Dance Discourse Project

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The Dance Discourse Project is a far reaching, far ranging, and ambitious project that aims to articulate in a cohesive and coherent way, from the participants themselves, what is happening in contemporary dance in the Bay Area and beyond. This on-going series of artist-driven discussions is organized by Mary Armentrout and co-produced by Dancers’ Group and CounterPULSE.

Coming up:

Dance Discourse Project #19:
Re-imagining Our Cultural Commons: Making Spaces for Dance
Tue, Aug 12, 7:30pm
[freespace], 1011 Market St, SF

In a special Dance Discourse Project, “Re-imagining our Cultural Commons: Making Spaces for Dance” hosted at [freespace] in San Francisco, CounterPulse and Dancers’ Group invite the public into a discussion of the tactics, modes and imagination that live performance artists and organizations are using to adapt to and access space in a rapidly changing Bay Area. The conversation will be moderated by Dancers’ Group’s Michelle Lynch Reynolds along with panelists Kay Cheng, Festival Program Manager of the Market Street Prototyping Festival; Ilana Lipsett, co-founder of [freespace] in San Francisco; Julie Phelps, Program Director at CounterPulse; and Olive Blackburn, Elizabeth McSurdy and Maryanna Lachman, collaborating members of Oakland’s SALTA. Together, the panelists will investigate innovative—oftentimes radical—strategies for providing artists space for researching, developing and presenting performance work.

Download the press release

Panelists Biographies

Kay Cheng is a LEED accredited planner/urban designer at the San Francisco Planning Department. She serves as a project manager for the City Design Group and is currently spearheading the Market Street Prototyping Festival effort. Combining previous experience working at New York City Planning, landscape architecture, architecture and transportation planning firms Kay has experience on a wide scope of private and public projects. Kay holds a Master’s of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning and minor in Digital Design from the University of California Riverside.

Ilana Lipsett is a community mapper and co-founder of [freespace], a participatory cultural and arts center that started in San Francisco. She has worked with non-profits, tech companies, and the city of San Francisco, bringing people from different backgrounds together to make the community stronger – through events and pop-ups. A seasoned community organizer, she spent five years in Washington, DC organizing low-wage workers and running successful campaigns at local, state and federal levels. She holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School, and she is passionate about building community in urban settings and providing space and tools for people to re-imagine their cities.

SALTA is a collective of seven dancers who curate a free monthly mobile performance series in Oakland. SALTA is in ongoing conversation with other makers, watchers, spaces, curators and collectives. They approach curation as an experiment in: dancers making space for dance to happen, trying new formats of presenting and thinking about performance, supporting people to try things out, and being open to surprises. Other projects include establishing a touring network, writing about dance, and opening a presenting, research, and artist-in-residence space called the Omni. They are invested in feminism, collaboration and dance parties.

Julie Phelps is the Program Director at CounterPulse. She joined the CounterPulse staff in July of 2008 after receiving a BA in psychology from Macalester College (St. Paul) and working as an independent producer and curator. As Program Director of this multi-faceted organization Julie preserves an intentional imprecision and multi-missioned agenda, maintaining a hybrid life as a producer/curator/programmer/community activist. As part of her work at CounterPulse Julie has led the design and implementation of numerous innovative programs and initiatives including moving from a rental house to all curated programming, launching community engagement programming with low income populations, and instigating international and national exchange projects and presentations. In addition to her work at CounterPulse, she has toured extensively nationally and internationally as a dramaturg and performer with Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence (a dance about the economy). She also had the honor of performing with legendary Meg Stewart in her work Auf Den Tisch.


Past Discussions

#1. Bay Area Dance: Where Are We Now?

#2. Investigating the Post Multi-Culturalism Landscape

#3. Dancers Debate the Body Politic

#4. Media, Technology and Performance

#5. Writing About Dance

#6. Site-Specific Dance in the Bay Area

#7. Dancing Diaspora

#8. Dance in Pop Culture

#9. Dance and Somatics in the Bay Area

#10. Are we trapped in a static presenting model?

#11. Food and Dance on Stage Together

#12. Shifting Ground: Examining the complex terrain at the intersection of dance and aging

#13. Dancing in the Museum

#14. SMALL in the Bay Area

#15. Street Dance

#16: Judith Butler on Gender and Performativity

#17. Sex and Performance in the Bay Area

#18. Exploring Choreographic Thinking

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