Theater Sports

The first SF Weekly Black Box Awards

Event

Theater Artaud Marathon
What's remarkable about the annual Theater Artaud Marathon isn't its length (although at 12 hours it's an administrative marvel), but the quality of the performers. Featuring everything that falls under the heading "someone gets up onstage" you'd think that six acts an hour would exhaust the local talent pool, but the marathon proves otherwise. Come for an hour, get sucked in for eight.

Dancer

Ryan Galbreath
In the company bios of the pomo dance troupe Steamroller, Galbreath is referred to as the "diva-in-residence." It's no joke. Whether unfurling his limbs like honey or impeccably channeling a Hong Kong action villain slapped silly, Galbreath weds uncanny intelligence to slippery grace.

Mercy Sidbury
Veteran Bay Area choreographer and performer Sidbury dances emotion's extremity. Drained from her face and into her movement, feeling whips along her limbs and coils her torso. In the patois of dance, Sidbury unleashes etymologies.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Lucia Lacarra, San Francisco Ballet
Tan, promoted to principal dancer last year, plunges into works with cool poise and the sort of dizzying extension that Balanchine would have applauded and critics of ballet's ever-rising physical ante might deplore. Lacarra, who joined the company as a principal dancer last year, won a standing ovation for her finely nuanced turn as the Novice in The Cage, and demonstrated an impossibly liquid malleability in Agon.

Dance Ensemble

Kim Epifano and dancers, Sonic Luminescence
Dancers' Group Studio Theater
The 13 women in Sonic Luminescence moved with such deep intention and touched each other with such conviction that for the duration of the work, at least, they converted dance into seductive faith.

Lines Contemporary Ballet
Ballet's principal-soloist-corps hierarchy takes a back seat in Alonzo King's egalitarian company, although his dancers could fill principal roles in other companies. King's dancers are a lyrical and athletic body, a passionate vehicle for the choreographer's vision.

Scott Wells
848 Community Space
This season, Scott Wells' dancers bounced against walls and into one another's arms, coalesced into kaleidoscopic patterns with mighty speed and abandon, and found each other in midflight: a human Koyaanisqatsi where connection and intimacy were caught on the wing.

Choreographer

Keith Hennessy, Jules Beckman, and Jess Curtis, Ice/Car/Cage
Dancing over, around, and with a self-automated car in a warehouse parking lot, the trio articulated perfect ambivalence toward our postindustrial age: pleasure and pain in the oblivion offered by urban wastelands. They've taken landscape art on a wild spin.

Alonzo King, Lines Contemporary Ballet
King's closest concession to themed ballet this season was Suite Etta, a playful collection of divertissements set to the music of Etta James. King doesn't do dancing mice or dying swans; he does do physically demanding plotless ballets marked by unusual musicality and a sweeping emotional resonance. His luminous dances draw you in, and don't let you go for days afterward.

Robert Moses
Moses has the easy fluidity of a magician. At their best, his dances make intricate connections between musical and visual patterns, solos and ensembles, and torso and arms: a fluid conversation where digression ends up being to the point, where intended action conveys the beauty of accident.

Dance Score

Marc Ream, Broken Open
Brady Street Dance Center
In Anne Bluethenthal's dance-poem about the heart, Marc Ream's score created a hollow of warm, moist sound that widened into open-space melodies, then con-tracted back to a simple and electric tick and thump. Ream's score stethoscoped the heart.

Pharoah Sanders, Three Stops on the Way Home
Center for the Arts
Audiences were treated to this Lines Contemporary Ballet production twice, first live and later taped, but taping simply doesn't do justice to this score, an exhilarating East-West collusion of percussion, horns, and strings. The choreography floats over the top of the score rather than adhering to the complex counts, but by the end, the music and dance seem inseparable.

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