Visitors to the James Howell Studio in Duboce Triangle instantly notice the beauty of the space, with its high ceilings and brick walls, but they might not know the rich history of the dance and yoga facility nor its namesake, James Howell. He closely collaborated with Joffrey Ballet cofounder Gerald Arpino in New York City before he moved to the West Coast in 1973 to build his own dance space. Howell died of AIDS-related causes in 1982, but not before composing the groundbreaking ballet Ritual: The Journey of the Soul, which deals with AIDS head-on.
Since Howell's death, his studio has remained a site for innovative dance, also providing space for things such as donation-based yoga and exercise classes for Parkinson's patients. Local company RAWdance has found its intimate environs a perfect fit for its ongoing showcase "the CONCEPT," a sort of dance anthology launched in 2007 that has featured more than 30 artists and companies. The centerpiece of this installment, "the CONCEPT series: 8," which runs Saturday and Sunday, is RAWdance's 2007 piece "the ties that bound, studies," which explores the limitations of human relationships.
It also provides a look at new work RAWdance is just starting to develop. Other treats include a solo performance by Margaret Cromwell set to the surreal, spooky-beautiful music of Thomas Carnacki and a dose of cutting-edge ballet courtesy of Amy Seiwert's Imagery. Every iteration of "the CONCEPT" brings something new, so prepare to be surprised.
"The CONCEPT series: 8" starts at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29, at James Howell Studio, 66 Sanchez (at 14th St). Admission is by donation.
For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.