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ODC Theater's Walking Distance Dance Festival's Program Two Only Partially Worth the Stroll

by Joanna G. Harris
May 19, 2019
ODC Theater
3153 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9834
The Walking Distance Dance Festival, an annual event at ODC Theater in San Francisco, involves some walking but not a whole lot. For its second program May 16 & 17 that meant a short walk from the ODC Dance Commons to the ODC Theater. But the short walk brought a great contrast in performance energy, organization and impact.

Program two began with American-Israeli teacher and choreographer Barak Marshall's 10-member group from USC's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance presenting his work “Monger”. Previously shown in the area at the San Francisco International Arts Festival in 2011, "Monger" is a dance-drama about a group of servants trapped in the basement of the house of an abusive mistress.

Program notes suggest that the work has “elements from Gypsy, Balkan, rock and Western classical music, exploring the compromises one makes in order to survive.”

The dancing shows no compromise, although spoken dialogue through a mike offers obedience to the mistress’ requests. The energetic and eloquent, yet complex, movement phrases of first the men’s group and then the women’s group showed no compromise in dance skill nor projection.

As the work progressed, so too did the demands of the mistress. Yes, the women reject the men: that’s today’s positive statement. But as a whole, “Monger” demonstrates the dance skill and theater projection necessary to captivate its audience.

The ten dancers in the work were: Sidney Chuckas, Brendan Evans, Satori Folkes-Stone, Ausia Jones, Zachary Manske, Alexandra Policaro, Rae Srivastava, Amaria Stern, Kaylin Sturtevant and Mariano Zamora-Gonzalez. Bravo to all!

Marshall is also to be congratulated for the choreography and the intriguing idea for the work as well as his choices of music that included the nostalgic “Stardust” by Tommy Dorsey.

Next, Kinetech Arts’ “Resonant Frequencies” was less notable. The choreographer, Daiane Lopes da Silva in collaboration with dancers Hien Huynh, Nathaniel Moore, Juliet Paramor and Hannah Wasielewski, were not well organized in either movement nor choreographic design. There was a wonderful white tent over the set, but the odd bit of lighting and other technical effects seemed to get lost as the dancers wandered through the production. The stage was dark and difficult to follow the events. Weidong Yang, Tanja London and KA Open Labs, the groups that worked on the technology, needed to rework “Resonant Frequencies” so that it came across better.
[Archive Photo] BFA students in Barak Marshall's 'Monger'

[Archive Photo] BFA students in Barak Marshall's "Monger"

Photo © & courtesy of Rose Eichenbaum

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