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet de Santiago and the Mariinsky as well as many US-based companies including Washington Ballet, Miami City Ballet and Boston Ballet. This past summer, Jennings arrived in San Francisco ready to add SFB to that already impressive list (even though Dream would not hit the stage for six more months, SFB rehearses all the upcoming season’s repertory in the preceding summer/fall). A mix of excitement and anxiousness was indeed palpable for Jennings, “I was nervous because I was going to try and stage the bal- let in three weeks, and only a few dancers in the company had ever seen this particu- lar version…at the same time, I was so eager to share the work and was hoping that they might love it as much as I do.” The dancers, many of whom hadn’t yet been born the last time SFB performed Dream in 1985, shared those same feelings of excitement and anx- iousness. “We don’t tend to do many full- length Balanchine narratives, and I think the company really came together for this new challenge,” relays Principal Dancer Esteban Hernandez. Jennings couldn’t agree more and was so impressed by how each dancer in every cast (there are three) was 100% pres- ent, so supportive of the process and the compressed timeline. Tight schedule notwithstanding, Jennings’ strategic approach with Dream is always to begin with the harder choreography. “There’s Hippolyta’s solo, Hermia’s solo, several pas de deux as well as a dance for six couples that occurs in the ballet’s second act, but one of the very first pieces I teach is Oberon’s solo, which is supremely difficult” she explains. Though he will debut as Puck on opening night, Hernandez is also one of the dancers learning Oberon. He will dance that role on the second night of Dream ’s run, and he can more than attest to its complexity, “Oberon’s variation is by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do; it’s technically demand- ing, long and super fast - you have to remain totally in character the entire time, completely calm and collected even though you can’t feel your arms and legs once it’s over.” (Top left) San Francisco Ballet rehearsing Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream / Photo by Erik Tomasson, ( Top right ) Julian Montaner as Puck and Ricardo Bustamante as Lysander in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream , 1985 / © SF Museum of Performance + Design

Wona Park and Benjamin Freemantle rehearsing Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream / Photo by Erik Tomasson

At the same time, with Dream being a com- edy, the ballet also incorporates plenty of fun and ample lightness. Hernandez sees Puck as one of those points of levity, “Puck is such a fun part: it’s very high energy; the movement style is more demi-character so things don’t have to be so pretty; and I like his mischievous quality, he is the one orchestrating everything and leading everyone, including the children’s cast, through the entire story.”And such a significant children’s cast it is! Dream calls for twenty-five young dancers for every perfor- mance - one as Titania’s page and the others play various bugs in the forest – and students from San Francisco Ballet’s School are handily and exuberantly filling these important roles. “As a child, Mr. B. [Balanchine] was in numer- ous ballets, and he felt the experience nur- tured him so much; there is so much joy in the children’s sections, his choreography is such a wonderful gift to them that will forever touch their lives in a special way,” recalls Jennings. There are so many special aspects of this Dream , of course for the participants, but also for the audience. Hernandez is quick to point out how this production can provide yet another platform for folks to experi- ence Shakespeare, an artistic, literary force that can sometimes feel overwhelming and inaccessible, “ Dream is able to remove pre- conceived notions people may have about Shakespeare and the theater by simplifying the story without compromising its essence.” Jennings agrees, “Mr. B. had to compress the play [the original source material has five acts, while the ballet unfolds over two], and even though there are some elements miss- ing, this Dream tells the story in a way that you absolutely get what’s happening.”

