San Francisco’s Summer Specialities

12 Jul

What San Francisco’s dance scene provides in the summer is its increasing variety of interesting works, many of which are organized by artists and choreographers engaged in other organizations during most of the year.

Thus far there has been SF Dance Works’ premiere season and July 8-10, the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason has housed Amy Seiwart’s 6th Sketch, where she has invited  choreographers to join her in stretching their vocabularies, utilizing some exciting dancers, and choroegraphers coming from Sewiart’s various  associations .

July 8 provided a foggy evening to trail down the western side of the Fort Mason pier that houses the Cowell Theatre where the original corridor has been cordoned off and the vast space is being remodeled. Eventually, the entrance is to be moved to the eastern side of the pier and none too soon when one contemplates the varied weather one encounters in reaching the space which has housed so many dance events since Fort Mason became a cultural definition. Friday nights also is the evening Fort Mason has inaugurated Off The Grid, where a cluster of 30 mobile trucks serve specialties to anyone hungry, nearby or purposely attending to sample the variety, 5-10 p.m. complete with music and three bars.

Returning to dancing, Amy Seiwart came out from behind the red curtain to explain that the brief season are intended to help two or three invited choreographers besides herself stretch themselves beyond their acquired choreographic “tool box,” trying something outside their comfort zone. The invited were Nicole Haskins, Anthony Hoagland and Val Caniparoli. Hoagland’s Cigarettes was a repeat from the 2011 season. But Haskin’s With Alacrity and Caniparoli’s 4 in the Morning were premieres, as was Seiwart’s Instructions. Most of the ten dancers have worked in various companies where Seiwart has choreographed.

Haskin’s With Alacrity utilized a quartet, three women and a man in various encounters, Andre Silva with Beth Ann Maslinoff, Kelsey McFalls and Annali Rose. Susan Roemer’s monochrome costumes were alleviated by a band of multi hued patterned fabric at the waist of the women’s skirts and Silva’s tights. The floor patterns as well as the movements were atypical but not arresting and while there was some partnering, nothing suggested male-female attraction or particular rivalry.

Following a pause was “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray” is a plaintiff folksy song, sung by what seems to have been five different interpreters to illuminate a table, four chairs, plus a vintage refrigerator brought out by James Gilmer, Scott Marlowe and Peter Frank, housing Sarah C. Griffin, the quartet costumed by Jamiellyn Duggan. The men, garbed in iconic scruffy clothing, open up the refrigerator door to reveal Griffin jack-knifed in its interior, trailing gown befitting ‘Thirties style glamour, and three pairs of high-heeled shoes which she removes, steps into and removes at various moments before clutching all three and reverting to her original cold storage.. The contrast between the beer-culture behavior of the men and the intense glamour, unfufilled, was as fascinating as Griffin is as a dancer, clearly a major talent.

Seiwart’s Instructions was clearly the major component of the program and her plunge into narrative, in this instance a lengthy poem by Neil Garman, augmented by Benjamin Britten’s Suite for Cello, played on stage by Michelle Kwon, stopping and starting as dancer-actor Scott Marlowe spoke the lines and seven dancers provided the territory or obstacles which the wayfarer encountered. Seiwart’s capacity for groupings grounded her foray into narrative, utilizing gestures and postures suggesting the terrain through which the traveller moved. Susan Roemer’s black costumes enhanced the quasi-magical implications of Garman’s words. It’s a work that should be seen again.

Caniparoli’s Four in the Morning took its inspiration from William Walter’s music for Facade, though completely different from Frederick Ashton’s selections from the poem of Edith Sitwell. Costumer Susan Roemer clothed the men in their skivvies, shoes with socks to mid-calf and the women in lightly cream-colored slip-like satin gowns, while each verse was marked by a clock-like entry on back stage left-side curtain, slightly blurred because of the scarlet folds. Caniparoli has created a tongue-in-check entertaining pieces for Smuin Ballet, but nothing to my knowledge set to speech. Sitwell’s verse runs a path trippingly on the tongue in the best Gilbert and Sullivan manner; the content, however, is as pared down and suggestive as the deshabile of the costuming, the women with knowing and occasionally with some come hither, shoulder gestures, cocked chins and flicks of the hand. The men lunge, pirouette, lifting the women, disappear with one suggestively, tossing out garments to suggest the inevitable horizontal postures.  But no, one garment is a kilt.

Both Caniparoli and Sewiart’s works utilized all eight dancers: Sarah C. Griffin, Rachel Furst, Annali Rose, Beth Ann Maslinoff, James Gilmer, Peter Franc, Andre Silva and Scott Marlowe.

Thanks to Amy Seiwart and her generous Sketch, next summer is something to anticipate.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: