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RAWdance's Double Exposure a Bountiful Blur

by Joanna G. Harris
August 1, 2016
ODC Theater
3153 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9834
Joanna G. Harris Author, Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1916-1965. Regent Press, Berkeley, CA, 2009. Contributor to reviews on culturevulture.net
RAWdance co-artistic directors Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith are two extraordinary dancers who have taken on the work of 16 choreographers in 12 duets for Double Exposure, July 28-31, 2016 at San Francisco's ODC Theater. What began in 2012 as an adjustment to a postponed project has become an adventure in capturing the work of varied choreographers, each offering a two-minute piece. Between the offerings, Rein and Smith, talk (live and on video), change costumes and generally keep the kinetic energy going.

It’s almost too much. A viewer must pay careful attention to a name projected and flashed above the dance space, then quickly adjust to the style, technique and point of view illustrated in the 2-minute works. For example, the inveterate Joe Goode’s piece begins with a discussion about Goode’s work (predictable) and then the work itself, the dancers seated, on chairs, with more dialogue.

The pieces vary in pace from lively locomotion sequences (from choreographer KT Nelson) to a long full body hug by choreographers Shinichi and Dana love-Koga. Many of today’s choreographers demand specific hand gestures (fingers clenched, hands waved) and erratic quick touches between the dancers, feet to body parts, backs to bottoms, heads placed almost anywhere. There’s always a lot going on.

For this viewer, the material is so impacted (though well executed) that it is difficult to follow the through-line (if there is one) of the work. Rein and Smith have an accomplished versatility to adapt to each style. It is almost with great relief when at the end (a work by by Amy Seiwert), the two were dressed in formal clothes and presented a brilliant, but ludicrous, example of ballroom dance. Despite my misgivings on the structure of the program, Rein and Smith are to be thoroughly applauded. Double Exposure is a challenging example of where dance is at now.

Choreographers for the production included Joe Goode (SF), Ann Carlson (LA), Shinichi and Dana Iova-Koga (Oakland), KT Nelson (SF), David Roussève (LA), Kate Wallich (Seattle), casebolt and smith (LA), Amy Seiwert (SF), Amy O'Neal (Seattle), Tahni Holt (Portland), Holly Johnston (Long Beach), and Monique Jenkinson/Fauxnique (SF). Each offered a unique challenge to the dancers: each challenge was well fulfilled.

The Creative Team consisted of Jim French, Lighting; Kristen McCullough, Costumes and Sean Riley, Scenic Design.

Photo © & courtesy of Andrew Weeks

Photo © & courtesy of Andrew Weeks

Photo © & courtesy of Andrew Weeks

Photo © & courtesy of Andrew Weeks

Photo © & courtesy of Andrew Weeks

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