How Come …

How come the USSecretService is reported to be hiring independent counsel? Whose money are they using? Are they using public funds to pay private lawyers? Or, are unknown and hidden persons or corporations backing this? Can’t be Trump, because it has been reported that he never pays his bills.

Amy Seiwert: “Sketch 12”

Cowell Theater, Fort Mason: San Francisco
July 16, 2022 7:30 PM

Three works were presented in the “Imagery” evening,

First was Seiwert’s “Tides” with music by Ezio Boss. Seiwert’s notes tell us “..after 12 years of experimenting, the unexpected can still happen.” Yet the work was familiar: eight dancers, four women and four men in various groupings and duets. The center image was that of a woman being lifted by the group. Such lifts and many entrances and exits, as often seen in ballet works, continued throughout “Tides”. Perhaps that was the sustaining idea; the continual flow of movement.

Natasha Adorlee’s “Liminal Space” (in collaboration with the dancers) to a mix of music by Vivaldi, evoked Adorlee’s “most impactful moment of my life, …the loss of my father.” The work is very emotionally moving, combining a wide range of dance locomotion and many small intimate moments of touch. To a text by the choreographer, the dancers respond: touching face, limbs and one another in what she says is ”a love letter to embracing and fitting for each moment of being alive.” The work holds together with those sections.

Last on the program was Joshua L. Peugh’s “Kink” to music by Orville Peck. Peugh quotes Stephen King’s “On Writing”: “Don’t bother to read between the lines, and don’t look for a through-line. There are no lines-only snapshots, most out of focus.” The dancers share intimate moments of touching, reaching, holding and lifting. It is primarily a dance for the men in the company. The women are background.

Two dancers are outstanding, although all are competent and highly skilled. Anthony Cannarella has an unusual ability to bring lyricism and accuracy to all his performs. His focus and animation draws attention. Fortunately he danced several solos and duets.

Isaac Bates-Vinueza is also an outstanding dancer. Other in the company are: Brandon Alexander, Matisse D’Aloisio, Joseph A. Hernandez, Jenna Marie, Kelsey McFalls and Isabella Velasquez. All are exciting to watch.

Costumes are by Susan Roemer: Lighting by Brian Jones. Films by Ben Estabrook.

Missing from the credits is the wonderful woman, Pilar Marsh who did the signing for songs and narration. She is as expressive and dramatic in her communication as any of the dancers and deserves program recognition and a moment to join the company and choreographers in curtain calls. Sitting near her, downstage right and in the house, Marsh was a joy to watch.

Three notes:

  1. Choreography: Dance has changed in the last half-century that I’ve watched. Choreography, perhaps because it followed music, was thematically organized. Groups were organized to follow a rhythmic line and dance in unison. Now, dancers enter and leave the stage alone, or in small groups and interact seemingly randomly. It is challenging to watch, but untrained audiences often cannot follow the design.
  2. Footwear: Seiwert’s women dancers wore toe shoes, yet being ‘on toe’ seemed unimportant (in the classic sense of “petite pas”.) Other dancers wore flat dance shoes. But the ‘new look’ is dance socks, many colors, many styles. The bottom of the socks have tread which allows ‘no slip’ and safe, fast travel. Bare feet, once characteristic of “modern dance” are gone.
  3. Presentation: Each dance was preceded by a short film during which choreographic ideas and work process was explained and presented. For this reviewer, it was unnecessary. Although the choreographers were eager to speak about their work, I believe  (and many agreed) to “let the dances speak for themselves.”

Kiandanda Dance Theater

Friday, July 1, 2002, ODC Theater San Francisco
Presented by SFIAF, San Francisco International Arts Festival

“Religion Kitendi-Dress Code”

Kiandanda Dance Theater was founded in 2008 in the Republic of Congo. Now based in San Francisco, KDT’s “dance aesthetic is rooted in the dance cultures of the Kongo people of Central Africa.” Director Bibene’s foci are “the interdisciplinary areas of theater, traditional, Afro-urban and contemporary dance.”

There were several dimensions to this performance, including dance, film, music, all developing the theme of “dress-code”, by dance and by continuing changes of costume. The set included racks for clothes of many shapes, designs, colors and patterns. The dancers costume changes presented and amplified the theme of the film “Les Sapeurs”.

“Decked-out dandies or “sapeurs” known as “La Apologies or La Saps, (Society of Ambiance Makers and Elegant People)”… meet and compete (to see) who has the most expensive clothes and shoes.” Director Bibene “takes a critical look at this colorful sartorial scene…which has more complicated cultural implications.” (e.g. … spending thousands on clothes in a poor community.”) Charming, delightful and elegant La Saps may be but basic needs go unheeded.

The performance includes delightful dancing, lively music, many outfits to admire and a detailed film on “Les Sapeurs.” The evening included an after discussion of African fashion and group dancing.

This reviewer was most moved by Bibene’s solo. Fully dressed in an off-white suit and carrying a suitcase, he climbed a ladder, as if to “get out”. He backed down and tried again to no avail.

This short work characterized efforts so many know when limited success is achieved.

All the dancers are remarkable in their abilities to move, interact with each other and with the audience while continually changing costumes and moving furniture. Outstanding for me was Shawn Hawkins, a member of several Bay Area dance companies, his ability to move effortlessly through complex floor and aerial activity is remarkable. Seemingly without transition he moves from one level to another delighting and startling the viewer.

The company includes: Dancers Byb Chanel Bibene, Latanya D.Tigner, LaKiesha Golden, Shawn Hawkins: Composer and Live musician Manolo Davila; Light Design: Harry Rubeck.

Four videos were shown to amplify and illustrate “Religion Kitendi”.

The evening was a delightful event, showing, telling, illustrating Bibene’s stories and craft.

For this reviewer, a careful selection of the many events would strengthen the performance.