The Black Choreographers Festival celebrates 10 years with an energetic, ambitious program
On the penultimate weekend (Feb. 28-March 1 at Laney College), former Lines Ballet dancer-choreographer Gregory Dawson has created birdseye view, a sextet set to an original jazz score performed live by the Richard Howell Quintet. Zaccho Dance Theatre will present the Oakland premiere of Joanna Haigood's haunting Dying While Black and Brown; it looks at the effect of incarceration on the human spirit. Joining the lineup will be a work in progress by Barnes (Feb. 28 only), Haitian Dancer Portsha Jefferson, and spoken-word artist Joseph.
Financial constraints prevented the programming of an accompanying film component this year, though the bitter pill was sweetened by a last-minute arrival: UPAJ, Hoku Uchiyama's film about the partnership between Kathak artist Chitresh Das and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith, will screen Feb. 28 at 6:30pm before that evening's performance.
Looking back, Ellis figures that over the last decade they have presented almost 80 choreographers. So for this year's special "Next Wave" program (Feb. 21-23 at Dance Mission), they sent out a call to "alumni." It's a homecoming for the 21 artists who accepted, and it should be heady mix, running (alphabetically) from Ramón Ramos Alayo to Jamie Wright.
For the ODC Theater finale (March 6-8), Robert Moses has curated an intriguing and somewhat mysterious evening, which includes a premiere of his own, Bliss Kohlmeyer and Dawson choreographing on his company, and Moses acting as a "host" to various choreographers. So far Raissa Simpson, Byb Chanel Bibene, and Antoine Hunter are confirmed, with more to come. *
BLACK CHOREOGRAPHERS FESTIVAL: HERE AND NOW
Feb 9-March 8, 50 cents-$35
Various venues, SF and Oakl.