Author: Heather Desaulniers

Heather Desaulniers is a freelance dance writer based in Oakland, California. She is the Editorial Associate and SF/Bay Area columnist for CriticalDance, the dance curator for SF Arts Monthly and a frequent contributor to several dance-focused publications. Website: www.heatherdance.com

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs.
Liane Burns and Charles Slender-White of FACT/SF in June 2017 picture.© Robbie Sweeny. (Click image for larger version)

FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival including works by Simpson/Stulberg, Fog Beast and Joy Davis – San Francisco

★★★★✰   The evening definitely delivered a broad swath of dance performance – a very strong debut and a great addition to the SF dance festival circuit.

Tegan Schwab in Kate Weare's Giant.© Andrew Weeks. (Click image for larger version)

ODC/Dance – Summer Sampler 1: Head in the Sand, Something About a Nightingale, Giant – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   A solid program overall, there were moments that satiated my craving for lightness and moments that challenged it.

Aidan DeYoung and Kelsey McFalls in Gabrielle Lamb's Lacunae.© David DeSilva. (Click image for larger version)

Amy Seiwert’s Imagery – SKETCH 8: Origin Stories – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Whether walking through space, cycling through a gestural sequence or dancing a technically demanding phrase the dancers were a real joy to watch. The choreography on the other hand, was more of a mixed bag.

Garrett Anderson, right, with full ensemble in James Sofranko's Homing.© Alexander Reneff-Olson. (Click image for larger version)

SFDanceworks – Season Three: Snap, Homing, The Old Child, Jardí Tancat – San Francisco

★★★★✰   SFDanceworks is going places. Formed in 2014 by longtime San Francisco Ballet soloist James Sofranko, the relatively new company already finds itself in a season of expansion.

Jodi Lomask, Cari Delaplane and Mayuko Hosoai of Capacitor.© RJ Muna. (Click image for larger version)

Capacitor – Left To Her Own Devices: 20 Years of Sculpture in Motion – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Artistic Director and Founder Jodi Lomask describes Capacitor as a “dance, cirque, sculpture company that often works with scientists…” The program excerpted seven works created from 2000 to 2014.

James Bowen, Edisnel Rodriguez, Lani Dickinson, Yuko Monden & Dwayne Scheuneman in Amy Seiwert's The Reflective Surface.© David DeSilva. (Click image for larger version)

AXIS Dance Company – Historias rotas, The Reflective Surface, Radical Impact – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Brew describes physically integrated dance as “dancers of different physicalities uniting together as equals, colleagues and collaborators to create high-caliber art that is relevant and reflective of the world we live in.” And each offering on the program embodied that spirit and sentiment.

San Francisco Ballet in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Guernica.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Unbound Festival Program C: works by Stanton Welch, Trey McIntyre, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Program C’s offerings spanned the choreographic spectrum, from pure movement to narrative threads to inventive theatricality. Every work on the bill impressed with its freshness and ingenuity.

Sarah Van Patten, Mathilde Froustey and Ulrik Birkkjaer in Marston's Snowblind.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Unbound Festival Program B: works by Myles Thatcher, Cathy Marston, David Dawson – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Snowblind is a great narrative ballet – the source material is striking and Marston’s interpretation of it, equally so.

Tessa Barbour and John Speed Orr in Val Caniparoli's If I Were A Sushi Roll.© Chris Hardy. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary American Ballet – Dance Series 02: Falling Up, If I Were a Sushi Roll, Oasis – San Francisco

★★★★✰   A title like “If I Were a Sushi Roll” suggests that some whimsy may be in store, and indeed, Caniparoli’s new nine-part dance suite had whimsy to spare…

Mia J. Chong, Tegan Schwab and Brandon Freeman in Brenda Way's News of the World.© Margo Moritz. (Click image for larger version)

ODC/Dance – News of the World, What we carry What we keep – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   News of the World was charged from beginning to end, filled with messages of gender-based orchestration, control and manipulation. Way brilliantly interpreted these themes…

Company Wayne McGregor in Autobiography.© Richard Davies. (Click image for larger version)

Company Wayne McGregor – Autobiography – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   There were some standout moments but generally I found that the vignettes didn’t seem all that different from one to the next….

Vincent Chavez and Crystaldawn Bell rehearsing Bootstrap Tales.© Steve Disenhof. (Click image for larger version)

Robert Moses’ Kin – Bootstrap Tales (premiere), Speaking Ill of the Dead, Trapdoors/Trickbags/Painted Corners, Lucifer’s Prance – San Francisco

★★★★✰   The choreography for Bootstrap Tales abides in a place where possibility, gumption and empowerment meet. The atmosphere of moving forward is palpable.

San Francisco Ballet in Thatcher's Ghost in the Machine.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – On a Theme of Paganini, Ibsen’s House, Ghost in the Machine – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   This mixed triple bill is made up of work created on the company by artists in the SFB family: On a Theme of Paganini by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, Ibsen’s House by Principal Character dancer Val Caniparoli and Ghost in the Machine by Myles Thatcher, part of the corps de ballet since 2010.

Dores André and Ulrik Birkkjaer in Peck's Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Serenade, The Chairman Dances, Rodeo – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Not all, but many pas de deuxs have a romantic subtext, whether intentional or not. But in Rodeo Peck has crafted a pas de deux celebrating introductions and the process of getting to know another person.

Josie G. Sadan and James Gilmer in Path of Miracles.© Andrew Weeks. (Click image for larger version)

ODC/Dance – Path of Miracles – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Except for one section, we were led from place to place to experience the piece’s lush tapestry of movement and sound.

Heather Arnett, Nell Suttles, Allegra Bautista and Anna Greenberg in EAMES.© George Baker. (Click image for larger version)

Kristin Damrow & Company – EAMES – San Francisco

★★★★✰   Before heading to the premiere of Kristin Damrow & Company’s EAMES, which mines the life, work and relationship of legendary designers Ray and Charles Eames, some background research seemed a good idea…

Lani Dickinson of AXIS Dance Company at the SF Movement Arts Festival.© Jane Hu. (Click image for full version)

San Francisco Movement Arts Festival – Stations of the Movement at Grace Cathedral – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   2018’s edition of the festival boasted over two hundred artists performing fifty-five pieces. The Festival is committed to welcoming a range of performing experience, from new faces to seasoned veterans, students to professionals…

Erica Felsch & the men of the company in Michael Smuin's Santa Baby, from The Christmas Ballet.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Contemporary American Ballet – The Christmas Ballet – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   I’ve seen The Christmas Ballet five times over the years and it has always been and continues to be a lovely, celebratory afternoon or evening at the theatre. That said, I still struggle with the format.

Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut.© Frank Wing. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

★★★★★   The house was abuzz on Friday evening for the opening performance of Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut. It’s been five years since Cal Performances hosted the production, and clearly fans had been anxiously awaiting its reappearance.

Wendy Whelan, Brian Brooks and Brooklyn Rider in Some of a Thousand Words.© Nir Arieli. (Click image for larger version)

Wendy Whelan, Brian Brooks and Brooklyn Rider – Some of a Thousand Words – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   I very much like Brooks’ work, particularly his approach to rebound, points of contact in partnering and his nuanced use of accumulation…

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