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Community Dance Here! Community Dance There!

This weekend is the weekend for community dance in San Francisco! And I feel grateful to have the opportunity to connect with two very different and equally exciting performances in the city. So here’s a two-‘fer for you folks!

Saturday, June 20 Sunday, June 21

8:00 pm 4:00pm & 7:00pm

Admission: $10 Tickets on sale at ODC

ODC Dance Commons

351 Shotwell St.

San Francisco

Shortly after I moved to San Francisco, I started taking classes at ODC, and soon after I found ODC, I found Christine! And what a gift! Christine Cali is a phenomenal mover and choreographer, but even more exciting for me, she is a truly gifted teacher. And while I am not sure that she identifies as a community dance teacher, she certainly utilizes every community dance teaching technique that I know… and many more! In addition to loving taking a release-based technique class, I have fully appreciated the methodological approach that she takes in her teaching. Her classes are the definition of accessibility and high standards. I feel pushed in every one of her classes, whether they be beginner or advanced. And at the same time, I feel utterly encouraged. Christine does not make ‘simple’ movement so that everyone can access it. Instead, she offers engaging physical and kinesthetic themes and exciting movement patterns that she uses as the foundation for complex technical skills. The classes are really about feeling the movement, connecting with our bodies and relating to the other bodies, the other humans, in the room. I leave all of her classes energized, refreshed and exhausted! So when the opportunity arose to participate in a performance workshop with Christine, I could not pass it up! A couple of months ago, coincidentally on my birthday, Christine’s performance workshop through ODC’s Global Dance Passport Showcase began. Under Christine’s guidance, I and 15 or so other wonderful movers have been playing, crafting and refining the performance piece that we will share this weekend. We are a diverse group of people of varying ages, professions and dance experiences. Christine has skillfully drawn us together as a community and capitalized on our difference, calling on our ability to co-create the piece alongside her. And to be honest, I am still not precisely sure what our piece will look like come Saturday, because we have been deeply embracing the age-old idea of “trusting the process”. But mostly, I am excited to share some aspect of my experience working with Christine. Connecting with her and her work has really been an ideal way for me to continue my study of community dance in practice – in an alive and impacting way!


Saturday, June 20 Tenderloin National Forest

7:45pm 509 Ellis St.

Free Admission San Francisco

Since April, I have been working with ABD Productions’ Skywatchers Program. Skywatchers is a community arts performance ensemble, based in the Tenderloin. Working with the Resident Artists living in the Tenderloin for the last 4 years, Skywatchers has created numerous magical performances, almost exclusively set in the Tenderloin National Forest! I know you think I just made that up, but it’s a real and tangible, beautiful and magical place. ABD Founder and Artistic Director, Anne Bluethenthal, has worked for years alongside the Resident Artists of Skywatchers to develop layered performance productions that feature dance, spoken word, live drumming and a spontaneous choir! This year’s performance will also include a creative processional around the Tenderloin, concluding in the Tenderloin National Forest. Each week Anne and other artistic collaborators meet with Resident Artists to share their experiences, to discuss concerns of social justice and humanity and to make art. Some days Skywatchers meetings look like a full-on rehearsal that any of would recognize, and some days the meetings look more like a sharing circle… but art is always being made. And through the skill, patience, compassion and talent of everyone involved, all of those meetings and all of their diversity are pulled together into a unique and powerful performance. This weekend, you have the opportunity to be a witness, and spontaneous participant, in the Skywatchers performance!

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