(This article originally appeared in the print publication of The Monthly, May 2015 issue)
The Monthly — May 2015
Rock Out With Mom
Sarah Bush has just the thing for a memorable Mother’s Day.
There is something slightly icky, or sentimental, about Mother’s Day. Most of us may have difficulties finding an appropriate present for the woman who gave us birth and raised us to the best of her abilities. But we know by now that it takes a village to raise a child.
For dancer/choreographer Sarah Bush, a longtime member of the feminist Dance Brigade, that village was peopled by the artists and activists of the 1970s and ’80s. The inhabitants include singers like Holly Near, Cris Williamson, and Meg Christensen; the collective that founded Olivia Records; the still-strong Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival; and Club Q, once San Francisco’s hottest spot in town. With Rocked by Women, Bush wanted to pay tribute to those mothers even as she created it for the young students in her urban contemporary dance classes at Oakland’s New Style Motherlode studio who knew so very little about those pioneering artists.
An invitation to Rocked just might be a good Mother’s Day present.
the piece resonates like a bell with the joy, confusion, struggle, and heartaches that most of us experience on the way to adulthood. Rocked is vibrant and nuanced dance theater
Bush set this ebullient work on her all-female Sarah Bush Dance Project, drawing a lot from her own experiences. Yet the piece resonates like a bell with the joy, confusion, struggle, and heartaches that most of us experience on the way to adulthood. Rocked is vibrant and nuanced dance theater, starting with babes in arms, going through childhood, moving past growing pains, entering the identity search, and, for the lucky, the finding of somebody to hold.
While the 75-minute work shows off all the resources of hip-hop, modern, ballet, and contact improvisation on offer, the work is grounded in Julie Wolf’s score composed and assembled from other women songwriters. In an earlier iteration, Bush danced a duet with her own mother; this time, Mom will sit in the audience.
Rocked by Women, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 10; $30-$40; Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice St., Oakland; SarahBushDance.com.