Postulating that the body has a mind of its own - to which everyone who’s ever had a violent bout of stomach flu can attest - dancers portray the peculiarities, outbursts, and general awkwardness of the meat suits we all clomp around in. From broken to virtuosic, our bodies are amazing - and dance is an excellent medium for that particular message.
The Riley Project and Aura Fischbeck Dance bring their physically dynamic brands of movement to Counterpulse this weekend to investigate the weirdness of the body, the weirdness of love, the madness of crowds, and the occasional pratfall.
Last year I discovered choreographer Joe Goode for the first time. His company's performance of Traveling Light rocked my world. Heavy, humorous, and deep with meaning, his works offer food for thought as his dancers play perfectly off one another onstage. This month, he's back with a new project featuring two local performance groups: Ledoh and AXIS Dance Company.
Watching expertly executed tango will make you wish you had the coordination to whip effortlessly around the floor while gazing into the eyes of a dude with creative sideburns. Since you probably don’t (neither do I) (how sad for us), Forever Tango will fill that gaping rent in your soul.
How women can flick their legs so quickly in such high stilettos while remaining so sultry is one of tango’s great mysteries. Solved in part by svelte tango vixens like Victoria Galoto, formerly of Alvin Ailey, and Bay Area native Cheryl Burke, of Dancing with the Stars fame. Forever Tango is a leg-wrapping Argentine joy-ride celebrating the sounds and movement of tango, from turn-of-the-century brothels to upper class soirees. A spectacle of tapping feet and arching backs, the momentum builds steadily from low-gliding seduction to impressively technical lifts.
If you prefer deceased rock legends to nut-cracking soldiers and vixens to fairies, hit up Smuin’s Christmas Ballet for this year’s dose of athletic holiday cheer. Blue Christmas-crooning Elvis catches shrieking blondes and hoists them over his head while his hips gyrate wildly. A mini-skirted flirt bats her lashes for diamonds and a line of stool-wielding vamps oust the Sugar Plum Fairy. Drooping evergreens get the chainsaw and a woman eludes her very persistent date.
If the standard Nutcracker spectacle strikes you as insipid or expensive or just too darn reminiscent of enforced family outings, try Dance Brigade’s Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie. Krissy Keefer’s refreshing version of the nut-cracking holiday confection turns Clara into an undocumented worker for a wealthy family and Drosselmeyer into the pink Mohawked gay son, who presents Clara with a freedom-fighting South African nutcracker.
Inspired by the fabled Silk Road (the western world’s first connection with east, now symbolizing cross-fertilization of everything from music to spice racks), Ballet Afsaneh spent the past year orchestrating a collaboration with acclaimed local artists from the Central and South Asian diaspora. This impressive year-long exercise culminates in a performance blending dance, music, and text from the historic trade routes of Eurasia.
Ballet. Tap. Jazz. Modern. Hip hop. Rhythm and Motion. All forms of dance you're familiar with. Wheelchairs moving effortlessly in a seamlessly choreographed work of art—now, this is a dance concept you may never have heard of. This weekend, inkBoat and AXIS Dance Company come together to present ODD at ODC Theater, a collaboration inspired by the Scandinavian painter Odd Nerdrum whose work plunges to the depths of human condition, exposing loneliness, fear, hatred, birth, and death with uncanny precision.
Laudatory quotes flow around Hubbard Street Dance like fog down the Richmond - and deservedly so. One of the first dance companies I ever saw perform, Hubbard Street set me up as a dance lover for life - it's the type of performance you recommend to friends and then invite yourself along. And they’re moving more brilliantly than ever. The seventeen-dancer ensemble hits Berkeley this weekend, where they’ll perform West Coast premieres of Nacho Duato’s Arcangelo, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Deep Down Dos and Blanco, and 27’52” by the incomparable Jiri Kylian.
How's this for a cool gig? ODC is throwing a housewarming party to celebrate its brand-spanking-new community performance space in the Mission. But unlike most housewarmings, you'll be the one getting the gift.
Haven't yet had the chance to witness Joe Goode's masterful choreography? Always been dying to see a skit by Killing My Lobster? Secretly want to get in on the madness of a Youth Speaks poetry slam? Curious about playwright/director Mark Jackson's work and Lily Kharrazi's world music? This Saturday is your chance to tap into the arts for free.