It’s baaack! Next House Select Committee hearing

It’s baaaack!
The House Select Committee’s next hearing is on Thursday October 13 at 1PM EDT (10AM PDT). It will attempt to focus attention on the threat that election deniers present to American democracy. “We cannot give power to people who have told us that they will not honor elections“, Mrs Cheney said. Possible secondary billing: some Danish film footage on Roger Stone and maybe some testimony from Ginni Thomas, the silent partner of Justice Thomas

The Farallonites

The Farallonites
Dana Lawton Dancers
September 16-28, 2022
Cowell Theater,Fort Mason Center, SF

A Dance/Drama for California

Dana Lawton and her company have brought a valuable and exciting dimension of dance/theater to Bay Area audiences. “The Farallonites” is not only a beautifully staged, danced and produced theater event, it presents an opportunity to learn California history and geography.

Lawton tells us that: “I was first drawn into this project because of the poetry and imagery. These particular people living on an island, isolated from the growing city of SF had a tension I was interested in exploring. Building a community in an inhospitable place, being resourceful and relying on each other to help those sailing through the golden gate. People who put their lives in danger so that others could prosper were the type of people I wanted to spend time with. So I made them up, made them struggle, find water, climb the hill over and over, fix the lighthouse, weather the storm and also find joy.”

The dancers are an ensemble of great skill; several soloists are outstanding.

Olutola Afolayan work was particularly lyrical and expressive. Leah Hendrix-Smith was moving and delightful as the”child on the rope”…a young person who cannot and should not get away.

Garth Grimball was a soloist at the beginning and later, with Leah Curran, he and she performed a romantic duet. Other dancers include Michael Armstrong, Eduardo Garcia, Katie Lawson-Gill, Colin McDowell, Robin Nasatir, Vera Schwegler, and Jennifer Smith.

Lawton has accomplished a production that should travel to California schools and audiences throughout the state. It is a reminder that we all need to know: that even in isolation (as we have recently experienced), we can find intimacy, courage and even joy. All this was well illustrated in the dance’s events: solos, duets, group ensemble and especially In the joyous ‘square dance’ section wherein familiar steps and patterns raised all levels of delight.

For complete information about the many artists who contributed to “The Farallonites’ see

Miami City Ballet – JEWELS

Miami City Ballet
September 23, 2022
Zellerbach Auditorium
Cal Performances UC Berkeley


Jewels” is a ballet by George Balanchine, the famous choreographer and director of the New York City Ballet. The tradition is that he was inspired by a visit to Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry store. Whatever the inspiration, “Jewels” is a gem of a ballet! The first section “Emeralds” is, according to tradition, devoted to the “French” ballet.The music is by Gabriel Fauré: “Pelléas and Mélisande” and “Shylock”. It is described as having a “seamless haunting fluidity.” Whether it was nervousness about the opening event or just jitters about a premiere in Berkeley, “Emeralds” did not exhibit the “fluidity” it deserves. Seven soloists and nine “corps de ballet” danced. Program information did not specify the leading ballerina but Ashley Knox, Hannah Fischer, Mayumi Enokibara and Nicole Stalker provided the “cool” lines that weave through this section. This reviewer, (who has some training in ballet) wished for more “fluid” arm gestures. The men soloists were Kenan Cerdeiro, and Cameron Catazara.

Rubies” was the hit of the show, since it is the most jazzy “American”, using syncopated rhythms by Stravinsky, “Capriccio For Piano and Orchestra” (1929). Here there was no mistaking the energetic, whimsical, flirtatious dancing of ballerinas Jennifer Lawson and Jordan-Elizabeth Long partnered by Alexander Peters. The soloists were backed by twelve members of the “corps”, but the three principals brought delight and renewed energy to the audience after the “cool” “Emeralds”.

One can imagine that “Diamonds” are “a girl’s best friend”, but in this case it was the dancing of Chase Swatoch partnering Dawn Atkins that drew attention. Swatoch has red hair and he is lively and dynamic and brilliant. The “Diamonds” section is supposedly Balanchine’s ‘homage’ to the classicism of 19th century Imperial Russia.

(Note: See a recent New Yorker article on Balanchine’s final visit to Russia.)

Steven Loch, listed as “principal” performed the male feats so featured in this style; turns, jumps, “tour jetes” and grand gestures. “Diamonds” ended with the full cast on stage! It appeared to be almost forty dancers! The audiences greeted them all with a standing ovation.

It was an exciting opening event for the 2022-23 Cal Performances season. Jeremy Geffen, executive and artistic director, welcomed the audiences with special attention to student attendance which will have special attention for future events.