Dance diversity at Dance/USA

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco — June 28, 2012

I am continually amazed not just at the amount of dance being performed in the Bay Area but also at its diversity, which was showcased recently at a couple of performances produced in conjunction with the Dance/USA annual conference, held in San Francisco last week.

By the way I totally missed the boat with the Dance/USA conference: granted I am not a dance professional, but as a local dance geek-in-the-making I should’ve volunteered or networked my way into some of the sessions. Still, I followed the conference tweetage (and picked up a few interesting ideas to chew on) and made some great online connections. Hello, new followers!

As I was saying, the conference put together a couple of performances (each with a different program) highlighting Bay Area dance companies, and I went to the evening performance last Thursday. I loved the range of dance: not only ballet and modern, but the fortunate concurrence of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival facilitated plenty of ethnic dance numbers, including Native American, flamenco, West African, Hawaiian, and a fusion of South Indian classical and Japanese taiko, which I especially liked.

I’ve been to a few similar Bay Area-wide dance concerts in the past few months now (namely benefits like Dances from the Heart and Get in Front, at which I had first seen two of the Dance/USA numbers), and each has inspired me in my own dancing and renewed my pride in the local dance community. I hope they continue, ’cause I’ll keep coming back for more.

Notes: The dances I saw are listed below, some of which I’ve annotated with YouTube clips (not necessarily the same dancers). The program notes for the two performances are available in PDF (it’s in booklet format for printing, so the PDF layout is pages 4, 1 and 2, 3).

Dance/USA Conference Performance Series
Program 2 — June 28, 2012, 8 p.m.

Abhinaya Dance Company and San Jose Taiko
Choreographers: Rasika Kumar and Franco Imperial
Rhythm composition: Rasika Kumar, Mythili Kumar; Franco Imperial
South Indian melodic composition: Asha Ramesh
South Indian musicians: Mythili Kumar, Ganesh Ramanarayanan, Sruti Sarathy

Abhinaya Dance Company: Rasika Kumar, Yatrika Ajaya, Anjana Dasu, Nilufer Jain, Eesha Khare, Malavika Kumar, Rasika Kumar, Rekha Nagarajan, Sindhu Natarajan, Anu Ranganathan
San Jose Taiko: Rina Chang, Yurika Chiba, Alex Hudson, Franco Imperial, Adam Weiner

Pas de deux from Migration
Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Choreographer: Alonzo King
Composers: Pharoah Sanders, Leslie Stuck, Miguel Frasoni

Meredith Webster and Zachary Tang

Hoop Dance
Sewam Dance — Eddie Madril
Music: Marcos Madril

Eddie Madril

Alas al Viento (Wings to the Wind)
La Tania
Choreographer: La Tania
Music: Traditional
Musicians/Vocalists: Kina Mendez, Roberto Aguilar, Clara Rodriguez

La Tania

Excerpt from Light Moves
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
Director: Margaret Jenkins

Dancers/Collaborators: Margaret Cromwell, Chad Dawson, Kelly Del Rosario, Steffany Ferroni, Chinchin Hsu, Risa Larsen, Heidi Schweiker, Ryan T. Smith


Breaking of the Sande Bush
Diamano Coura West African Dance Company
Choreographers: Nimley Napla and Naomi Diouf
Music: Nimely Napla, Dr. Zak Diouf, Madiou Diouf, Darian LaFoucade
Drummers: George Ayikpa, Dr. Zakarya Diouf, Madiou Diouf, Mohammad Kouyate, Darian LaFoucade, Nimely Napla, Stephanie Wilson

LaTasha Bell, Marcus Cathey, Tamika Davis, Ibrahima Diouf, Kine Diouf, Naomi Diouf, Jamila Fuller, Diony Gamoso, Tamika Harris, Zion Harris, Patrice Henderson, LaDonna Higgins, Antoinette Holland, Dedeh Jaimah, Bid-Millah Loving, Christopher Scott, Liz LaFoucade

Pas de deux from Symphonic Dances
San Francisco Ballet
Choreographer: Edwaard Liang
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov

Dana Genshaft and Vitor Luiz

Interview with Edwaard Liang on creation of Symphonic Dances:

Speaking Ill of the Dead
Robert Moses’ Kin
Choreographer: Robert Moses
Music: Robert Moses and David Worm

Brendan Barthel, Crystaldawn Bell, Vincent Chavez, Norma Fong, Carly Johnson, Marte Madera, Dexandro Montalvo, Josie G. Sadan, Victor Talledos, Katherine Wells

‘Auhea Wale ‘Oe E Ka Ua Noe (The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face)
Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu
Choreographer: Patrick Makuakane
Music: Huihui / Ewan MacColl

Maile Apau-Norris, Nicole Arguello, Janet Auwae-McCoy, Heather Barrett, Kahala Bishaw, Kaila DeFries, Jenny Des Jarlais, Marleen Esquerra, Malia King, Marlo Lualemana, Edna Moran, Tanisha Reshke, Sylvia Tewes, Lola Laskey, Chris
Uesugi-Lauer, Princess Villegos, Heather Walton, Desiree Woodward-Lee, Lehua Zane, Linda Zane

2 Replies to “Dance diversity at Dance/USA”

  1. I was sorry to miss this dance-filled week in SF, so thank you for bringing pieces of it to us! Especially love the Margaret Jenkins montage. And your revealing juxtaposition of Edwaard Liang’s interview in which he speaks with such deep respect for and insight into the Rachmaninoff piece, vs the Alonzo King clip which displays his trademark disregard for music. This particular pas de deux from Migration closely resembles Jiří Kylián’s ironic masterpiece, Petite Mort, from 1991, without Kylián’s affinity for Mozart. King often makes adventurous choices in music, and he gets his dancers to make the most amazing shapes in space, but the musical linkages in his choreography are half-hearted, sporadic and tenuous, which can make it very hard to watch.

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