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Arts & Culture » Dance

A dance to Autumn: Bay Area terpsichorian talents

by Philip Mayard

Mark Morris Dance Company
Mark Morris Dance Company  (Source: Christopher Duggan)

As the Bay Area (sort of) emerges from the pandemic, local dance companies and presenters are ready for pretty much anything. Our dance community's performers, choreographers and administrators have shown an incredible amount of creativity and resiliency over the past year and a half, and are planning an incredible range of in-person and virtual events for the 2021 fall season.

As with all events, all plans are subject to change, so keep a close eye on each venue's guidelines. Have your proof of vaccination ready, put on your mask, and support our amazing Bay Area dance community this season.

Ballet22's Carmen
Oakland's Ballet22 is committed to amplifying queer voices and stories and challenging gender stereotypes. This exciting double bill features two works by award-winning Spanish choreographer Ramón Oller, including a new take on his critically acclaimed Carmen with a cast of all male dancers and a world premiere featuring the artists of Ballet22 en pointe.
Sept. 3-5, Great Star Theater (Chinatown). www.greatstartheater.org

Joe Good Performance Company, A Time of Change
Choreographers Joe Goode, Melecio Estrella (Bandaloop) and Oysterknife (Chibueze Crouch and Gabriele Christian) present a site-specific world premiere featuring indoor and outdoor pop-up performances with music, monologues and dance/movement.
Sept. 1-19, locations throughout Haight-Ashbury. www.greatstartheater.org


Smuin Contemporary Ballet's 'Stabat Mater'  (Source:Chris Hardy)

Smuin Contemporary Ballet, Limitless Michael Smuin
Smuin Contemporary Ballet launches its new season with archived recordings of favorite ballets by its iconic founder, including Stabat Mater, Cyrano, Pinocchio and Zorro! Programs include interactive watch parties and live Q&As with Artistic Director Celia Fushille and special guests.
Sept. 9-Oct. 4, online. www.smuinballet.org

Push Dance Company, Emme Ya: Expedition
If you missed the in-person benefit performance of Emme Ya: Expedition in August (a traveling site-specific work around SoMa) you can get a peek at what transpired online. Plus enjoy interviews and a round-table discussion about forming BASE, a BIPOC sanctuary in SF.
Sept. 16-Oct. 16, online. www.pushdance.org

Hope Mohr Dance, Bacchae Before
Hope Mohr Dance returns to live, in-person performance with the world premiere of Bacchae Before, a dance theater project inspired by the tragedies of gender reveal parties featuring live performance and puppetry, and Bakkhai, a new version of Euripedes' The Bacchae.
Sept. 28-Oct. 2, Joe Goode Annex. www.hopemohr.org

ODC/Dance, Fall for Art Celebration
ODC/Dance opens its "50+" anniversary season in the natural beauty of McEvoy Ranch in Sonoma. Raise a glass by the lake, wander the gardens, and enjoy new choreography in site-specific performances by ODC. This program benefits the artists of ODC and ODC's Youth & Teen Program.
Sept. 26, McEvoy Ranch (Sonoma). www.odc.dance/ffa

Funsch Dance Experience, Epoch
In defiance of choreographer Doris Humphrey's warning that "all dances are too long," Epoch unfolds over a span of 12 hours. Featuring 15 dancers, one on-stage musician, and two choreographer-collaborators, Christy Funsch developed the piece over the course of two years, excavating ideas from her past, then amalgamating them with collaborators into an epic new event.
Oct. 2, in-person and live-streamed, ODC Theater. www.odc.dance


Flyaway Productions  (Source:RJ Muna)

Flyaway Productions, Meet Us Quickly With Your Mercy
With choreography by Jo Kreiterand and text by Rahsaan Thomas, who lives behind bars at San Quentin State Prison, Meet Us Quickly will take place on the exterior facades of CounterPulse as well as the Dahlia Hotel next door. All performances are free.
Oct. 14-17, in-person, outdoors, CounterPulse. www.counterpulse.org

San Francisco Dance Film Festival
Now in its 12th year, this year's SF Dance Film Festival will offer 123 dance films from 25 countries. The festival opens at Fort Mason Center with an imaginative new hybrid live action/animated Coppelia, features a cast of international ballet stars led by dancer and activist Michaela DePrince, who will be on hand for a pre-show Q&A. Other highlights include a full range of films by Bay Area dancers and choreographers, documentaries about Alvin Ailey and Bill T. Jones, and Dancing Queens, a tribute to the LGBTQI+ community.
Oct. 15-24, in-person and online. www.sfdancefilmfest.org

Chitresh Das Institute and ODC Theater, Mantram
Kathak artist and choreographer Charlotte Moraga's new work, Mantram, explores resonance through movement, music, percussion and vedanta, the world's oldest, unbroken oral tradition. Original score by renowned musician Alam Khan.
Oct.15-17, in-person at ODC Theater; October 28, livestream. www.odc.dance


SF Trolley Dances  (Source:Amani Photography)

San Francisco Trolley Dances
One of our city's favorite annual festivals of dance, this year's Trolley Dances starts in the Castro and travels to San Francisco's newly-coined neighborhood, the "East Cut" (Rincon Hill, Folsom Street, Transbay Terminal). Admission is free with the cost of a Muni ticket.
Oct. 16-17, in person outdoors at Rikki Streicher Field (Castro www.epiphanydance.org

