Shake Your Groove Thing: Q&A with the GodFather of Skate, Church of 8 Wheels Founder

Shutterstock/Carlos Caetano

Fact: Heaven is a place on earth and it's conveniently located at the corner of Fillmore and Fell Streets at the Church of 8 Wheels.

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Stark Minimalism: AXIS Dance Company's 2014 Home Season

Categories: Dance, Events

Photo by David DeSilva

Disability is often characterized as a lack that requires elaborate compensations: prostheses, apparatuses, mechanisms, and manners.

For Oakland's AXIS Dance Company -- now in its 27th year as a physically integrated contemporary dance company -- minimalism is the mode for their newest program, on view April 11-13 at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts.

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Helping the Homeless Through the Arts: Community Housing Partnership in Action

Photo by Federica Armstrong

George Taylor's smile is as bright as a klieg light, and in his wingtips and a feathered fedora, he is dapper as they come. Taylor is also the real deal, and he hails from Memphis, home to a style of sound associated with singers such as Al Green, Isaac Hayes, and Otis Redding, who were (in part) made household names by record labels such as Stax and Hi Records. Singing since 1969 with groups such as Soul Explosion and Phase 6, Taylor's past includes such illustrious events as opening for Stevie Wonder. But his next concert isn't just about him -- it's part of a arts performance to help those in need. Along with the other performers in A Night With the Stars April 9 at SFJAZZ Center, Taylor is a participant in San Francisco's Community Housing Partnership program.

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Dance Anywhere Makes the World Its Stage (Video)

Adrian Rodriguez

Yerba Buena visitors and passersby were taken by surprise when six dancers claimed the entrance of the Center for Arts as their stage for a 25-minute performance Friday, March 28 at noon.

The six performers danced a routine that combined choreography and improvisation to the accompaniment of music performed by cellist Alex Kelly. As the marquis performance for the Dance Anywhere event, Beth Fein, artistic director and creator, organized the show, which attracted a crowd of about 50 people that surrounded the entrance of the center.

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The Bay Area's 28th Annual Isadora Duncan Dance Awards

Categories: Art, Dance, Events

Isadora Duncan by Abraham Walkowitz

Isadora Duncan was clear about her life motto: "Sans limites!" The jury for The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, or "Izzies" seek the same ideal: Artists who aren't afraid to get all kinds of illimitable.

In the 28th annual event last night, the relatively small committee of volunteers showed a massive amount of respect and support for the entire Bay Area dance world. The Izzies honor the very best in artistic fields such as choreography, performance, and design.

And these aren't a bunch of bitchy ballerinas. Almost every acceptance speech expressed thanks to the dance community with a surprising amount of openness; from a heartfelt thanks from LGBT champion, Sean Dorsey, for his show, The Secret History of Love, to the evening's charming host and ODC Theater Director, Rob Bailis, who kept the evening earnest while still fun.

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The Bay Area Gets Footloose with Dance Anywhere

Categories: Dance, Preview

Weidong Yang
Antoine Hunter performing an arial feat.

One night after a San Francisco dance performance, artist Beth Fein considered just how much money went into productions, even on the smallest scale. She thought of the cost of the theater, the lighting, the costumes and everything. Fein saw opportunity for a new type of performance where the art of dance could be experienced without the manufacturing of sets and costumes.

"I kinda of whimsically said, 'What if we all just stopped and danced,'" Fein says. "And from there it grew." And grow it did.

Dance Anywhere, a public art performance, is in its tenth year and has spread across 50 countries and more than 432 cities. Friday, March 28, Fein, along with dancers, artists and performers of all types and abilities join at noon to take a break from society -- and dance.

It is a public performance that mixes improvisation with choreographed performances to mostly an unsuspecting audience in an intimate and unique experience.