Jennings will be back at SFB in the New Year to continue overseeing the return of Balanchine’s Dream - revisiting scenes, polishing choreography and delving deeper into the characters - ahead of opening night. Then, on March 6th, the company will invite its patrons to journey into dreamland with them! “The play and the ballet are really about human behavior – there are so many relatable human elements and emotions in the tale, which continues to make it viable, relevant and timeless,” Jennings describes. In addition to those universal themes and threads, Dream , in just two short hours, offers folks the space to escape to another realm. Hernandez hopes viewers can savor that opportunity, and for that brief time, leave everything else outside the theater, “I hope that audiences will be completely enthralled and transported to this magical world where the biggest worry is whether Titania will figure out that Bottom is not a donkey, but a human blanketed by a mystical spell.” 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. Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2020 season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, runs March 6-15 at the War Memorial Opera House. sfballet.org


in dance JAN/FEB 2020


| |

| |

rs r rs r

. r . r

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

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

44 Gough Street, Suite 201

How to Ask for Help, Raise Your Ghosts, and Make a Family by MEGAN AND SHANNON KURASHIGE, CO-DIRECTORS OF SHARP & FINE


WHEN WE WERE growing up, we went to Hawaii nearly every summer. Our parents grew up on the island of Kauai, as did their parents. Our family has been in Hawaii for a while and it’s not until you get to our great- and great-great-grandparents’ generations that people start arriving from Japan. People always tell us that it must be a nice place to have family. And it is. It’s a beautiful, culturally varied, genuinely para- disiacal place. To us, it also feels very much like the family home and when we were kids, we didn’t appreciate it as anything other than ordinary. Even the parts of it that are genuinely magical were just what we did in between visiting grandmas and grandpas, cleaning relatives’ houses, and get- ting fed by an endless sequence of aunties and uncles. One of these magical and underappreci- ated things was bon dances. Bon dances are part of the Japanese and Japanese-A merican tradition of Obon, a summertime ritual of honoring the spirits of your ances- tors. In Hawaii, a big part of Obon is a three-month-long season of bon dances, glorious nighttime gatherings that bring together people—locals and tourists of all kinds of beliefs and backgrounds—with music, food, and communal dancing. Many of our childhood summers were spent going to bon dances where we would hear our great-uncle sing, dance alongside our great- aunt, and absolutely take for granted the way that bon dances get people who don’t dance to move together like it’s the most nor- mal thing in the world. A few years ago, our aunt took us to a bon dance at an assisted living facility for seniors with memory loss. They set the dance up in the parking lot, around a big tree hung with paper lanterns. Musicians played flutes and drums and sang, caretakers pushed the seniors in their wheelchairs in a circle around the tree, and the seniors (some of whom can’t remember their names or who their family members are) lifted their hands and moved them through the gestures of the dances. We burst into tears, struck hard by the beauty and wisdom of this act of remembrance through dance, something so familiar that we hadn’t fully understood its power before. By the time we were walking to the car, we were talking about making a piece for Sharp & Fine that would attempt to explore this strange res- urrection of feeling and memory.

photos by RJ Muna

The second thing: We received some very good advice. Wendy Rein and Ryan Smith (co-founders of RAW- dance and two incredibly savvy and gener- ous builders of community) told us that we should never be afraid to ask for more help. They pointed out that there are always peo- ple who will want to help, if you can ask clearly and it is within their power to do so. Asking for help can be an exciting necessity, a way of bringing more people into the work so you are creating it together instead of fac- ing it alone. The third thing: We started asking. We asked our collabora- tors to join a long and potentially nomadic process. We asked for help with finding space. We asked for advice, resources, and time. We asked friends, acquaintances, and strangers. We asked and asked and asked. Sometimes people did say no, but overwhelmingly and incredibly, so many people said yes. We are astonished and humbled by how many people are helping us make this piece.

Several years later, when we were ready to start making that piece, three things hap- pened. The first thing: In 2018, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance closed. We are both alumni of the Conservatory and it had become our artistic home and family, in both philo- sophical and practical ways. Philosophically, the training and mentorship we received there are what made us want to choreo- graph in the first place. Practically, it gave us many of the resources that we needed to do so: like-minded collaborators and the gift of enormous amounts of time and space to experiment, fail, and discover in. When the Conservatory closed, we felt unmoored. We had never made a piece without a home to create it in. We realize that this was a very privileged position to be coming from, but (as every choreogra- pher in the Bay Area knows) making work without a space is a daunting and expensive challenge.

