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Wine and Contemporary Dance at West Wave Gala

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. 

Post:Ballet’s Seconds

Ballet has dropped the pristine white tutus and melodramatic story lines of yesteryear like a bad blind date. (Good call, ballet.) Fusing classical dance with experimental movement, contemporary companies like Post:Ballet create fresh work while adhering to the beauty of the form. 

Kim Epifano Dance at ODC

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. 

Fruit: kDub Dances at Counterpulse

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.)  

Dance and Performance Art for Your Calendar: ODC, CounterPULSE, and Ethnic Dance Fest

Kick off the summer with a dose of high art. ODC and CounterPULSE offer premieres of edgy works while the 33rd Ethnic Dance Festival brings worldly culture back to the Bay Area for its annual series.

June 3-5: Suicide Barrier: Secure in our Illusion
Butoh master and multimedia artist Ledoh teams up with video artist Perry Hallinan to contemplate the contemporary "age of anxiety" and "collective safety" in the world we live in today. Sound heady? It is. But here's the kicker: the piece takes its title from newly added wall and net on the Golden Gate Bridge (designed to catch bridge jumpers), meaning it will be nothing short of powerful movement and imagery.
$15-$18; ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., odctheater.org

ODC’s Anniversary: Celebrating 4 Decades of High Energy, Take-No-Prisoners Dance

If you’re under 35, lived in the Bay Area, and your parents were culturally inclined, you probably grew up watching ODC dancers spring across the stage. (Yes, I'm talking about me here. Hello, Velveteen Rabbit.) One of the most highly respected dance institutions around, ODC is known for intricate choreography, impressive athleticism, and a knack for portraying the full range of human emotion. And now the company is turning 40.

Stephen Petronio Company

For the last 25 years, Stephen Petronio’s company has performed his unpredictable brand of dance in 26 countries to music by collaborators like Fischerspooner, Rufus Wainwright, and Lou Reed. Petronio has choreographed works for companies in London, Berlin, and Paris, and drawn people like Andy Warhol and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to his shows. What we’re saying is, the man has charisma. 

Considered one of the leading dance makers of his generation, Stephen Petronio mixes a potent blend of new music, visual art, and fashion - and is constantly trying to top himself. “My job is to make things that are just beyond my grasp from last year,” Petronio said in an interview with Dance magazine in 2009.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Final Bay Area Performance

If you want to see the revolutionary Merce Cunningham Dance Company do its thing, this weekend is your last chance. The company hit the road for a final two year tour after avant garde dance pioneer Merce Cunningham’s death in 2009. The company will disband at the end of 2011. 

After rolling into Berkeley in a Volkswagen bus for its first performance here in 1962, the company went on to perform 26 seasons locally. For the company’s final Bay Area performance, they’ll perform pieces from various eras of Cunningham’s incomparable 70 year career.

Ready, Set, Ballet

Sure, Nutcracker is nice—for kids, nostalgia buffs, and balletophobes especially. But this weekend, ballet season begins in earnest when SF Ballet gears up for 2011 with the full-length classic Giselle (though Feb. 12). Premiered in 1841 and restaged here by artistic director Helgi Tomasson in 1999, the two-act ballet is romance personified: Man’s betrayal does girlfriend in, but girlfriend forgives him from the great beyond. If you want something more modern, wait for Program 2 (Feb.

Jess Curtis/Gravity: Dances for Non/Fictional Bodies

After only one performance by Jess Curtis/Gravity, you'll understand that he's a rare breed. Last year's Symmetry Project stripped its performers of cover and pretension, literally, as two naked bodies moved around each other and the room for hours as the audience contemplated the meaning of it all. On a whole other level above exhibitionism, the performance raised important questions about the body in its most vulnerable form, and it was entrancing.

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