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Sharp & Fine’s ‘All Roads’ an engaging journey

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Sonja Dale, left, and Jane Selna appear in Sharp & Fine’s “All Roads Are Lined With Teeth.” (Courtesy Benjamin Hersh)
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A palpable tension runs throughout “All Roads Are Lined With Teeth,” a world-premiere dance by Sharp & Fine onstage at ODC Theater.

Yet it’s much more than a dance.

Choreographers-directors-dancers Megan and Shannon Kurashige, teaming with writer Amber Hsu and composer Aram Shelton, have made an engaging just-over-an-hour tale that beautifully illustrates one young woman’s intense emotional, and physical, journey.

While some of the details aren’t necessarily explicit — although the girl clearly does experience love – the piece really resonates throughout.

Authentic, diverse movement (by five skilled, and speaking, dancers), provocative staging (benches are cleverly employed), poetic and vivid wordplay (a mesmerizing scene has a dentistry lesson, of sorts), and a haunting score (played by an excellent four-piece band) comprise a satisfying, sometimes thrilling, wholly original package.

As the show begins, protagonist Sonja Dale, wearing fuchsia, sits alone in a single spotlight. Light comes up and she’s introduced by her fellow performers: Jane Selna (in blue), Chelsea Reichert (in green), Shannon Kurashige (in brown) and Megan Kurashige (in gray), who each grab attention as they describe someone “on the brink of survival, holding on for dear life.”

At the outset, mournful music – cello, clarinets, flute, percussion, saxophones and vibraphone played by Shelton, Jordan Glenn, Teddy-Rankin Parker and Cory Wright – accentuates the proceedings.

Immediately eliciting empathy, Dale calls herself “a girl who was neither beautiful, nor ugly, nor good, nor bad,” as she deftly (though seemingly precariously) balances on a ledge-like bench.

Her fellow performers also move (and move on) benches in contemporary, highly varied choreography that’s alternately jagged and fluid, while the accompanying free jazz sounds go from plucking, creaking and jangling to honking, banging and crashing, perfectly complementing the action.

Duets find the dancers carrying or dragging each other (particularly Dale and her beloved, Selna), while Reichert dazzles with the aforementioned dental speech, and eye-catching jerky, spasm-like movements.

The Kurashige sisters perform the piece’s most balletic sequences.

All in all, “All Roads” is an intriguing production that fulfills its makers mission to “make a live performance a necessity and a pleasure” and “change the parameters of what is expected of a dance performance.”

REVIEW
All Roads Are Lined With Teeth
Presented by Sharp & Fine
Where: ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F
When: 8 p.m. April 8-9, 2 p.m. April 10
Tickets: $20 to $25
Contact: (415) 863-9834, www.odcdance.org/buytickets

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