The dance community has welcomed and supported us in ways that we never expected. It is making us expand the way we think of “home.” Our artistic home is so much bigger than we used to think it was. It’s a sprawling place with many rooms and many people, and everyone is busy juggling at unimagina- ble speeds. But if you lose something or are struggling to carry a thing that’s too heavy to lift, there is always someone ready to reach over and help. The creative process of making this piece and the practical process of making it hap- pen have shared many parallel themes. We are telling a story about family and ghosts while wrestling with the practicalities of nurturing our family of collaborators and carrying our history as choreographers into the future. We are asking our community for help while making a piece that explores why coming together, remembering, and the com- munal power of bon dances matter. MEGAN & SHANNON KURASHIGE are sisters, dancers, and choreographers. We co-founded Sharp & Fine in 2011 to create narrative performance work that brings together physically exuberant choreog- raphy, emotionally nuanced text, live music, and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Our work is informed by the technical rigor of classical ballet, the human intensity of contemporary forms, and the convic- tion that telling a story built on personal truths is a powerful and communal act of communication and empathy. Collectively, we have worked with Liss Fain Dance, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Alex Ketley, Christian Burns, Amy Seiwert, Ballet Pacifica, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. We studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, North Carolina School of the Arts, Academy of Ballet, and UC Irvine. Megan is also a writer. Shannon is also a graphic designer.

SHARING Sharp & Fine’s Just Ahead is Darkness will premiere at Z Space in San Francisco, February 7-9, 2020. It is a devised work for six performers and four musicians that draws inspiration from bon dances to tell a story about family, love, loss, and the eternal return of ghosts. We’re calling it a “play for dance” and while we are co-directing it, we are honored to share the credit for its creation with our collaborators (our dancers, Sarah Woods- LaDue, Sonja Dale, Christian Burns, and Tristan Ching Hartmann; and our composer, Cory Wright) and all the people and places who make up our new artistic home. We hope we can share it with all of you.

Opportunities that we want to share: Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Artist-in-Residence Program Thank you to Courtney King, Ali Taylor Lange, and Robert Dekkers for responding to our need for help with the creation of this invaluable program. berkeleyballet.org/artist-in-residence Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency Program Thank you to Paul Dresher and Dominique Pelletey for supporting the creation of new works by a broad range of Bay Area artists. dresherensemble.org/community-programs/the-dreser- ensemble-artist-residency-program/ Other spaces that have welcomed us: We thank all of these spaces for welcoming us. We highly recommend them as places to consider for rehearsals. Academy of Ballet, San Francisco Stapleton School of the Performing Arts, San Anselmo Finnish Hall, Berkeley

Just Ahead is Darkness February 7, 8, 9 Z Space, San Francisco sharpandfine.com/darkness


in dance JAN/FEB 2020

calendar JAN/FEB 2020 VISIT THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CALENDAR, to find additional events and to submit a performance. dancersgroup.org

Paul Taylor Dance Company, Feb 19-22 / Photo by Paul B. Goode

Carolina Lugo's & Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Pena Pachamama, SF Brace yourself for a night when the well worn hardwood floors of Pachamama resonate with the pulsating sounds of footwork, song, castanets, syncopated hand clapping and guitar. Carolina and her daughter Carolé Acuña and their company of musicians and dancers offer a special evening of Flamenco and Span- ish dance traditions. Saturdays, Jan 4-Feb 29, 7pm, $21.98. carolinalugo.com

FRESH Festival 2020 Various locations, SF

11th annual, FRESH Festival 2020 is a diverse feast of embodied art, action and interac- tion showcasing three weeks of risk-taking mainstage Performances, immersive studio Practices, and social, inclusive and interactive community Exchanges, featuring 75+ cutting- edge artists from the Bay Area and beyond. Mon, Jan 6-Sun, Jan 26, various times, various prices. freshfestival.org Simorgh Dance Collective Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, Atherton A dance concert adaption of the Persian epic The Conference of the Birds featuring folkloric, classical, and sacred dances of the Silk Road performed by Farima Berenji and the Simorgh Dance Collective. Includes Persian music per- formed by Homeyra Banejad and Ensemble. Sat, Jan 11, 7-9pm, $35-$40. farimadance.com

