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When: Sept. 25-27, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $18-$25

Breaking down Beauty

"The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty never." So says Oscar Wilde, one of the most widely inspirational artists of all time, whose work has been rehashed by countless others. The latest group taking a stab at his idea of beauty vs. beast is Maurya Kerr's San Francisco-based contemporary dance company, tinypistol. Billed as "anti-pretty," tinypistol features a body of work that has no qualms about being overtly grisly and, well, ugly. Past pieces have had titles like sad monsters and used movements usually reserved for paranoid or suffering animals, not formally trained dancers. In the company's newest works, beast and Wantful, shown together this week, Kerr draws inspiration from Wilde through a feminist perspective. Expect violent thrashing and an "unromantic study of duets" — all performed in Kerr's signature over-the-top, angsty choreography style. Think dancers can't howl and growl with the best of them? Kerr's performers will have to because when you have the nerve to preface your work with Wilde's, you've got a lot to prove.

— Laura Jaye Cramer


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