Although there's more dance than ever these
days, there seems to be less and less media coverage of it. Many
performances are not reviewed in either the mainstream or specialized
press. DanceView, the quarterly review of dance
I've published since 1979, runs a Bay Area dance column every
quarter (written by Rita Felciano), but even Rita can't fit everything
that's happening into one five- or six page article. The Bay
Area dance scene is one of the most vibrant and diverse in Americathere's
certainly no dearth of interesting performances, nor of good
writers to cover itbut there are simply not enough column
inches to go around.
While print publications have stingy space
and time limitations, the internet is much more generous. And
so we gathered together some of the Bay Area's best dance writersRita
Felciano, Rachel Howard, Ann Murphy, and Paul Parish (we plan
to add others in the next few weeks)and launched DanceViewWest,
an online extension of DanceView that's a writer's cooperative
(I'm serving more as catalyst than editor). DVW will make reviews,
previews, commentary and occasional pieces about dance in the
Bay Area available to everyone with time and a modem.
We can't cover every event because of our
writers' other commitments, but we'll be comprehensive in the
depth of the coverage, which we will try to make as diverse as
its subject. In addition to reviews, you may find a piece about
a single dancer rather than analysis of a full concert, a review
focused on only one dance or one aspect of a dance, or an overview
of one choreographer's body of work.
If there's one thing all of us share, it's
a belief in the importance of context in criticism. I'm also
a firm believer in preserving the voice and character of cities
and regions in this era of globalization; DanceView began
life as Washington DanceView and we'll be launching DanceViewDC,
this fall. At DanceViewWest, we plan to add a regular feature
on dance in film, and our writers may occasionally report on
performances they see in other cities, but they'll be watching
with a distinctly west coast eye.
We hope to publish new material as frequently
as possible, but we're not going to try to post new content daily
or weekly. Our goal is to have at least one or two new articles
every Monday. We know we will not be able to cover every event;
we can only promise to do as much as we can.
You can help us fill in the gaps. We've
put up a community
forum that we hope companies will use to post announcements
of upcoming concerts and other events, press releases, and news.
We'd like to give voice to the dancers, choreographers and dance
audience, as well, and so if we don't review a concert you've
attended, you can. We hope you'll use the forum as an open Letter
to the Editors column, too; if you'd like to discuss an article
on the site, please feel free to do so.
Alexandra Tomalonis, Editor
If you'd like to receive email updates
when new copy is posted, please send an email with your email
address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll add you to our list.
(We will not give or sell
your email address to anyone.)
July 7, 2003
A Rich Diversity
What is Bay Area dance,
is it going?
by Rita Felciano
Today the Bay Area has legitimatethough
ultimately unprovableclaims to being the second largest
dance community in the country. It's a community that is fractured,
anarchical and in constant renewal but one that also shows signs
of having settled into long-term stability.
by Rachel Howard
This year the festival looks
to be poised for another upswing. In years past, the festival
often appeared suspiciously stacked with friends and colleagues
of the organizers, but the roster for this months nine
(count em, nine!) programs is chock full of fresh and intriguing
faces. Whats more, the programming appears to be sculpted,
given peaks and valleys, with several special events and three
very different venues. That old rusty train, lets hope,
is just a memory on the horizon. This years West Wave ought
to be more like watching the Blue Angels than Amtrak.
What's on This Week
by Rachel Howard
He Never Dances In the Same River Twice
Baryshnikov at the Zellerbach
by Ann Murphy
What happened next, though, was
quintessential Baryshnikov. He took seemingly inconsequential
movement and through his probing intelligence freighted Hahns
vague arabesque turns and dreamy saut de lange leaps with
import. By the time Baryshnikov was deep into the evenings
third dance (Lucinda Childs Opus One to Alban Bergs
Sonata opus 1), it became clear that Baryshnikov was demonstrating
how a shared vocabulary of angular arm gestures, similar geometric
floor patterns, and glosses on iconic ballet steps (from Siegfried
to the Prodigal Son) are like distinct paths to the same beach.
East as Center
by Paul Parish
The Kathak dancer works like
a one-man banddifferent parts of the body perform completely
different tasks, and the whole is greater than the sum of
the parts. The dancer is dressed in a knee-length silk tunic
over long trousers, as one might see an Indian person dressed
on the street, except that the make-up is elaborate, there are
leggings made of tiny bells, and the feet are bare. The footwork
is meant to produce sound effects that heighten the story. It
looks like flamenco, but it sounds differentthe flat of
the foot can slap the floor, while the bare heel can make a deep
hollow thunder. By standing still and producing a tremor in one
raised foot, the dancer can produce a rustling like 15 rattlesnakes in
concert some distance away, or the quietest rain sifting through
by Rita Felciano
Goode revels in the banal because
life is banal. People are not heroic, they are ordinary. The
big questions about life and death, love and relationships are
simple. The answers may be complicated but the questions are
not. Sometimes Goode's work looks like a master navigator's exploration
of terrain infinitely strange and yet absolutely familiar.
At the end of the 2002 Transparent Body, which Goode showed
during his most recent San Francisco season, with the world premiere
of Folk, the narrator gave the audience two pieces of
advice. Try to be innocent, he told them, or at the very least
"try to have a happy end". While wittily puncturing
the Hollywood cliché, Goode was also serious, spelling
out a key theme that weaves itself through all his work: Death
is the companion of life.
What did you think of these performances?
Share your views in our community forum.