Amy Seiwert's Imagery and ODC Theater, Sketch 11: Interrupted
If you missed in-person performances of Sketch: 11 in August, this digital broadcast showcases Imagery Artistic Director Amy Seiwert and Artistic Fellow Ben Needham-Wood's innovative new work in which they "interrupt" each other by exchanging active feedback during the creation process of their new ballets.
Oct. 22, online. www.asimagery.org

Kinetech Arts and ODC Theater, Passage
An immersive experience of performances, soundscapes and interactive installations, this hybrid performance will take place in ODC's Studio B with a virtual extension to Chicago. Audience members enter the space every 30 minutes and may remain for up to one hour. Each performance will be a unique experience.
Oct. 23-24, in-person and online, ODC Studio B. www.odc.dance


Soulskin Dance  (Source:Andy Mogg)

Doug Varone and Dancers
Award-winning choreographer Doug Varone's venerable New York City-based company returns to the Bay Area for a two-day run in San Jose. Tickets and programs details will be announced soon.
Oct. 28 & 29, Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose. www.hammertheatre.com

RAWdance and ODC Theater, Take 3
RAWdance offers two works created for the stage and re-envisioned for film. Shadow (part 1) is a multidisciplinary opus exploring identity through the murky world of our digital footprints. The Healer mines the ancient history, systems and beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Oct. 29-30, online. www.odc.dance

InkBoat, These are the Ones We Fell Among
Taking inspiration from the movements, myths and metaphors of endangered animal species, award-winning interdisciplinary artist Ann Carlson grapples with elegance in the face of extinction, looking for humor, grace, fear and fury.
Nov. 5-7, ODC Theater www.odc.dance

Oakland Ballet, Luna Mexicana
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with one of the Bay Area's most joyous, colorful events, a collaboration with Ballet Folklórico México Danza and Nahui Ehekatl & Co. Aztec dance company.
Nov. 5-6, Paramount Theatre, Oakland. www.oaklandballet.org


Ballet Hispánico  (Source:Paula Lobo)

Soulskin Dance, Closer and The Awakening
Where else but San Francisco? Closer is an introspective film created during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when intimacy and physical connection was seen as dangerous and even forbidden. Plus, The Awakening, a celebration and a prayer harkening back to the 1970s and the never-ending party that was Studio 54.
Nov. 5-6, in-person and online, Dance Mission Theater. www.dancemissiontheater.org

Ballet Hispánico
Cal Performances welcomes the legendary Ballet Hispánico in its Berkeley debut, with a program of Bay Area premieres by an intergenerational cadre of choreographers who have been part of the company's 50-year history.
Nov. 6, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley. www.calperformances.org

Caleb Teicher & Company, More Forever
Caleb Teicher, a founding member of Dorrance Dance and two-time Bessie Award winner, and his company make their Cal Performances debut with a performance that combines tap and Lindy Hop, performed in a 24-foot-square sandbox, with live piano and electronic score.
Dec. 5, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley. www.calperformances.org

Mark Morris Dance Group
For over 30 years, Mark Morris Dance Group has made Cal Performances its West Coast home. The company returns with Dancing Honeymoon, a frolic through pop songs past; Jenn and Spencer, set to Cowell's Suite for Violin and Piano, and V, an abstract exploration of color, form, and texture set to Schumann.
Dec. 17-19, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley. www.calperformances.org


San Francisco Ballet's 'Nutcracker'  

Holiday Dance Performances

Oakland Ballet, Graham Lustig's The Nutcracker
A vibrant community event, Oakland's Nutcracker celebrates the beauty and diversity of the East Bay with performers from the Oakland Ballet, Oakland Symphony and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir.
Dec. 18-19, Paramount Theatre, Oakland. www.oaklandballet.org

ODC/Dance, The Velveteen Rabbit
ODC's celebrated interpretation of The Velveteen Rabbit has toured nationally and is performed annually in the SF Bay Area, drawing audiences of all ages to experience the magic of this treasured story, told through dance.
Nov. 27-Dec. 12, Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA. www.odc.dance

San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker
Celebrate the return of America's third largest ballet company to the Opera House stage (and Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson's final season with SF Ballet) with Nutcracker. Set in San Francisco during the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition, SFB's lavish Nutcracker never fails to delight audiences of all ages.
Dec. 10-30, War Memorial Opera House. www.sfballet.org

Smuin Contemporary Ballet, The Christmas Ballet
Smuin's joyful holiday tradition returns to theaters throughout the Bay Area with its signature showcase of classical and contemporary dances. The charming medley of dances incorporates a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz and more. This year's edition will include two world premieres.
Nov. 19-December 26 in-person; Thanksgiving-Christmas, online. www.smuinballet.org

New Ballet, The San Jose Nutcracker & My Very First Nutcracker
New Ballet brings The San Jose Nutcracker to the historic California Theatre in downtown San Jose. The San Jose Nutcracker is set in turn-of-the-last-century San Jose and features historical references that highlight the Santa Clara valley as a birthplace of innovation. For the youngest audiences My Very First Nutcracker is a shorter one-act performance.
Dec. 18-22, California Theatre, San Jose. www.newballet.org

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