New View: Kevin Jenkins

By Dancers' Group

7. Kevin Jenkins
Kevin Jenkins / Photo by Elizabeth Tan

Kevin Jenkins is a freelance choreographer whose work has been performed by Garage Contemporary Ballet, Convergence Ballet, Terpsicore Dance Company, Mirable Ballet, Southwest Youth Ballet and the School of Ballet Arizona. He resides in San Francisco while choreographing throughout the west coast. Dance Magazine has called his work “riveting” and Kevin has won the Editors Choice Awards from Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine, where he was featured in both publications.

Kevin served as associate director of the Persian Cultural Dance Center for five years where he choreographed and performed throughout San Diego and annually in New York City. He was simultaneously creating for musicals including Guys and Dolls, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Bye-Bye Birdie, Music Man, West Side Story and Call Me Jimmy. He also choreographed for Darian Lane’s film At The Ballet which starred Emma Fazzuoli of Ballet Arizona.

In 2006 he formed Garage Contemporary Ballet with Ryan Orion Beck and served as co-artistic director through 2012. The company presented their own annual season and appeared in festivals and showcases including Celebrate Dance Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Emerge, San Diego Choreographer’s Prize, Ignite and Coronado School of the Arts.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2013 he has presented his choreography at The Garage, collaborated with the Orchestra
Institute Napa Valley Fellows and Smuin Ballet dancers for a performance in Napa, and choreographed and directed a dance film inspired by Charlie Chaplin. He is planning a show for the fall of 2014 with several world premieres.

We asked Kevin a few questions:

What brought you to the Bay Area?
Opportunities. There are so many chances to choreograph here and I wanted to be at the center of dance on the West Coast.

Where were you born?
San Diego.

The Bay Area is…?
Amazing! I still get excited that I live here.

What’s your neighborhood? Stomping ground?
Hayes Valley. I love all the coffee shops!

What’s your gig(s)?
I split my time between choreographing and video production. I work for Rapt Productions, we film for San Francisco Ballet, Smuin Ballet, ODC/Dance, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and other companies.

What’s your most embarrassing SF moment?
Trying to drive the wrong way down one-way streets.

What’s your secret spot in town?
Chez Maman in Potrero Hill. It’s a small French restaurant with the best burger I’ve ever eaten.

What’s your favorite food?
Cookies (I’d live off them if I could) and lattes.

What event(s) will we find you at this summer?
Planning and fundraising for a fall show. I’m going to present several world premieres with dancers from San Francisco Ballet and Smuin Ballet. Also vacationing in Lake Tahoe.

What’s your favorite Bay Area institution? 
ODC Dance Commons. There’s an amazing energy about the whole complex. I love rehearsing there, seeing shows, or hanging out at the cafe.

First dance memory?
Being taught how to swing dance in my family driveway. I tried doing a turn with a friend and accidentally threw her into a bush!

Favorite dance move/term/style?
Contemporary ballet! I’ll drop everything to see a Jií Kylián ballet.

Dance idol?
Charlie Neshyba-Hodges. He danced in several Twyla Tharp shows and is now with LA Dance Project. He has the most incredible movement quality and technical ability. It’s impossible to watch anyone else when he’s onstage.

Guilty dance pleasure?
Making fun of bad YouTube dance videos.

Shortlist of inspiring people, books, moments, classes, etc?
My inspirations include my wife, Erica Felsch (dancer with Smuin Ballet), my mom who is the most diversely brilliant person I know, any and all museums, Ryan Beck, fashion photography, movies, petite allegro combinations, anything written by Kurt Vonnegut.

Current artistic obsession?
Surreal film and photography. I love seeing people create images that go beyond the scope of physical reality. It’s

Money’s no object, what’s the next place you might travel?
South America. I’m planning a trip for June 2015!

What’s heaven to you?
Unlimited time in the studio with talented dancers and no deadlines. Spending all day in bed watching TV with my wife. Time in the forest. Vacation with family. Brunch.

What’s hell to you?
Not enough money, not enough time, too much stress. So basically adult life. 🙂

What’s the question you wish we asked?
What’s your proudest career moment? Watching the closing night for Garage Contemporary Ballet’s second season. I was really proud of that program and the audience loved it. Sharing that success with Ryan was very memorable.

This article appeared in the June 2014 issue of In Dance.