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Category: Dance

MEXICAN-AMERICAN AMITY IN OAKLAND

MEXICAN-AMERICAN AMITY IN OAKLAND

Four collaborating East Bay troupes furnished a pulse-quickening show in the Oakland Ballet’s latest “Dia de (los) Muertos” blowout before a large crowd whopping it up enthusiastically. The Mexican counterpart to the European Day of the Dead is a joyous feast of color and vivacity despite all the skulls and skeletons dancing about the Paramount stage (as well as others who were ticket-buyers, watching from the prime seats out front, with elaborate face paint). The performance pace was breath-taking, the…

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Performance as Bio-Archive: David Gordon at ODC

Performance as Bio-Archive: David Gordon at ODC

Dance concerts in which dancing is incidental or secondary to some larger idea of dance performance have become common in postmodern dance culture. Bill T. Jones (b. 1952) has become one of the most successful advocates of this aesthetic. But one can trace the origin of the aesthetic back to the Judson Dance Group, a collection of dancers associated with experimental performers like Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and John Cage, which in New York City, between 1962-1964, explored the potential…

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GARRETT-MOULTON’S LIVE CONSTELLATION OF DANCE

GARRETT-MOULTON’S LIVE CONSTELLATION OF DANCE

  The Biggest-Little Show, Complete with Singers, Musicians By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 29, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 80 The dance group Garrett + Moulton puts on an admirable spectacle, bringing forth yet another local ensemble investing heavily in multi-dimensional live dance theater. G&M’s “Speak, Angels” spotlights six dancers, seven instrumentalists, five singers, plus a unique 18-member “movement group” in a tightly organized, fast-flying, hour-long concert. The…

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SEIWERT’S NEW IDEAS, DIRECTIONS IN DANCE 

SEIWERT’S NEW IDEAS, DIRECTIONS IN DANCE 

By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 13-20, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 77 Dismayed by the sameness of too many dance performances? Amy Seiwert’s new thrusts show great promise to break out of the mold, via her Imagery company’s “Sketch 6” series of July 8-10. This was bold, invigorating innovation by four choreographers, each working to stretch the envelope of movement, performing in an intimate theater (Cowell, on the…

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OPTIMISM AS OBFUSCATION

OPTIMISM AS OBFUSCATION

ODC’s Dance Downtown Program Postmodern aesthetics emphasizes inclusivity, the value of difference and the “beauty” of the mundane. Translated into dance, the aesthetic tends to imply that all bodies are lovely, all movements are to be treasured and all moments are equal. This thinking supposedly produces a sense of optimism, since all that is excluded is conflict, struggle, drama, differences that cannot be reconciled, or incompatibilities that cannot be resolved through the simple exchange or interchangeability of movement. The idea…

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INDIA’S KATHAK DANCE

INDIA’S KATHAK DANCE

In Troupe’s Posthumous Tribute to Chitresh Das BERKELEY—The idea of “modern” Indian dance is perhaps difficult for many spectators to grasp, because the concept of “Indian” dance has become so intensely associated with a notion or memory of India from a pre-modern era. Indian dance means for the most part preserving “traditions” from pre-modern times rather than breaking with them. Teacher and choreographer Pandit Chitresh Das (1944-2015) exemplified throughout his life an inclination to adapt traditional Indian dance forms, particularly…

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POSTMODERN DANCE, 3D, & MAKE-BELIEVE ATOMS

POSTMODERN DANCE, 3D, & MAKE-BELIEVE ATOMS

3D viewing of movies is nowadays commonplace, just as a “cutting edge” idea of “the body” is commonplace in postmodern dance culture. But what happens when postmodern dance embraces 3D technology? The Company Wayne McGregor, from England, tries to answer this question with its production of Atomos (2013). Wayne McGregor (b. 1970) is the founder of the company and the choreographer of Atomos, and he has acquired considerable international acclaim for dances that involve the use of video and digital…

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DEKKERS’ UNIQUE AUDIENCE IMPACT

DEKKERS’ UNIQUE AUDIENCE IMPACT

His S.F. Dance Co. Dazzles The intermission crowd was the most animated I can recall at a dance event, enthusing, laughing, sipping, and reveling in the glow of a wildly exciting company on stage. So we’d better recognize the mercurial talent of choreographer Robert Dekkers, pronto. And before you enter, check all your biases at the cloakroom, please. Because Dekkers is a purposeful eccentric, provocative to the core in both attire and audience chitchat, coming across as some barely one…

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SAN FRANCISCO’S DANCE CORNUCOPIA

SAN FRANCISCO’S DANCE CORNUCOPIA

Via the International Festival By Karl Toepfer artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area dance Weeks starting June 15, 2015 Vol. 17, No. 74 SAN FRANCISCO—From May 21 to June 7, Fort Mason hosted the San Francisco International Arts Festival. This extravaganza presented more theater, dance, and music groups than anyone can sanely absorb. Most of the performers came from the United States, but several groups came from faraway places like Iran, Poland, Kurdistan, Ireland, Taiwan and Argentina….

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SMUIN BALLET, THREADING THE GENRES

SMUIN BALLET, THREADING THE GENRES

Starting Multi-City California Tour The Smuin Ballet Company holds a unique position in the dance world for pursuing an idea of ballet that is more heterodox than the aesthetic perspectives of more high profile, traditional, and heavily institutionalized ballet companies. With his extensive experience on Broadway and in Hollywood, as well as in ballet, the company’s founder, Michael Smuin (1938-2007), believed that a prosperous future for ballet involved the incorporation of elements from popular culture, with music, movement, and mood…

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