Simorgh Dance Collective, Jan 11 / Photo by Varol Ozkaner

SAFEhouse RAW presents Artist Showcase SAFEhouse Arts, SF RAW Presents Sawako Gannon, John Paul Alejandro, A. Spearman & Co., Es"Delight"Co, and Kitty Conlon. Sat, Jan 11, 8pm; Sun, Jan 12, 7pm, $15-$20 safehousearts.org RAWdance Green Room at SF War Memorial and Performing Arts Center RAWdance’s beloved salon serves up a fresh dose of unique, high quality dance art in a lav- ish setting, but with a living room vibe. Five Bay Area choreographers join RAWdance to share works-in-progress and revamped repertory tailored for intimate viewing. Featuring RAW-

dance with guest artists: Julie Crothers, Kelly Del Rosario, Molissa Fenley, Molly Matutat, and Suzy Myre. Fri, Jan 17, 8pm, Sat, Jan 18, 3pm & 7pm, $10-$25 rawdance.org San Francisco Ballet War Memorial Opera House, SF Christopher Wheeldon updates the timeless tale of Cinderella . With colorful sets and cos- tumes by Julian Crouch, magical projections by Daniel Brodie, and breathtaking puppetry designed by Basil Twist, Wheeldon’s Cinder- ella is a fairy tale for our time. Tu-Thu, Jan 21-23, 7:30pm; Fri, Jan 24, 8pm; Sat, Jan 25 2pm and 8pm; Sun, Jan 26, 2pm; Sat, Feb 1, 2pm and 8pm; Sun, Feb 2, 2pm, $35-$399 sfballet.org

Wendy Whelan and Maya Beiser, Feb 27-28 Photo by Nils Schlebusch

Non Stop Bhangra Public Works, SF

For 15 years, Non Stop Bhangra has been an ever evolving collective of dancers, DJs, drum- mers, and special guests. Imagine a scene from a Bollywood movie, smack in the middle of a thumping nightclub, swirling colors, rhythm of pounding feet, wall to wall smiles, relentless energy, and brilliant beats-That’s Non Stop Bhangra. Sat, Jan 11, 9pm, $15-$25. nonstopbhangra.com

BBT Studio Company, Feb 29 / Photo by Natalia Perez

6 in dance


| |

| |

rs r rs r

. r . r

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

JAN/FEB 2020

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

44 Gough Street, Suite 201

James Graham Dance Theatre, Feb 13-15 / Photo by Robbie Sweeney

San Francisco Movement Arts Festival Grace Cathedral, SF With the 6th Annual San Francisco Movement Arts Festival (SFMAF), 55+ local performance groups, comprising of 300+ performers, will celebrate their movement art at the grand Grace Cathedral. As you enter the inspiring space, multiple STATIONS of the Movement (performances) will be going on simultane- ously. Fri, Jan 24, 6pm, $28-$45 sfmaf.org Butterfly Effect is a new site-specific dance work by Dance Brigade that focuses on the devastating effects of global warming, as well as the profound ripple of influence that one person’s actions can have on social change and climate change combat. With eight dancers and six drummers this work winds through the three studios inside Dance Mission Theater. Fri- Sat, Jan 24-25, 8pm; Sun, Jan 26, 6pm; Fri-Sat, Jan 31-Feb 1, 8pm; Sun, Feb 2, 6pm; Fri-Sat, Feb 7-8, 8pm; Sun, Feb 9, 6pm, $20-$30 Dancemission.com The MFA in Dance Program at Saint Mary’s College of California Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley The Collective – Phase II is an evening of eight distinctive choreographers coming together to explore various facets of embodied human experience ranging from deep emotional and moral connections to the impact of rituals in our daily lives. These eight works-in-progress are parts of ongoing original research, which will culminate in evening-length thesis perfor- mances in June 2020. Sat, Jan 25, 5:30pm & Dance Brigade Dance Mission Theater, SF

