Welcome, Mar 2010

By Wayne Hazzard


Creating space for dance—whether real or imagined—is what makes a dance a dance. This is a timeless theme in our community, whether the tradition comes from the Judson via Halprin era of the 1960s, or passed from guru to guru. Where might the next expansionistic areas for dance enter this conversation?

Technology would seem a likely, albeit controversial, place for discovery. With the growing number of dance images on the internet, does YouTube serve as a frame for dance that mirrors previous ideals of the proscenium arch? Does the confined and specific display of dance—in terms of time, space and dynamics—on programs like So You Think You Can Dance invite an opening for all movement styles to be explored? Will more hybridized, co-opted and yet to be popularized dance styles inevitably follow? Ultimately, does it matter a dance’s length, or where it is viewed? Can 15 seconds be perfect choreography? Is 90 minutes a more realized work? It might be that patience reveals each as uniquely complex and perfect for that artist’s vision. Please join the conversation that will explore these questions, and more, at the upcoming Dance Discourse Project #8 (details to the left).

Recently, Sonsheree Giles’ performance of a section of Sara Kraft’s work Hyper Real, at 2nd Sundays, transfixed me, with it slyly transporting me to a time without time. Giles’ seemingly simple movement, performed in very little space, took on the vast; her deft genius allowing me to suspend my “monkey-brain,” with each gesture my attention focused on the exquisite, moving landscape of her body. Center stage, Giles transformed to a mythic giant representing a human cipher that was, both ancient, modern and robotic, imbued with a secret meaning to be divulged to those who wait. I have already made time to see the completed work this month at the Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Check out the other 30-plus, space-grabbing performances featured in the March calendar.

My not-so-subtle space theme embraces a host of articles that illuminate our extensive dance communities. The paradox of the economic times can be seen in the gold-rush like expansions of dance spaces; be it ODC’s soon-opened theater, KUNST-STOFF’s mid-Market home, RoCo’s studio in Marin or Zambelata’s 5,600 sq. foot, multi-use space in the Mission. In addition to these new and expanded homes for dance, the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley is celebrating a one-year anniversary, Joe Goode’s company is looking for digs, and Intersection for the Arts will soon spread out into a new building. And even after all of these spaces are up and running we will still need more space to create our work.

Premiering this month, Greta Shoenberg’s expanded Motion Pictures screenings become the more boldly titled, San Francisco Dance Film Festival, a movement-focused film fest that takes place at the Ninth Street Media Center and promises to promote a variety of artistic ideas and dance notions.

Often, my brain, explores a host of ideas of what I think a dance should be, needs to be, for me to see it as successful. I am trying to reset this bias and embrace each dance, in its truth. To that end, I plan to adopt the Na’vi saying and repeat it to myself when a performance begins: I See You.

May we quiet the noise and take pleasure in what we see. Keep it real.

This article appeared in the March 2010 issue of In Dance.

Wayne Hazzard is a native Californian and as a co-founder is proud to continue his work with the Bay Area dance community as the executive director of Dancers’ Group. Hazzard is a leader in the service field who is known for his work with fiscal sponsorship and on new program development. Hazzard had a distinguished 20-year career performing the works of many notable choreographers including Ed Mock, June Watanabe, Emily Keeler, Aaron Osborne, Joe Goode and Margaret Jenkins. Coinciding with his life as a dancer, Hazzard has and continues to work as an advocate for dance.