To describe 2nd Sundays, I often use our tag line: A free salon where artists share work and dialogue with the audience and fellow artists. After watching the program grow over the past 4 years, I’ve realized this statement doesn’t capture that 2nd Sundays is so much more than a conversation.
The brainchild of Wayne Hazzard and Jessica Robinson Love, over 100 artists have presented work for 2nd Sundays since the first season began in September 2006. From the onset, 2nd Sundays has provided choreographers a space for constructive feedback on snippets of new or reworked dances. And while audience sizes for this free program can ebb and flow, the conversation consistently remains deeply invested.
Thoughtfully facilitated by Jesse Hewit, the discussion that springs from watching these “works-in progress” is a blast. There’s always a range of audience perspectives – often contradictory – which keeps the conversation focused on possibilities, rather than “answers.” And while some viewers might not have a full understanding of the nuances of a dance (often the case when there are multiple genres presented on the same afternoon), everyone is there to support the creative process.
As I’ve watched the program evolve each season, 2nd Sundays has also become a space to view the struggles and challenges that choreographers wrangle with. The questions and responses from fellow choreographers are quite illuminating, and there’s something really wonderful about having that choreographic dialogue in the public arena.
As Jesse puts it, “we make work to be experienced by others, and yet there seems to be a sacredness…or maybe elusive quality to the way we then discuss it as a community. Often things are filed as successful or unsuccessful, and it’s kind of a dead end for the conversations that could be taking place. There’s something massively useful and subjectifying about having a room of people talk thoughtfully and in a structured way about what you make. It’s not like reviews. It’s not like critical feedback from your mentors. It’s not like praise from your friends. It’s public, and as a discussion, it doesn’t have an agenda other than to look closely and respond. Which is rare.”
This month we’re closing the season with three wonderful artists: Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Iu-Hui Chua, and Megan Finlay (Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company). With Kathak, experimental dance/theatre and Shakespeare on the plate, I’m eager to see where the next conversation will lead.
Sunday, May 9
CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St., SF
The next deadline to apply for the 2nd Sundays program is May 31, 2010. Proposals are for the Fall Series 2010 (Sep-Dec).
This article appeared in the May 2010 issue of In Dance.