February 17, 2015
The diversity of the Commissions for Choreographers, announced last month by the awarding Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, appears set to dance in the imaginations of audiences, to scintillating effect.
The resulting works will be premiered by a variety of Bay Area nonprofit organizations, starting in the spring of 2016 and extending through spring 2017. Each organization will receive $50,000, divided between a commission for a California-based choreographer and the expenses involved in creating and presenting the resulting world premieres.
In order of the premieres:
CounterPulse, at its new performance space, will present ARA: Waterways Time Weaves. It’ll be a participatory, ritual performance, featuring elements of Korean shamanic dance, contemporary dance, and electronic and acoustic music, and will be developed by Dohee Lee in community workshops and group choreography. A multidisciplinary, intergenerational exploration of the element of gendered violence in hip-hop and the lives of Oakland youth will be generated at the Destiny Arts Center under the guidance of Nicole Klaymoon, with the premiere at Laney College.
Stephan Koplowitz will work with the mixed-ability AXIS Dance Company on a site-specific performance inspired by and premiering in various parts of the Yerba Buena Center. The event will involved dancers with and without disabilities, as well as original music and digital technology.
Long-time ODC choreographer Brenda Way will collaborate with composer Paul Dresher and visual designer Alex Nichols on Walk Back the Cat, cinematic in scope, with a discrete narrative. The Yerba Bena Center will host both this premiere and Last Blue Coach in the Sky, a site-specific dance work by YBC affiliate Kim Epifano, which will extend out to other SOMA locations and will address the issue of gentrification. Across the Bay on Oakland’s Great Wall in the Uptown District, a multimedia performance by Project Bandaloop will include a “vertical dance” created by Amelia Rudolph in filmed performance in the Sierra. Her “Coyote Waltzes” will view the beauty, vulnerability, and complexity of organic systems from the perspective of the legendary Native American “trickster” canine.