8pm, $10-$15, Q&A following the 8pm show. stmarys-ca.edu/mfa-in-dance

KWENTO PianoFight, SF

BREAK retells Catherine Liu’s, KWENTO’s Artistic Director, most traumatic experience with her own mental health, showing her racing thoughts as they turn into “sick truths,” her suicide plan, mental break, hospital and mental facility experience, and the tumultuous waves of her recovery. Fri-Sat, Jan 31-Feb 1, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, Feb 7-8, 7:30pm; $20-$30 kwentodance.com Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco Herbst Theater, SF Theatre Flamenco 53th Home Season presents Soul y Alma , a tribute of Gospel and Flamenco Music. Singer Amparo Heredia, percussion- ist Diego Alvarez, dancers Carola Zertuche & Cristina Hall and from Spain, guest artists, flamenco dancer Eduardo Guerrero and guitarist Juani de la Isla. Sat, Feb 1, 8pm, $25-$55. theatreflamenco.org Sharp & Fine Z Space, SF A devised work for six performers and four musicians, Just Ahead is Darkness draws on the Japanese and Japanese-American tradition of remembering the dead to tell a poignant and magical tale about family, love, loss and the eternal return of ghosts. Performances by company co-directors Megan and Shannon Kurashige, Christian Burns, Tristan Ching Hartmann, Sonja Dale and Sarah Dionne Woods- LaDue. Musicians include Steve Adams, Karl Evangelista, Jordan Glenn and Cory Wright. Fri- Sat, Feb 7-8, 8pm; Sun, Feb 9, 2pm, $20-$35. sharpandfine.com

Cirque Mechanics, Feb 9 / Photo courtesy of artist

Wax Poet(s) Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley

circus ring and experience the timeless- ness of this evolving art form. 42FT is full of theatricality but with a modern sensibility, a showcase of wonders from a galloping me- chanical metal horse to a rotating tent frame for strongmen, acrobats and aerialists. Sun, Feb 9, 7pm, $20-95 lvpac.org San Francisco Ballet War Memorial Opera House, SF Classical (Re)Vision features ballets specifi- cally created for SF Ballet dancers. Hum- mingbird , Liam Scarlett’s first commission for SF Ballet, showcases this choreographer’s style of blending classical ballet with con- temporary drama. Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet , 1999, is a cleverly tongue-in-cheek ballet exemplary of this choreographer’s signature musical sensibility. Tu-Wed, Feb 11-12, 7:30pm; Fri, Feb 14, 8pm; Sun, Feb 16, 2pm; Thu, Feb 20, 7:30pm; Sat, Feb 22, 2pm and 8pm, $29-$399. sfballet.org San Francisco Ballet War Memorial Opera House, SF Dance Innovations offers a chance to see three different ideas of what ballet can ex- press: the beautiful poignancy of Edwaard Li- ang’s The Infinite Ocean , the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s The Big Hunger , and the thrilling display of classical movement that is Etudes . Thu, Feb 13, 7:30pm; Sat, Feb 15, 2pm and 8pm; Tu-Wed, Feb 18-19, 7:30pm; Fri, Feb 21, 8pm; Sun, Feb 23, 2pm, $29-$399. sfballet.org

MidCentury Blue(s) seeks to integrate move- ment and lights to explore two moments in history that saw radical approaches to agency in performance while still existing within tradi- tional power structures. Examining the uses of these two blues from a contemporary under- standing of intersectionality opens up ques- tions around how a radical act can still support status quo. Sat-Sun, Feb 8-9, 7pm, $12. wax-poets.com

Cirque Mechanics Bankhead Theater, Livermore

This latest invention from the creative minds of Cirque Mechanics dares us to leap into the

