Tag Archives: Isadora Duncan Dance Awards

Sayonara to the S.F. Bay Guardian

15 Oct

It was something of a shock this morning [October 14, 2014] to read on S.F.Gate‘s website that The S.F. Bay Guardian, the politically progressive, feisty weekly, distributed free of charge, would publish its last edition October 15.

What is even more astonishing is that by choice, Rita Felciano, The Guardian’s dance critic for just about 25 years, said she was writing her final review for its pages with her appraisal of Garrett-Moulton’s September 19-21 production of “Luminous Edge” at Yerba Buena Center’s Lam Theatre.  Nothing in her comments indicated she knew her critical position was about to be abolished.

Rita served as editor for the Dance Citics Association Newsletter, and co-organized a symposium on Serge Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, when Helgi Tomasson first premiered his own reading of that swirling score for San Francisco Ballet.

Rita was also assiduous in attending performances by small groups and fledgling choreographers, her comments animated, judicious and invariably intelligent.

Rita’s record of reviews and articles has been admirable;  fortunately, not confined to The Guardian. Her articles have appeared in Dance Magazine and Dance Studio Life, and she has written specialized entries for compendiums on modern dance. She also served as a consultant for the Pew Trust in Philadelphia, appraising the dance organizations in the City of Brotherly Love. At some point, her skills in the German language took her to Leipzig where she observed the Grand Opera Ballet of Leipzig.  Additionally, The San Jose Mercury used her talents to cover South Bay dance events, primarily the performances of Ballet San Jose.

I believe it was the 1997-1998 season cycle of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards which bestowed on Rita a Sustained Achievement Award, introduced by Ann Murphy at Ann’s request. Murphy started her comments by mentioning that Rita was writing in English as her fourth language. A native of Switzerland, Rita grew up fluent in German, French and Italian, learning English perhaps after meeting her husband and “love of my life” Richard Felciano. Accepting the award at the Ceremony held in ODC’s pre-remodeled Performance Gallery, Rita quipped, “It’s a bit like being the flavor of the month.”

Rita will continue to write for Danceviewtimes on the Web, and I know that the magazines which have contained her by-line are ready, eager, to have her contribute.

The regrets expressed at her resignation were frequent, and I wondered who might be so intrepid to attempt to follow her;. In an odd sense of justice, there will be no replacement.. Sayonara.