Archive | Community

Winter Studio Rental Special

Mon-Fri beginning Jan 1 – Mar 31, 10am – 3:30pm
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley

Cost: $16
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Winter Studio Rental Special – Daytime Discount. Available weekdays 10am-3:30pm. Call to book today!

Contact:, 510-654-5921

tiny little get down

Fri, Jan 25, 7:30pm
CounterPulse, SF
Free ($5 donation at the door)

Need to let off a little steam? tinypistol’s Maurya Kerr and little seismic dance company’s Katie Faulkner invite you to the first tiny little get down of the new year. Founded in 2017, the tiny little get down is a dance party for people who love to dance and don’t want to have to go to a club and look cool doing it.

Mãhealani Uchiyama Day in Berkeley!

Tue, Jan 22, 6pm
City Council Chambers, Berkeley, Free

The City of Berkeley will honor dancer, musician, author and teacher Mãhealani Uchiyama as Artist of the Month in a ceremony that will also include a short performance from her company, Hãlau Ka Ua Tuahine.

Mãhealani Uchiyama, is a recognized expert in Polynesian performing arts and is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and recording artist. An advocate for cultural understanding, she is the founder and director of the Mãhea Uchiyama Center for International Dance in Berkeley, California, the creator and director of the annual Kãpili Polynesian Dance and Music Workshops and is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. She authored the Haumãna Hula Handbook for students of Hawaiian Dance (Penguin Random House, 2016). Her CD “A Walk by the Sea” has been awarded the 2007 Hawai’i Music Award for Best World Music Album.

The ceremony will take place at City Council Chambers at 2020 Bonar Street in the School Board Building. (The entrance of the building is on Addison Street.)

Call for Volunteers – Hope Mohr Dance’s Benefit for Artist Pay

Fri, Jan 25, 5-10pm
Southern Exposure Gallery, SF

Hope Mohr Dance is seeking volunteers for Artists First: HMD’s Annual Benefit for Artist Pay.

The evening includes the premiere of Leaving the Atocha Station, Hope Mohr’s dance theater adaptation of the acclaimed Ben Lerner novel, plus food by Chef Steven Levine, Honig wines, Fort Point beer, silent and live auctions. All proceeds from the event support artists pay, 60 percent of HMD’s annual budget.

Volunteers will be needed to facilitate the event from 5-10pm. Get dressed up, see a show, and help make it possible for artists to stay and thrive in the Bay Area!

Contact Special Events Coordinator, Robyn Gerbaz,

Alonzo King LINES Ballet travels to Paris to commemorate the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Alonzo King LINES Ballet, the San Francisco-based, internationally celebrated contemporary ballet company, is pleased to announce it has been selected as one of the dance companies to perform at Wake of Humanity, a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This historic event takes place at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, December 10, 2018.

Seven decades ago, 48 nations came together at the Palais de Chaillot to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone document affirmed an individual’s rights. The Declaration was the first step in the process of formulating the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966, and came into force in 1976.

To commemorate this anniversary and reaffirm the values set forth by the Declaration, Alonzo King LINES Ballet will perform an excerpt of King’s groundbreaking work, Writing Ground. Company dancers Adji Cissoko, Babatunji, Robb Beresford, Michael Montgomery and Shuaib Elhassan will perform.

“We are incredibly honored that LINES Ballet has been invited to participate in the performances surrounding the 70th Anniversary commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights,” says Alonzo King. “The belief in human rights is at the core of our beliefs in all that we make and do at LINES.”

Wake of Humanity, directed by Anne-Laure Liégois, will also include works by artists Isabelle Adjani, Taigue Ahmed, Marcia Barcellos, Fabrice Bwabulamutima, Carolyn Carlson, Francois Chaignaud, Denis Guénoun, Anne-Laure Liégeois, Phia Ménard, Dominique Mercy, Mathilde Monnier, Wajdi Mouawad, Ohad Naharin, Angelin Preljocaj, Lia Rodrigues, Eric Ruf, Kirill Serebrennikov, and others. More information here.

While in Paris, Alonzo King will take part in Art Lab, a dialogue on human rights with artists from around the world at the UNESCO Headquarters on December 11, 2018. Moderated by journalist Audrey Pulvar, the event gives the floor to international artists to present their artistic research and describe their personal journey, especially as it pertains to human rights.More information about Art Lab is available here.

In addition, LINES Ballet dancers participated in the United Nation’s Stand Up 4 Human Rights’ online video Campaign leading up the 70thAnniversary of the Declaration. Each dancer recorded reading one of the 30 articles from the Declaration. The series of videos and others from people around the world are available here.

About Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Since 1982, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has collaborated with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the word to create performances that alter the way we look at ballet today. The Company is guided by a unique artistic vision that adheres to the classical form-the linear, mathematical and geometrical principles that are deeply rooted in the preexisting East-West continuum. LINES Ballet’s spring and fall home seasons and global tours share this vision of transformative, revelatory dance with 40,000+ audience members worldwide every year. It has been featured at venues such as the Venice Biennale, Monaco Dance Forum, Maison de la Dance de Lyon, the Edinburgh International Festival, Montpellier Danse, the Wolfsburg Festival, the Holland Dance Festival, and most recently Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris.

Alonzo King has been honored by the dance world’s most prestigious institutions for his impact on the cultural fabric of the company’s home in San Francisco, as well as nationally and internationally for over more than three decades. Named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center in 2005, King is the recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation Artist Award, the NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship, the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance, the US Artist Award in Dance, and the National Dance Project’s Residency and Touring Awards. King has works in the repertories of San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, among others.

“Alonzo King is one of the few ballet choreographers working today who is genuinely thinking and asking his dancers to think, too. Who would have thought that ballet-so historically Western, hierarchical, and white-could be renewed by an African American child of the civil rights movement whose aesthetic vision and inquiring mind are pushing it out of its provincial state into the world” (Jennifer Homans, The New Republic).

KQED: Bay Brilliant: Amara Tabor-Smith

Dancer with blue scarf on rock

The politically charged dancer-choreographer discusses her ‘afro-futurist conjecture art.’ (Jean Melesaine)

One evening last March, dozens of black women sat in a circle in a downtown Oakland gallery to be blessed and encouraged to rest. Some wept, while others deeply exhaled. Onlookers hummed in unison. Then the women went to a private boarding house outfitted for further relaxation.

The scene was one part of “Black Women Dreaming: A Ritual Rest,” the 11th “episode” in multi-site performance series House/Full of BlackWomen, which Ellen Sebastian Chang created with local dancer-choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith. The series, intended to address displacement, well-being, and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland, exemplifies what Smith calls her politically pointed, spiritually infused “afro-futurist conjecture art.”

Smith, 53, leads Deep Waters Dance Theater, a performance art ensemble centering ritual and folklore in its examination of issues facing people of color and the environment. In recent years, the Oakland artist and UC Berkeley lecturer’s work has increasingly foregrounded her spiritual practice as a Yoruba priest.

Read on as Tabor-Smith discusses collaboration as cultivation, preferring grocery stores to dance studios, and the enduring influence of her early mentor and teacher, the late dancer-choreographer Ed Mock.

How was House/Full of BlackWomen like or unlike any other project in your career?

First what I’ll say is that it isn’t behind me. It moved from being a two-year project to a five-year project. Whether due to grants, funding, or project goals, as artists we’re often dictated by the calendar, the clock. I really wanted to give myself and the women I would be collaborating with time to explore, discover, to be in process, and to cultivate larger community and trust.

The more that I got to know folks, and the issues, and delved deeper into the issues facing black women, not just myself and collaborators, but a larger community of black women, the more I realized, “Oh, this is gonna take time.” I say “cultivate” and not “build” because cultivation, like farming, like anything, needs attention, needs time, and needs seasons. My work is rooted in ritual, and something doesn’t become ritual without time, and without practice and dedication.

To a lot of artists, the prospect of a five- or even two-year project probably sounds luxurious. What advice do you have for artists attempting projects of that scope?

It’s about cultivating relationships, and that directly contradicts the ways we get socialized as artists, where we’re in competition with each other for resources, and therefore we’re alienated from each other. We’ll talk about wanting to make connection, but we’re also being really guarded because we’re under this idea of there’s only a few resources for a few people. But if we say, “No, it’s more important that I take time with this work,” and believe in it—it may not be easy, and the hustle is the hustle, but you help shift the culture that says five years is luxurious.

Amara Tabor Smith photo by Jean Melesaine

You grew up in San Francisco. Can you talk about your early life, and how you discovered dance and choreography?

I was born and raised in San Francisco. I started dancing as a teenager, a really young teenager. I studied with a very beloved dance figure whose name was Ed Mock. I’ve always credited him for why I became a dancer and dance maker. Ed was this phenomenal dancer, improviser, and really a Griot movement artist. I would say he raised me. I always say he was like my father in dance.

I remember walking into his studio, which was on 32 Page Street, and going into this room full of dancers all stretching on the floor—brick wall, wood floor—and I felt magic in the room. Then when he walked into the room to start class, I had this experience where, just being in his presence, I felt like I was seeing God. That’s how I felt, and I was never one to idolize anyone.

Then I started studying with him. I was in awe of him. I was afraid of him. I had such reverence and respect for him. The way that he would conjure the spirit of a character that he was dancing was much more the way of an improviser. Even though he choreographed movement on his dancers, he never choreographed movement for himself. Those two things really stuck with me.

Your series conjuring Ed Mock gave his legacy a lot more visibility, and it inspired Brontez Purnell to continue this project of honoring and remembering him. What would you say to other artists who’d like their work to similarly highlight secret histories of local culture?

That’s such an interesting question. I would say listen to the streets. If you’re not from the Bay, get to know people who’ve been here. Ask yourself why. So there’s a hidden history in San Francisco—what is it about that history that calls you? What is it about that energy that’s calling you? Listen to that, and be guided by it. Making that piece for Ed was the first time that I integrated my spiritual practice more profoundly into my artwork. It was really about listening. I prayed to Ed, and I said, “Tell me the piece you want me to make.” I just listened, and I trusted.

So I say that there are the obvious histories that will be in the forefront, that have to do with the people that had more visibility, for whatever reason. But I say for someone who really wants to look at the hidden history, listen. Go to the places. Go to the places and scratch the surface. And give yourself time that’s not just about the research where you go into the libraries and you go into the archives, but also when you go sit in the cafes where said histories took place, or where said people visited. If you go and sit in with the people and listen to the concrete, they’ll talk.

You mentioned your spiritual practice—how did you begin incorporating that into your work, particularly the Yoruba tradition?

I am a priest in the Yoruba tradition, and my spiritual practice has always been the underpinning of my work. Icons and figures have always presented themselves in my work, but more subversively, not necessarily on the surface. Partly that was because I felt like I didn’t want my spirituality to be seen as a dogma guiding my art. I wanted to keep that separate, and did so for a long time. But that felt disingenuous. There came a point where I felt like there was something missing. I didn’t know what it was, and then the opportunity came to make the piece for Ed.

I remember thinking, “You know, if I’m gonna do this, I really need to conjure him. And If I’m gonna conjure him, I’ve gotta use techniques that I use in my spiritual practice, which are about sitting with the dead.” You know, being in what you might call a séance. Kind of having rehearsals function as a kind of séance, and that requires that the performers participate. It was like I recognized through the making of the work that this was the piece that was missing in my work all these years, the need to incorporate spiritual ritual more prominently in my work.

It sounds like you’re saying there was sort of a stigma attached to spiritually centered art.

Totally. It’s only been recently that people who are actually engaging in ritual in their art-making practices have become more accepted. Before, people would be like, “What? What are you doing?” And there would be questions about this idea of, again, it coming from a sort of stereotypical Christian perspective of putting spirituality in your work, meaning that it’s religious.

A lot of your work is site-specific or outdoors. How and why did you get interested in moving dance away from the theater and the stage?

I feel more at home in environments outside of the theater. It’s not that I don’t make work in the theater at all, but I feel like the site work has given me more inspiration. Part of it is that my approach to site-based work is that your site is a character. Your site is a part of the story, is a character, an active environment. So I don’t use a street as if it’s a stage. It’s a collaborator.

I can go into a studio to make choreography and feel completely blank. Whereas I can be in the aisle of a supermarket and be more inspired to move my body because I’m stimulated by the energies, the people, the vegetables, the story that’s in that space. That’s just what feeds me.

To circle back to House/Full of BlackWomen, what’s next for that project?

Part of the reason that I wanted to continue this work is that we do ritual processions, and the procession work is rooted in sort of shifting the vibration of the topics that we are dealing with: displacement and the sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland. I’m less interested in educating people through the work, and more in shifting the vibration of the issues.

One of the ways we’ve done that is to do ritual processions down the streets of Oakland. Each time we’ve done one there’s been a shift. The hope is that the women who’ve been collaborating on the processions will continue them. To think of founding a society of black women who are dedicated to these processions to end trafficking and displacement, it becomes ritual, a neo-folk tradition. What might it look like for these processions to occur in Oakland for 30, 40, 100 years?

Five Trailblazing Black Dance Companies Awarded Half Million Dollars

The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) has awarded each of its five (5) founding member companies — Cleo Parker Robinson Dance; Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; Lula Washington Dance Theatre; and The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) — $100,000 each in unrestricted grants, totaling a half million dollars, to be applied to general operating expenses. IABD awarded its IMPACT 100 grants during its inaugural financial and organizational health program, MOVE: Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance, which was generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Book: Can You See Me Flying? Memoir of an Aerial Dance Pioneer

Can You See Me Flying? Memoir of an Aerial Dance Pioneer
by Terry Sendgraff

Terry Sendgraff has been a prominent figure in the Bay Area dance community since 1975. She consistently developed innovative and exciting new ways to dance and was the first to discover the movement vocabulary possible when integrating low flying trapezes with movement improvisation. Terry’s career as a performer, choreographer, and master teacher spanned five decades. Her early experimental and improvisational performances blended spontaneity and creativity. In “Year of Sundays,” Terry performed for 52 consecutive Sundays. She also founded and directed Fly By Nite, a women’s trapeze troupe; the Motivity Company; Women Walking Tall, a women’s stilt dancing project, and the Motivity Aerial Dancers. Her work was featured as part of the National Aerial Dance Festival in Colorado, the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, and Women Who Fly in San Francisco.

Terry has influenced several generations of dancers who now include aerial choreography in a variety of dance genres. She is recognized nationally as a pioneer of the form now known as aerial dance. She is credited with the introduction of the single point trapeze that expanded aerial movement possibilities. In Terry’s quest to “dance my own dance,” she has mentored hundreds of students toward that same goal. Her uniqueness and personal style have impacted all those who have worked with her.

In her newly published memoir, Can You See Me Flying? Memoir of an Aerial Dance Pioneer, Terry recounts the twists and turns of her life and career. Combining gymnastics, dance, and improvisation, Terry created performance art on trapezes, bungees, slings, stilts, a bicycle, and a child’s bed. Through her innovative teaching, performing, and choreography, Terry broadened the definition of dance.

Available on Amazon –

New Funding Opportunities for Latino Artists and Organizations in 2019

As the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) approaches its 30th anniversary in May 2019, it announces the latest round of grant opportunities for Latino artists and arts organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico. Grants will support projects taking place in 2019, and applications are due Thursday, September 6, 2018.

The NALAC Fund for the Arts is the only national grant program intentionally investing in Latinx artists and nonprofit arts organizations in the United States. (Latinx is a gender-neutral term increasingly used in lieu of Latino or Latina). Eligible artists and organizations are invited to apply for NFA Artist and NFA Organization Grants ranging from $5,000-$10,000 to create new work or build their capacity.

The Mentorship Award has been reconfigured as a $25,000 grant supporting intergenerational or peer to peer mentorship between artists and recognizes excellence and mastery of skill. Recent grantees of the Mentorship Award (formerly known as the Master Artist Grant) include composer Gabriela Lena Frank, bombero Jesús Manuel Cepeda Brenes, visual artist Judy Baca, and media artist John Jota Leaños.

This will mark the second year of the Adán Medrano Legacy Award in Film, a $10,000 grant award supporting emerging video or filmmakers. The first-ever awardee for this prize was André Perez with the the project America in Transition, a documentary series focusing on the social dimensions of trans identity for people of color in the United States. The award’s namesake is Adán Medrano who founded the San Antonio CineFestival in 1976, the first and longest-running Latino film festival in the USA.

Artists in San Antonio may continue to apply for the NFA San Antonio Artist Grant ($5,400) which has invested $81,000 in 15 artist projects over the last three years thanks to a partnership with the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture.

Upcoming opportunities scheduled to launch in August 2018 include the NFA Puerto Rico Artist Grant to support artists residing in Puerto Rico, the NFA Transnational Travel Award supported by Southwest Airlines, and NALAC Pods, a new funding initiative to support actions that organize, mobilize or advocate for Latinx arts.

To date, NALAC has awarded over 500 grants, reflecting an investment of $2.5 million across 35 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and México.

Learn more about last year’s grantees or access this year’s downloadable grant guidelines at

The 13th NALAC Fund for the Arts grant program is made possible in part by a major multi-year commitment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as the Ford Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, the Donor Collaborative of the Adán Medrano Legacy Award, individual donors, members, and volunteers.

NDP’S Community Engagement Fund Makes First Round of Awards

NDP is excited to announce the first recipients of the National Dance Project’s new Community Engagement Fund!

This pilot will provide supplementary grants to five selected artists who received NDP Production Grant funding and who either have a strong community engagement practice but need additional resources to cover the true costs of working extensively in a new community while on tour or who demonstrate a commitment to developing a community engagement practice while on tour. This initiative is among the outcomes resulting from the 2016 report by Metris Arts Consulting, Moving Dance Forward: NEFA’s National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends.

Each of the following NDP Production Grantees has been awarded an additional $4,000 to support community engagement aspects of their projects:

Flyaway Productions
Kimberly Bartosik/daela
Kinetic Light
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre
Rosy Simas Danse

During this pilot of the fund, NDP will partner with RMC Research to evaluate the usefulness and impact of the fund in supporting the community engagement practices and growth of these artists. NDP looks forward to sharing the outcomes from this evaluation as well as the learnings from each project with the field in the years to come.

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