When weighed down by what’s going on in the world, as well as right here in San Francisco, I feel myself shrinking into my shell, shackled by fear and yet in this quieting state I can always access the powers of dance. Sometimes though, the dance doesn’t come so easily; but I’ve been here before, I zero out the noise, take a breath and simply begin to move. Movement is my strategy of organizing my thoughts to arrive at a place of clarity, to express myself with conviction.
Throughout my childhood I realized I would rather do anything else but talk about my feelings, problems, or even express my opinions. Often my response is to tap into my nonverbal voice because it is my most confident. Through movement, I’m able to express myself without the fear of saying too much or too little—just enough.
To this day, I’m still working on implementing and translating this dancing voice to my daily life—it’s an ongoing practice. I’m surprised at how much I live my life as a dance class.
Everyday I step out of the comfort of home and enter the unknowns of the day—I treat each day as new choreography to explore and learn. Taking in the various influences from the environment, navigating situations, or personalities I encounter. It’s a skill of adaptability and also my willingness to sink into an experience. And similar to a dance class, the day ends, stuff happened, and I walk away with new information and knowledge.
With this in mind, as we venture forward into the fall season, a time for me that has always offered an opportunity for new beginnings or a fresh start, I’m surrounded by artists that workshop this concept to find clarity, answers, and the power of their voice through dance.
Open this month’s issue and you’ll discover various windows into how others utilize dance in their journeys as a response to what’s going on in the world. For example, take flight off the streets and descend into Jo Kreiter’s SPEAK as she celebrates her 20 years of transformative dance making. This thread of transformation is woven into the tour of David Ireland’s home at 500 Capp Street in Melissa Lewis’ photo essay. Ireland’s philosophy of, “Art occurs in the practice of life,” comes to life (literally!).
Furthermore, living itself is an art and this philosophy is reflected in Krista DeNio’s upcoming project Stand Ground that focuses on acknowledging and respecting the trials and tribulations of our fellow women warriors who seek out or are in leadership positions, and ultimately invites one to learn to BE.
The pieces in this issue are emblems of the many ways dance can be used to try to make sense of the condition of life, such as Robert Avila’s digging for the impetus of NAKA Dance Theater’s RACE—their site-specific performances taking place in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, looking at issues of displacement while amplifying the voices in the community.
At times my voice may be hidden and yet I’ve been here before. Let’s listen fiercely and continue moving to ensure our voices are heard.