Dance Delights This Fall: Find Your Favorites and Discover What’s New

By Michelle Lynch Reynolds

September 1, 2013, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

The fall has always been one of my favorite times to go see dance. Before the rain starts, those warm fall days in the Bay Area are the best for some outdoor, site-specific dance. And then, with the temperature starting to drop and sun starting to set earlier, what better place to get cozy than a theater?

Back in July, we put a call out to Dancers’ Group members to peek into what’s being planned for this fall. We were excited to find out about 76 productions taking place from September through December, for a total of at least 189 unique performances, and we know that isn’t even all of them!

When looking through the list of productions, ranging from world premieres to visits from international artists, several commonalities started to emerge. This fall preview highlights a few of these, and much—but certainly not all—of the abundance of dance taking place over the next few months. Be sure to visit the Community Calendar on and the printed calendar within these pages and over the next three months for a full listing of events.

Sharing the Stage
Shared evenings and showcases continue being both fruitful artistic collaboration as well as a great production strategy; we’ve counted 27 productions taking place this fall that involve multiple choreographers’ works. Here are a few examples:

Sep 6-8: “Constants & Variables”
Dance Mission Theater, SF
“Constants & Variables” is an annual showcase of “exciting and eclectic…dance from some of the Bay Area’s most intriguing choreographers.” This year’s performance includes detour dance, CALI & CO, Yea Big Dance and more.

Sep 27-28, “Harvest: Fall Choreographers Showcase”
Dance Mission Theater, SF
Another fav from Dance Mission, “Harvest” is a non-juried showcase for emerging and established choreographers of all dance genres to show work or work-in-progress. As of writing this, not all artists have been announced, but it is bound to be a wide-ranging taste of all things dance.

Oct 20, “Sunday Salon”
The Sound Room, Oakland
I love the hook: “ten acts for ten bucks!” Each act gets five minutes to present a new work that excites them, and what you get could be multi-disciplinary, dance, theatre, original singer/songwriter tunes, bellydance, flamenco, Persian dance, etc. The “Sunday Salon” is organized by The Eve’s Elixir Project.

Nov 8-10, “WERK! Performance Festival”
Dance Mission Theater, SF
The “WERK! Performance Festival” is for and about choreographers who are seeking to take their work and their careers to a new level. This year’s cohort of contemporary choreographers includes Alyce Finwall, Samantha Giron, Timothy Rubel and Ashley Trottier.

Dec 4-5, Christian Burns & Hope Mohr
The Garage, SF
I’ll admit that this one may be stretching the definition of the “shared evening” towards a more collaborative artistic process. Veteran performers, Christian Burns and Hope Mohr, present “Metrics of Intimacy,” an improvisation involving observation, sensation, language, form and state.,

Through their residency programs and other programming, The Garage is presenting 12 productions, many of them shared
evenings featuring two choreographers’ works. Be sure to check their full fall line-up at

Visiting All-Stars
Going to see performances from artists who are visiting the area is a great way to see what’s happening elsewhere, and where the Bay Area dance community sits within larger conversations about dance. Below are some productions featuring out-of-towners—nationally and internationally—that will be taking place this fall:

Sep-Nov, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is presenting a multi-month, multi-disciplinary, multi-venue program to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. This includes an exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Sep 20-Nov 3), a site-specific work that the company will perform at CounterPULSE (Oct 8-9), a major new work that celebrates the 100th anniversary of “The Rite of Spring” at the Lam Research Theater at YBCA (Oct 11-13), and a myriad of lectures, conversations and films about the man and the company.

Oct 23-24, Nederlands Dans Theater
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
The “highly influential and stylistically innovative Nederlands Dans Theater” is once again visiting the glorious Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. “They are the world’s most magnificent dancers, a retina-shredding spectacle of passion and power” (Sunday Herald, Glasgow).

Oct 30-Nov 3, Rosanna Gamson/World Wide
ODC Theater, SF
LA-based Rosanna Gamson will be in residence at ODC Theater this fall to present “Layla Means Night,” a piece exploring the continuing struggle between men and women over trust and power, the unreliability of perception, and the problematic nature of translation.

Nov 1-2, Shanghai Ballet
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
For the company’s Berkeley debut, the ballet company will present what they call the Romeo and Juliet of Chinese folklore—a poignant love story that dates to the Tang Dynasty.

Nov-Dec, Festival Jérôme Bel
Stanford University, Palo Alto
Stanford is bringing to the Bay Area, “one of the coolest conceptual dance-makers working today:” Jérôme Bel. Over three one-night performances, Bel will present “The Show Must Go On” (Nov 13), “Cédric Andrieux” (Nov 18) and “Pichet Klunchun and Myself – A Film” (Dec 2).

