In the Bay Area dance world, choreographers commonly spring to life fully realized, like Athena from the head of Zeus. This may well be attributed to our democratic insistence that anyone can make art. (What other place could have produced the freewheeling Isadora Duncan?) Nevertheless, there's something to be said for the traditional model, forged in the pressure cooker of New York, in which a seasoned dancer turns choreographer after a period of intense study with an established dance-maker. If nothing else, it offers the nascent artist something concrete to rail against. In the case of San Francisco native Hope Mohr, an eight year sojourn in NYC dancing for postmodern icons Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs has left its unmistakable mark, even if her penchant for the social and psychological marks a clear break with her predecessors. Like Zen calligraphy, Mohr's choreography exudes an easy spontaneity that belies the years of practice behind its craft. It looks as if the debut of her new company in "Moments of Being: An Evening with Hope Mohr Dance" will offer up such buttery dancing in works such as Ellison and more awake than dreaming, while Under the Skin, a commission spotlighting cancer survivors created with video artist Douglas Rosenberg, shows her more humanistic colors.
March 14-16, 8 p.m., 2008