I can feel summer coming… can you? Long days, more sunshine and outdoor activities, summer fruits and barbeques, graduations, travel. There’s a spirit of play in the air…
If you follow SBDP’s instagram you may have seen me dancing and photographing in the prairies. My mother and I took a trip to Nebraska to tour Red Cloud and small towns connected to our family history. It’s the first of many trips I’ll make there over the next few years as I start to research and germinate ideas for a new dance theater piece.
Here on the Oakland homefront, SBDP’s Homeward family reunited to rehearse an excerpt from our 2017 show in preparation for this Sunday’s East Bay Dances showcase at Laney College. Come see this delightful cast of characters perform in an impressive mixed program curated by the Oakland Ballet Company.
East Bay Dances
Sunday, June 2, 4:00 pm
Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center Theater
Laney College, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland
Tickets and info
Earlier this month, KJ and I had a blast performing the new duet we’d created about Queer Bodies and Safety In Public Spaces for BULBFEST outdoor art and dance at the Albany Bulb. Folks generously loaned us brightly colored safety gear to better “Stand Out” in the shadows, tree limbs and tall grasses. We explored shifting notions of trust and intimacy in relationship to the physics of the landscape and the removal of layers of protection. And wouldn’t you know it, right at the point in the piece when we have the greatest amount of exposed flesh, right when we were crouching down to slip into the grass, there they were, big snakes! — one coiled and still, others shimmying out from the raised earth. A performance first for me! It was a reminder we were really guests/intruders in their home. We asked politely if we might dance around them, adjusted our spacing and continued the show.
Also this month, I took part in a process and performance workshop with Israeli choreographer, Miriam Engel. In 10 hours we put together a piece called “Happy” about the mixed emotions around celebrations and marker events. I found myself in a position of needing to memorize what felt to me like a fair amount of fairly complicated text in a fairly short amount of time. The experience gave me a tiny window into what actors are asked to do all the time. As I rushed from our Shawl-Anderson Dance Center showing to the closing performance of Weightless at A.C.T.’s The Strand I had a renewed awe for the cast who were ROCKING IT as musicians and actors who also brilliantly embodied the show’s choreography.
As June approaches, I’m gearing up for Pride, gathering Oakland LGBTQ oral histories, planning SBDP’s summer fundraising campaign, booking dancers, signing theater contracts, writing grants and proposals, teaching classes, studying Willa Cather, programing our fall show, walking my dogs, and smelling the roses and jasmine.
I look forward to our paths crossing in June — in a field, in the streets, at the theater, in a dance class. What adventures does your summer hold?
Oh! One other exciting bit of news! Now that the show has been officially picked up by NBC I can tell you about it! Earlier this year I auditioned for a Crowd Dancer role in a TV pilot. And, I got the part! The audition, the rehearsals and the days shooting on the streets of SF were challenging and totally dreamy. Getting to witness two choreographers I admire, Emmy Award Winning choreographer Mandy Moore (La La Land) and associate choreographer Jillian Meyers, was awesome. Their artistry, professionalism, communication, teamwork, leadership and particularly the way they worked together was truly inspiring. My role is one of those “blink or you’ll miss it” or “quick, hit pause and take a screenshot!” scenarios. But I’m so excited to see the show and more of Mandy & Jillian’s incredible work.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a joyous and celebratory drama, Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) is a whip-smart, socially awkward, computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event, she starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs and even big musical numbers that they perform just for her. At ﬁrst, she questions her own sanity, but soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift.
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