Not having access to internet sure messes with my blogging abilities! I am currently making use of the free wifi at ODC, one of San Francisco's dance schools. Although I have been in California over a month I feel it was only last week that I REALLY arrived in San Francisco as for the past month since my last blog I have been living in with a friend San Jose whilst I looked for something in the San Francisco.
There is not much dance in San Jose, but one thing that kept me in the loop, actually dropped me right in the middle of it, was assisting the choreographer Katie Faulkner with her site specific piece 'We Don't Belong Here', a collaboration with multi media artist Michael Trigilio. It was performed in two different locations in downtown San Francisco over two consecutive weekends, and consisted of an original score, numerous projections, lights and twenty dancers.
It was a great project to be involved in, for many reasons, most importantly everyone involved in the project was generous, friendly and supportive. Katie and Michael made me laugh so hard, and I was greatly touched by the warmth they showed me.
Then of course there is the wonder of site specific works/performing in public spaces. When I am involved in projects that move in to the general public's domain I am always reminded about how little art people have in their lives, something which saddens and astounds me but also makes me grateful for the art and creative people I am connected to.
The majority of rehearsals were onsite and I got asked all sorts of questions, but the one that threw me the most was 'Is she an artist?' directed at one of the dancers who was siting on a chair, in a bush, surrounded by a table, oil painting and lamp.
For some reason, to me this was a very complicated question, I didn't want to answer yes, because I felt like at that moment in time being 'an artist' was not the point of Maggie sitting on a chair in a bush, but it was interesting to see how people try to understand by giving labels to things.. girl in bush..weird behaviour..artist.
My favourite questions was from an arabic looking young man, who watching with wonder, confusion and a smile, asked, in broken English 'this is not normal?' There is however, nothing better than seeing a business man stop in his tracks, watch some dancing and then say 'that made my day'.
For more information about the piece click here
Being in San Francisco properly also means that I can get myself to class. This week I have taken Kathleen Hermesdorf's class, which to put it mildly, is bloody amazing. I knew she had rock star status but now I KNOW why.
I saw her perform at Ponderosa, a dance festival about 1 hour from Berlin, about four years ago and it had a strong impact on me. She performed with Sarah Shelton Mann and I was very inspired by the impact of these two women on stage and the experience and self knowledge they radiated, so Kathleen's class was on my list of things I had to do whilst in San Francisco.
If you ever get chance to do her class do it. She scared me but I felt safe. I was in awe but in an attainable way. Her movement challenged me but it made sense. She is a woman with an incredible amount of knowledge in her body, and who shares it.
Katie's project finished on Sunday, and I am not sure what's next on the cards for me. We will see.