DANCE Jodi Lomask has always been comfortable with both science and art. Perhaps that's not surprising for someone who grew up with a physicist father and a visual artist mother — hanging around with his friends who would came to visit in Connecticut, and going with her to galleries and openings. Still, it's not every child who, when trying to make sense of the world, was also "making dances" in her mind.Read more »
DANCE A stiff breeze is blowing through the venerable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, though not enough to ruffle feathers among Ailey aficionados (of which there are millions). The troupe is not dancing better, just differently. For that, they and the audiences have to thank new artistic director Robert Battle, who has been watching and choreographing for Ailey for years, though he was never a company member. Coming to the job as both an insider and an outsider, he knew exactly what to do.Read more »
It’s easy to overlook them, two dancers, still as mannequins, positioned near the entrance to the performance space, a silent video of a wet fleshy mouth, open wide as if ready for a filling, projected onto their motionless bodies. Just before the lights go down, they disappear, as does the fleshy mouth. Onstage a much larger projection of mouth, nose, cheek, fills the back wall, as the sounds of kissing, mumbling, chewing, and lip popping create a fanfare for the two dancers (Jill Randall and Amanda Whitehead), who enter while stretching their own faces into humorously exaggerated positions. Finally, Whitehead opens her mouth normally, to recite the jumbled text of Britta Austin’s Flash Fiction “Bite Marks,” which substitutes for music in their energetic duet. Read more »
DANCE When choreographers Sue Li Jue and Nina Haft found that they shared a common interest in exploring the body's memory — of personal experience, history, origins — they decided to make a work in which their individual choreographies would take turns on the stage. Thus the problematic this.placed was born.Read more »
DANCE This past weekend two master choreographers, each with more than 30 years experience, still managed to surprise us with fresh goods in their dance bags.
Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company has a well-deserved reputation for physically lush though highly disciplined choreography. Again presented by San Francisco Performances, Batsheva brought the 2007 Max, whose name may be derived from Naharin's pseudonym of "Maxin Waratt" as the work's composer or simply is an abbreviation of "maximum."
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DANCE On the opening night of its eighth year, the three-weekend "Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now" deserved its name. The quality of the choreography and the confident performances more than confirmed that BCF is a celebration of excellent contemporary African American choreography. Four out of the five works starred as fine world premieres by local artists. They were stylistically about as diverse as you would want, but this was an evening to rejoice. The Feb. 10 audience at Oakland's Laney College more than agreed.Read more »
The evening's "Precious Drop" dance performance at CounterPulse on Saturday, February 4 was centered around the theme of water -- which is becoming a controversial topic as issues of water rights become more muddled. Most of the dances, performed by Mohamed Lamine Bangoura, the Jaara Dance Project, and Bu Falle African Drum and Dance, focused on celebrating Mami Wata and her fickle ability to pour down from the sky to provide precious drops of life. The choreography onstage mixed traditional and modern moves, performed by talented dancers from across the globe whose smiles filled the space with a joy that you could feel, even sitting in the audience. Read more »
DANCE Randee Paufve's voice is quiet. But once you have heard her speak through her dances, you are unlikely to forget the strength of what she has to say. Her craft is impressive, her topics are many-layered, and the resulting choreography is pared down to its essence. Sometimes, I have even wished for a little more looseness just so I could catch my breath.Read more »