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Culture, Dance Behind The Nutcracker

Behind The Nutcracker

In 1944, the San Francisco Ballet debuted the first-ever American production of The Nutcracker, which has enchanted children and dazzled audiences every year since. While we focus on the spritely spirits waltzing across the stage, there is more to the…
Culture, Dance Company Woman: Twyla Tharp

Company Woman: Twyla Tharp

A Twyla Tharp encounter is like an assault you'd pay your last dollar to repeat. Whatever your access point to the acclaimed choreographer — as a dancer, a regisseur staging her ballets, a writer shotgunned through an interview, or as…
Culture, Dance Collaborator


When I arrived in San Francisco light-years ago, Market Street was a sleepy boulevard dazed by bright light, occasional bursts of traffic, and packs of winos slumped in front of shuttered storefronts. People boasted about the two skyscrapers in town…
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Culture, Dance Flamenco Fever

Flamenco Fever

Last fall I went to see flamenco and Spanish dance at the tiny Eureka Theatre on Jackson, where a hint of stale popcorn still haunts the air from its days as a movie house. As the concert began, melancholy guitar…
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Culture, Dance The Tired Nut

The Tired Nut

It costs $1.5 million for 2 1/2 weeks of work for about 170 people, and it depends on fat bags, hats that look like wet dogs, weird harnesses, and 100 pounds of scrap paper in pieces slightly bigger than confetti.…
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Culture, Dance Outside  the Box

Outside the Box

Try to sneak choreographer Alonzo King into a categorical box, even in the role of iconoclast, and he turns impatient, almost testy. The tall, soft-spoken artistic director of Lines Ballet is the founder of the leading experimental ballet company in…
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Culture, Dance The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

They are the local dance world's odd couple -- two choreographers, about 10 years apart in age, staging concerts together for the last nine years, who are neither roommates nor romantic partners. They don't collaborate artistically. They're not even best…
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Culture, Dance Breath of Understanding

Breath of Understanding

Is dance a universal language that can be understood by anyone? Or is dance many languages with rules one has to first learn in order to understand and appreciate the various dialects? For the past 24 years, the San Francisco…
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Culture, Dance Life's a Beach

Life's a Beach

Out of the blue, choreographer Cheryl Chaddick's rabbit died last week. Buster had gone into the vet's for a routine something or other -- nothing he hadn't undergone before -- so Chaddick was aghast when the doctor called to tell…
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Culture, Dance Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air

In Jess Curtis' upcoming Fallen, you won't find an ankle-deep sea of office paper and fake body parts onstage. You also won't see any imploding buildings projected onto the backdrop, nor does the choreographer use film clips of people running…
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Culture, Dance Wise Bird

Wise Bird

In the grim arts climate of the last three decades, the politically committed and the lifelong rebels have best withstood the onslaught of tough times. For artists on the margins, fervent political belief has kept many of them going, even…
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Culture, Dance Amazon Queen

Amazon Queen

Ever since Contraband stormed the Bay Area dance scene in the mid-'80s, the grass-roots community has been throwing over traditional arts-organization hierarchies for collectives, partnerships, group rituals, and dance jams. At times, it has seemed that anyone could contribute to…
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Culture, Dance All's Fair in Love and War

All's Fair in Love and War

German choreographer Joachim Schlömer settles into the corner of the Olympia Hotel cafe near the Tenderloin with the sinuous acuity of a cat. His is the gracious, coolly accommodating manner of a busy man neither eager nor afraid to talk…
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Culture, Dance Mind Games

Mind Games

The setting makes me laugh: Curving walls of unseemly brown, plastered with blobs that resemble spitballs, breasts, or bundles of male organs, sprout short ribbons, like those given to 10-year-olds in gym class. But here the ribbons are multicolored, green…
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Culture, Dance In the Dance House

In the Dance House

When people talk about dance, they often conjure up an image of a large open field with lots of different things growing, all exposed to the same elements. But the dance world is more like a house with thousands of…
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Culture, Dance AXIS Powers

AXIS Powers

A month ago, Rhodessa Jones, the wisely sassy performance artist, stood in front of a microphone in the Green Room of the Herbst Theater. She was accepting the dance community's Isadora Duncan Award for best choreography on behalf of her…
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Culture, Dance Dance to  the Music

Dance to the Music

May is the month of exuberantly blooming flowers, a seeming profusion of women overripe with babies, and boisterous assemblies of birds and bees. It's also the lush, green bridge to summer, so it seems fitting that two romantics, Michael Smuin…
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Culture, Dance Flying High

Flying High

You have to laugh when soft-spoken Jo Kreiter calls herself the Shape Nazi. She doesn't mean that she leads Weight Watchers groups sporting black boots and a bullwhip, nor that she recklessly sculpts her body through liposuction and plastic surgery…
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Culture, Dance Next of KIN

Next of KIN

He began working in the family store in Philadelphia at the age of 6, when most kids are still struggling to tie their shoes. He was educated first as a Catholic -- his mom's religion -- then as a Black…
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Culture, Dance Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Ballet and intellectuality often seem to fit together about as well as George W. Bush and a good book. On the one hand, you've got ballet's anachronistic courtly pretension, with women in hooped gowns bowing beautifully, and men like so…
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