James Graham Dance Theatre Joe Goode Annex, SF

DANCE LOVERS 9 ...duets by real-life couples, crushes, and comrades...presented by James Graham Dance Theatre. Different couples sisters, friends, lovers) performing in their own styles. Thu-Sat, Feb 13-15, 8pm, $20-$40. jamesgrahamdancetheatre.com

SF Movement Arts Festival, Jan 24 / Photo by Andy Mogg

Continued on pg 8 »


in dance JAN/FEB 2020

calendar JAN/FEB 2020

ODC/Dance ODC Theater, SF

ODC/Dance Unplugged is a recurring platform offering a rare and candid look into the creative process of ODC's choreographers. Delve into the specifics, question the process, and learn something new during these exclusive evenings with ODC's creative force. Fri, Feb 14, 7pm, $25 odc.dance Paul Taylor Dance Company YBCA Theater, SF The dance world lost Paul Taylor in 2018 after more than a six-decade career in contem- porary dance. The Company’s two programs include Taylor’s final work, Concertiana and signature dances that defined his artistry. Wed-Sat, Feb 19-22, 7:30-9:30pm: Sat-Sun, Feb 22-23, 2pm. $45-$90 sfperformances.org In AI Sensorium , ODC Resident Artist Kinetech Arts investigates how bodies and minds are transformed, exploited, and manipulated by machine learning (ML) and artificial intel- ligence (AI) both virtually and physically. Fri- Sun, Feb 21-23, $15-$30. odc.dance DC Contemporary Dance Theatre/El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea YBCA Theater, SF UBUNTU: For the Whole of All Humanity , a diverse program in the Ailey genre yet reflects the power, passion and poetry of the Central American history, layered with an international elegance and flair of multi-cultural dancers. Choreographers: Lloyd Whitmore (Philadanco), Francisco Castillo (El Salvador), Chandini Darby and Maurice Johnson (Washington, DC). Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now – 2020 Various locations, SF and Oakland The Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now – 2020 brings performances to San Francisco and Oakland highlighting a host of premieres featuring unique and dynamic performances. Visit the BCF website for pro- gramming details, updates, to donate and/or to volunteer. Sat-Sun, Feb 22-23, Feb 29-Mar 1, Mar 7-8, 7:30pm, $10-$30. bcfhereandnow.com Kinetech Arts ODC Theater, SF Sat, Feb 22, 7pm, $25. teatrodedanza.org

Nancy Karp + Dancers, Feb 27-29 and Mar 1 / Photo by John Hefti

DC Contemporary Dance Theatre/El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea, Feb 22 / Photo by Dave Cunningham

Wendy Whelan and Maya Beiser YBCA Theater, SF

Deborah Slater Dance Theater ODC Theater, SF In its 30th Anniversary season, DSDT co- presents with ODC Theater, Part Two and Three of the inCIVILITY series— the acclaimed Outrage Machine (2018), a combination of motion capture, live interactive visual effects, and the expressive power of dance; and the world premiere of the third and final section, A Seat at the Table . Thu-Sat, Feb 27-Feb 29, 8pm; Sun, Mar 1, 5pm, $20-$50. deborahslater.org

Ground-breaking dancer Wendy Whelan, legendary choreographer Lucinda Childs, renowned cellist/creative producer Maya Beiser and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang partner for the Bay Area premiere of The Day . Thu-Fri, Feb 27-28, 7:30-9:30pm, $45-$65. sfperformances.org

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, Feb 1 / Photo by Lorena Zertuche

Rotunda Dance Series San Francisco City Hall

The Rotunda Dance Series brings many of the Bay Area's most celebrated dance companies to SF City Hall for free monthly noon-time performances and is presented by Dancers' Group and World Arts West. Fri, Feb 28, 12pm, FREE . dancersgroup.org Berkeley Ballet Theater and San Francisco Girls Chorus YBCA Theater, SF An original production, Rightfully Ours , that uses the Centennial of the 19th Amendment to ask the question of what it means to have a voice in society. The 60-minute work includes 8 new pieces of choreography created for BBT's Studio Company and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Sat, Feb 29, 7:30pm, $28-$50. berkeleyballet.org

Nancy Karp + Dancers Paul Dresher Ensemble Studio, Oakland

“Piano piano” is an Italian expression that means “slowly slowly, gradually, gently” and the work invites the audience through the buildings hallways, balconies, and central floor space. The dancers relationship to the architecture and the many spaces that appear to be fixed will inform how the piece emerges. Seating Limited. Thu-Sat, Feb 27-29, 8pm; Sun, Mar 1, 3pm, $25-$45. nancykarp.org

RAWdance, Jan 17-18 / Photo by Hillary Goidell


in dance JAN/FEB 2020




rs r

. r

In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org

unify strengthen amplify unify strengthen a plify

44 Gough Street, Suite 201


“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children” —NELSON MANDELA

RECENTLY, A COLLEAGUE shared his frustra- tion about the entire hour of homework his first-grade child was expected to complete after an eight-hour school day. He called it, “an assault on kids.” His passionate com- ment reminded me of how I felt the first time I witnessed elementary school children passing through the hallways with their hands crossed behind their backs replicating the “perp” walk of prisoners. The school-to-prison pipeline was visual and visceral. Last year, I learned that the highest suspension rate per capi- tal is for African-American preschool boys. Preschoolers! I have spent my entire career teaching and learning how to foster children’s happiness and wellbeing—from my first job as a preschool teacher to my current role as Director of Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Luna, the rights of children to be free has been a core tenet of my work. It saddens me to witness an educational system that treats children as chattel destined to be molded and formed to serve the indus- trial complex; instead of respecting and nur- turing them as vibrant human beings who are naturally eager to love and learn. I am hum- bled by the power of young children danc- ing. Their organic in-the-moment quality of movement is something we professional danc- ers yearn for and try to create in our choreog- raphy and performance. With bodies not yet colonized, young children’s dances are truly original just by being true to their nature. Increasingly, more dance teaching art- ists are becoming interested in working with young children 0-5. How can I, as a teacher educator, help them to create learning expe- riences that nurture and activate children’s innate creativity. How can dance support healthy attachment and autonomy? What dance curricula supports the whole child— cognitively, psycho-socially, and physically? What are kids’ natural interests? How can dance teachers reframe success to be about exploring children’s wonder rather than expecting them to follow? How can dance educators articulate what we know to early educators, parents, and policy-makers outside of the arts education sector so they under- stand how dance meets early education goals? At Luna, early education threads through all of our programs through a framework we call Love, Play, Move (an ECE teaching guide with the same title will be published in 2020). LOVE Relationships are at the core of all learning. As human beings we are hard-wired to bond with a primary caregiver. All babies are cute and adorable for a reason. Adults want to take care of them—even when they cry. The secu- rity, safety and nurturing experienced in the cocooned in-utero environment is manifested out-of-utero as infants are swaddled, held, rocked, fed, and talked to. An infant recog- nizes voices outside of the womb because they have heard the voices of their family mem- bers for nine months prior. Within the first few hours of an infant’s breath they mimic the facial expressions of the adult holding them. A loving parent gazes into their child’s face stick- ing their tongue out and their baby mimics this movement. Already, parent and child are playing with each other. Babies learn to smile because loving adults smile at them often. Relationship-based dance curriculum expands on early natural movement learning in a multitude of creative ways. In the ECE classroom or studio space, classes focus on the elements of dance that are central to family

Luna Dance Institute Early Childhood Education Program / photo courtesy of the artist

