It’s an exceptional time to be working as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer, administrator, technician, or in one of the many businesses that support dance, because dance is flourishing in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the United States—and I hope throughout the world. Everybody wants to dance and also loves seeing it. How’s that for some optimism to start the New Year? It’s true, the field of dance is booming and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon; no not ever, and with the growth of all things dance, so are audiences. It’s not as if any of us would stop making dances even if there were a decline in attendance. We are in this game not because of some business plan that lays out a healthy financial bottom line. We each started our dance dreams because of an inspirational moment around the moving body, either visualized or experienced, or both. Dance companies are born from the many visions of putting forth engaging ideas seeded from tradition, form, sensation, beauty, identity, theory, access, equality, and even politics.
Speaking of growth, over the past months I have seen 11 new dance companies apply to Dancers’ Group’s fiscal sponsorship program. Since we are currently sponsoring 120 companies, festivals and education projects, this speaks to the emergent wealth of dance in our region—who wouldn’t want to live here and make dance?
In January, the much-loved auditions that take place to be part of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival return after a year’s hiatus. Taking place in Berkeley and San Francisco, and for an admission price of only $10—children under 12 are admitted free—audiences are treated to performances by a incredible range of dance companies that are a spark of incredible heritage and dance traditions. I’ve learned that over a third of the companies that have registered to audition this year is companies auditioning for the first time for the festival—that’s impressive.
At 92, Anna Halprin continues to serve as our earth goddess of dance and never one to slow down, she will be bringing back her seminal work, Parades and Changes, to the Berkeley Art Museum, the exact location where forty years ago, the dance opened the venerable museum. Bitter sweetly, Parades and Changes will be staged there for the last time in February, as part of a larger exhibit, entitled Matrix 246. Ann Murphy interviews Halprin to learn about the work’s storied history, which includes an anecdote about a warrant issued for Anna’s arrest.
Julie Potter contributes to our double issue with a piece on the return of Bebe Miller to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, that will showcase her latest work, A History, centering on the relationship between company members Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones over a 10-year period.
Margaret Jenkins’s contributions to the dance scene continue to pack a wallop with her sophisticated dances, teaching and now, the many mentorship programs she has developed, all to be celebrated this year marking the company’s 40th anniversary.
What do cloggers and gaga and sharks have in common? I’m not sure, but they are featured inside this issue and are part of the amazing artists that continue to mark the Bay Area as one of the best places to make and see dance. Turn the page to meet these artists and discover more about their teaching and projects.
Throughout 2013, find time to enjoy and celebrate life’s wonderful moments—the ones that make you laugh, and cry, and possibly inform your work—but most importantly, have some exceptional fun.