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Extra Sparkle and Shine at the Ballet: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Photo by Sascha Vaughn

There was a time when ballet was the purview of Imperial Russia, when ballerinas Russianized their names from Lilian Marks and Hilda Munnings to Alicia Markova and Lydia Sokolova. Like a certain Norma Jeane Mortenson, the dancers knew their down-home monikers lacked the authenticating glamour of a Slavic pedigree. There was a time when every ballerina was a diva who radiated an individual gleam in the anonymity of the firmament. There was a time when balletomanes went to watch over-the-top personalities rather than over-the-puddle pas de chats. Bay Area audiences won't need to commandeer a time machine, to return to days of yore, when Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo comes to Zellerbach Hall on March 25.

Yes, they're an all-male comedy ballet troupe doing send-offs of classical ballets in full tutu-ed and pointe-shod regalia since 1974. But they are also, in the words of their artistic director Toby Dobrin, at heart a "dusty overblown Russian touring company that doesn't exist anymore."

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Seven Balletic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Categories: Dance, Events

Firebird, Photo by Erik Tomasson

Magical creatures abound at the ballet, from your classic flock of enchanted swans to the more obscure wili (seen earlier this season in Giselle). San Francisco Ballet's Program 3, on view February 20-March 2 at the War Memorial Opera House, features a small menagerie of otherworldly beings: hallucinated spirit maidens, abstract apparitions, and miraculous flaming birds.

The evening begins with the famous Kingdom of the Shades act from the ballet La Bayadère, staged by renowned ballerina Natalia Makarova, and then moves to more contemporary fare: SFB resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov's version of Stravinsky's Firebird and English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's Ghosts. In preparation for your encounter with the supernatural, we've compiled a brief field guide to common balletic beasts and their habits.

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Hamburg Ballet's John Neumeier Talks Shakespeare, Love, and Beer

Photo of John Neumeier by Steven Haberland

American-born John Neumeier has been transforming the story ballet since he was appointed chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet more than 40 years ago, at the tender age of 31.

San Francisco audiences went wild for his weird and wonderful The Little Mermaid, which exposed the dark psychology of jealousy, revenge, and tragedy in Hans Christian Andersen's tale. Hamburg Ballet's most recent appearance in the Bay Area was only a year ago with Neumeier's Nijinsky, about the tempestuous life of the legendary dancer whose jumps were said to defy gravity, whose ballets were so scandalous that audiences rioted at the premiere of his Rite of Spring, and who died in an asylum, tormented by visions and voices.

This week, the Hamburg Ballet returns to San Francisco with lighter fare and a sweeter look on love with its very limited engagement of Neumeier's 1977 A Midsummer Night's Dream, based on the play by William Shakespeare. As a story that contains love juice, the transformation of men into asses, mistaken identities, love triangles, arranged marriage, elopement, and more, to the music of Felix Mendelssohn, György Ligeti, and traditional barrel organ, Midsummer is a ballet for lovers and dreamers of every ilk.

Neumeier granted SF Weekly an exclusive interview on February 9.

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Fierce Femmes Dance About Our Dystopian Present: Dance Brigade's Hemorrhage

Photo by Mily Trabing

This Saturday anti-abortion activists descended like so many locusts on Market Street, waving banners and yellow balloons in a mystifying display of out-of-town folk looking neither for the boat to Alcatraz nor the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Our fair city, ranked fourth "most godless" in America, responded with a collective eye-roll and tweeted about the inconvenience of the traffic snarl.

All should have the right to the peaceful assertion of their beliefs, but to really change minds, a protest should engage the public -- maybe even entertain -- shouldn't it? Krissy Keefer, director and choreographer of Dance Brigade, now in its thirtieth year of activist dance dramas in the Bay Area, seems to think so, because her latest work, Hemorrhage: An Ablution of Hope and Despair, on view at Dance Mission Theater January 24-February 8, fires up the stage with ferocious dancing, powerful percussion, self-conscious humor, and a set so visually arresting, the sight of it alone is worth the price of admission.

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