MOVE The moving body is how we experience our world, and how we know our world. Anthro- pologists have made the case for dance as the first art form, and movement as the first form of communication. Dance/movement is fun- damental to literacy, health, and wellness as a core component of a holistic approach to sup- port young children’s self-efficacy, self-aware- ness, and autonomy. There is plenty of neuro- science research to validate what we already know as dancers. For example, we know that children develop body-brain connectivity in their natural movement explorations during the first two years of life. Many dance educators use the develop- mental patterns, present in all dance styles and forms – breath, core-distal, head-tail, upper- lower, body-side, cross-lateral during a class. Breath: internal pulse needed to bring oxygen to our body; Core-Distal: extension from our core through our limbs, head and tailbone; Head-Tail: spinal movement; Upper-Lower: grounding to the floor with our lower body and reaching to the sky with our upper body; Body-Side: division of body movements along the vertical axis; Cross Lateral: movements which cross the body’s midline. Our bodies are designed to move in these patterns; and moving through these patterns are a necessary part of brain development in young children.What bet- ter case can be made for dance than that? As dance educators it is imperative that we convey what we know about dance and early learning to parents, teachers, early education leaders and policy-makers. Children come into the world ready to learn through love,

connection. Families move toward and away from each other, shadow each other’s move- ments, make body shapes that attach and detach, travel in connected shapes, create secret movement handshakes, discover dances that relate over, under, around and through. These explorations in ECE dance are familiar to cho- reographers who investigate the intricacies of relationships using space, props, and gestural movement. As children become preschool aged (3-5), they are able to apply this relationship- play in the dancing with their peers. PLAY Young children learn through play, and impro- visation is at the core of play. Dance impro- visation shares so many attributes of play— spontaneity, imagination, connections in the moment, communication with another person. As dance educators we need to mindfully craft dance activities that are play-based; and we need to be able to articulate what we see in dance play to parents and classroom teachers so they can also see its value to the cognitive and socio-emotional growth of the whole child. When my daughter was four, we made up a movement game during long walks to pass the time and make the journey to our destina- tion seem less tedious. Walking 8 blocks does not seem like much as an adult, but it is as great distance to a young child with legs only 18 inches long. Determined by what felt right in the moment we alternated leading differ- ent locomotor movements, finding ways to go over or around objects on the sidewalk, making shapes with fire hydrants or shrub- bery. Our sidewalk dances were spontane- ous—sometimes I shadowed my daughter, sometimes she shadowed me. She learned so much in these dances: physics – how to run and decrease her momentum at the sidewalk’s edge and use weight to push off a hydrant; empathy – how to embody my movements in the moment and feel what it’s like to be me; patterning used in math and language – as we created movement sequences that repeated (ie. gallop, stop, gallop, stop). A favorite dance game at Luna is rivers and stones adapted from Anne Green Gilbert’s “Rocks and Bridges” activity in Creative Dance For All Ages . The stones make rock- like shapes that can be jagged, round, or even have holes in them. The river flows/dances over, around, and through the rocks. Sometimes the river is still and may settle next to a rock and sway, other times it might move fast and furious. In this one dance children learn to speed up and slow down, curve and mold their body to another person’s shape, stop and go, and explore weight while resting on a rock.

play, and movement. The benefits of early dance and movement begin in utero, continue in relation to a primary care giver, expand in social play with peers, and actualize chil- dren’s individuation and expression in small group movement activities. This parallels the goals of California’s early education initiatives which are focused on the whole child in rela- tionship to family and then community. When young children are dancing, they are completely embodied in the moment expressing who they are – they are free. This is what is needed in our schools, in our society. We know children should be moving for the entire day in pre-school, and first graders should be dancing after-school instead of sitting and doing homework. We know dance is fundamental for embodied learning; and we are in a unique position to support children’s creativity, freedom and authentic expression. With a new state governor committed to early education, we are at a pivotal moment to truly create change as dancers and activists who care about young people and their well-being. NANCY NG is Executive Director of Creativity and Policy and Dir. of Early Education at Luna Dance Institute. She continues to learn from young children. Luna faculty members have written other articles for this journal which delve into early education and dance. You can read Exploring Power and Agency in Early Childhood (Nakagawa, A. Dec. 2018), and The First Steps: Luna Dance Institute (Reedy, P. May 2012)

1. Green Gilbert, Anne. Creative Dance For All Ages, 95. Reston, VA: The American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 1992.



 +  +  + 



in dance JAN/FEB 2020

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16

Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs