Duets bring an intimacy and physical chemistry to the stage that's unmatched by any other format - especially when the duet is danced by a real-time fairytale romance. Husband-and-wife duo Nicole Trerise White and Ethan White are former Smuin Ballet dancers and, according to Kimberley Wyatt of CBS's Live to Dance, they're magic together. Following Michael Smuin’s credo of making ballet more accessible, the Whites put a contemporary spin on all that deft footwork and impressively bendy extension.
Originally a soloist for Kirov Ballet, Yuri Zhukov officially emigrated to the U.S. in 1989 to join the San Francisco Ballet, the first Russian dancer to do so. Now he choreographs based on a European aesthetic of risk-taking, and goes all creative on everything from pirouettes to photography to art.
Experimental and eager to explore new dance terrain, Zhukov attracts compelling performers with strong balletic training. This season's band of seven dancers features San Francisco Ballet alum Martyn Garside, and Katja Björner, formerly of the Royal Swedish Ballet. Björner, called "one of those dancers you're eager to see in almost anything" by The San Francisco Chronicle was also a lead in The Dancer, a documentary must for any ballet fan.
Drawing parallels between ancient nomadic civilizations (requirement: horses) and the growing trend of modern nomads (requirement: internet access), Counterpulse’s latest is an evening of structured multimedia improv, with dance, live painting and music, and video.
Improvisation can go one of several ways - it can be inspired and twice as impressive for having been born of the moment or it can be a bit of a mess. But with so many pieces being invented on the spot, the law of averages means there will be some interesting or insightful take-aways - possibly an evening full of them. Rustling Silk, part of CounterPULSE’s Summer Special, is a deep dive into people's need for freedom, no matter what century they live in.
Say “tap dancing” and most people will flash uncomfortably on their grandma’s inexplicable Fred Astaire fetish. (Not so inexplicable, really - tap shoes and tuxedos are always hot.) But tap clatters exuberantly on, now fused with hip hop and history - and accomplished tap dancing is always impressive. If you want to hear that sharp volley of sound from quick-moving feet, the world’s great tappers are descending on Herbst Theater this weekend.
Banding together to unleash a flurry of new dance on the local populace, Labayen Dance/SF and The DanceWright Project bring powerful longevity and a fresh eclectic style to Dance Mission Theater this weekend.
Combining the dramatic movement of the Asian dance canon with the ripe motion of ballet, Flood Pain Series #3 is a striking piece that looks at relationships between individuals and the larger world. Labayen fuses the delicacy of Asian culture with America's special brand of unflinching brashness into an original physicality and he hopes will serve as a vehicle for understanding the intrinsic humanity beneath every culture.
Aside from crashing the War Memorial Opera House (you probably shouldn’t do that), heading to Stern Grove is one of the best ways to see the world-renowned San Francisco Ballet for free. Slapping down your credit card at the box office of the Opera de Paris-Palais Garnier or Sadler's Wells Theatre in London is also fun, but such venues are a little more finicky about allowing audience members to tote in cold cuts and bottles of wine. So if you want to absorb culture (and salami) under towering trees, head to Stern Grove this Sunday.
San Francisco is stuffed with innovative choreographers who need a place to show off their mad talent. Luckily, West Wave Dance Festival is fond of displaying mad talent, so offers local choreographers an opportunity to create work without the drain of paying for it. Celebrating their 20th anniversary with a silent auction and tons of wine, West Wave’s gala at Z Space features dance by choreographers like Amy Seiwert, Robert Moses, and Maurya Kerr.
Why focus on one theatrical discipline when you can take a needle and thread to all of them? With fifteen years' worth of multimedia dance/theatre/music hybrids on her resume, Kim Epifano has three new works going up at ODC Theater this weekend.
Inspired by her 2009 residency in Ethiopia, Kim Epifano developed Heelomali, a mash-up of movement, song, photos and personal narrative, developed with didgeridoo expert Stephen Kent and Burmese harpist Su Wai. Under the mentorship of Epifano and Kent, teens from Burma and Nepal fuse the traditional dance and music of their homelands with hip hop, Bollywood, and breakdancing to create a unique multicultural infusion.
Emerging LA-based dance company kDub hits the Mission this weekend with Fruit. Choreographed by Kevin Williamson, this dance-theater mash-up promises intense physicality and a very Eve in the Garden of Eden vibe. (Yes, that means lots of apples.)