Site Specific
From Dancers’ Group’s own Rotunda Dance Series, presented at San Francisco City Hall, to Lenora Lee’s interdisciplinary work presented as part of the de Young Museum’s Artist Fellows program, it’s always rejuvenating to see dance placed within other spaces. Here are a few examples of dance taking place outside of theaters this fall:

Sep 29, SoCo Dance Theater
Downtown Petaluma
This dance/music “parade” will feature the Hubbub Club Marching Band, students from local elementary, high school and Sonoma State University, as well as SoCo Dance Theater performers. The route winds in and out of downtown streets, ending at Walnut Park. The entire event is free.

Oct 19-20, San Francisco Trolley Dances
I remember attending my first Trolley Dances nearly a decade ago; as a newcomer to San Francisco, it was a great way to explore new parts of the city. This year is Trolley Dances’ 10th Anniversary and features performances by San Diego Dance Theater with Epiphany Productions, Shinichi Iova-Koga | inkBoat, Lizz Roman & Dancers and Tezkatlipoka Aztek Dance and Drum. There are 12 tours over the weekend, all of them free.

Nov 8, Mpowerdance Company
Chrissy Field, SF
Amidst the Mark Di Suvero scuptures at Chrissy Field, Mpowerdance Company will present a free outdoor wind lab that explores the power of communication by means of dance performance, art, nature and non-conforming audience interaction.

Staff Picks
This last grouping represents a small selection of performances that didn’t fit neatly into one of the previous categories and yet speak to the range of dance work being offered up. There were many more performances than we could list, so these are but a few.

Sep 6-7, Kinetech
Kinetech is a group of performers, visual artists, scientists and technology workers who meet weekly to explore the relationship between dance, science and technology. In “4See” and “In the Night,” the members present an evening of dance and visual art on the theme of surveillance.

Sep 13-22, EmSpace Dance
CounterPULSE, SF
“Monkey Gone to Heaven” is a dance theater show about primates and prayer, considering: “doubt and faith and our primate ancestors… how to pray… a transcendent encounter with a gorilla… a girl who loses her tail… and much more about human animals seeking connection.”

Oct 1-5, Dana Lawton Dances
Ashby Stage, Berkeley
Dana Lawton will be premiering a full evening work, “Beyond This Moment,” that is the culmination of a two-year collaboration with her dancers. The piece explores time, memory and loss through the personal stories of her dancers.

Oct 4-12, Paufve Dance
Hillside Swedenborgian Community Church, El Cerrito
“Soil” is a quintet of new and revised solo works performed by Randee Paufve, who makes her return to the solo for that launched her career. The solos represent the choreography of Paufve, the late Della Davidson, New York City-based Kate Weare and Gregg Bielemeier of Portland, Oregon.

Oct 26-27, Chitresh Das Dance Company
Z Space, SF
The Chitresh Das Dance Company will perform original works of traditional Indian Kathak dance in their 2013 Home Season.

Oct 27-Nov 17, Dandelion Dancetheater’s BANDELION
CounterPULSE, SF
Beware the Band of Lions is a part of Bandelion’s “Experiments in Performance Intimacy” and will be at CounterPULSE over four Sundays. They also have a great hook: “Existing somewhere in between a band gig, avant garde recital, dance/theater choose your-own-adventure and an in depth lecture-demonstration…”

Nov 30-Dec 1, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, Oakland
Through his company, choreographer Diamano Cuora continually tries to bring his audiences both the old and new of dance from the African continent. This year’s home season shows the cultures of West Africa and how they connect to other parts of Africa through the Bantu ethnic group that traveled from North Africa, through the West and Center, finally ending in the South.

Dec 6-7, MidToWest Dance Collective
NOHspace, SF
MidToWest Dance Collective is a new entity made up of four artists who completed the MFA program in dance at the University of Iowa and are now living and working in the Bay Area. They say that while they have a share educational lineage, “their subjects and treatment run the gamut.”

And, as December continues, you’ll be able to find an inspiring and holiday-cheer-making array of Nutcrackers and other holiday shows, for example World Dance Fusion’s “The Jewish Nutracker” or Mark Foehringer’s perennial family performance, “Nutcracker Sweets.”

From wild to traditional, multi-disciplinary to form focused conceptual to emotional, this fall promises to offer an extraordinary amount of, quite simply, very good dance. I hope to see you in a theater (or park, or sidewalk, or church) soon!

Find up-to-date community calendar information available at

This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of In Dance.

Michelle Lynch Reynolds is Program Director at Dancers’ Group, is part of the leadership group of San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals and is a member of Trio, a loosely London-based experimental performance collective.