Along with local favorites, New York-based Gallim Dance is among the rising stars making up the varied programming at the fourth annual Walking Distance Dance Festival at ODC's two-site dance complex in the Mission this weekend.
Each performance in the two-day festival is presented twice, giving audiences the option to choose which to see first before walking the short distance to the other venue.
On Friday, the festival's opening day, Gallim Dance presents the West Coast premiere of “Pupil Suite,” a piece performed to music by Israeli band Balkan Beat Box and a recording of Maria Callas singing “Casta diva” from Bellini's “Norma”: (“… Temper, O Goddess… your bold zeal, scatter peace across the earth…”)
Andrea Miller, artistic director of Gallim Dance, explains the name and her aesthetic. “Gallim means 'wave' in Hebrew. The idea came from what the creative process is like. It's about our awareness of some kind of momentum – in society, in the dance, in art, in the studio – and within that we carve our own voice,” she says.
“Pupil” exemplifies Miller's trademark vigor. “My approach is to give the full expression of the body and of our capacity as humans: the face, the arms, the joints, the skin, the fantasy, the imagination,” she adds.
Friday's bill also includes ODC artists-in-residence Wendy Rein and Ryan Smith of RAWDance, performing six duets titled “Double Exposure.”
Saturday afternoon's program features ODC artist-in-residence Amy Siewert's “Imagery/Static,” with music from Zoe Keating, Steve Reich and Gyorgy Ligeti, paired with Namita Kapoor's “Hindu Swing,” a joyful homage to jazz dance pioneer Jack Cole.
Closing the festival Saturday evening are excerpts from Jess Curtis/Gravity's “The Dance that Documents Itself,” which, as it examines the effects of digital technology, traces the history of San Francisco's lost performance spaces.
The program's companion piece is from Bay Area native Gerald Casel, who has returned to the region after 23 years in New York and abroad, where he honed his deceptively minimalist, emotional choreography.
His piece “Dwelling” evokes the sense of dislocation, something, he says, that mirrors the current reality in San Francisco.
“Artists are being priced out of their homes,” says Casel, who knows a thing or two about uprootedness, having moved five times in five years.
The element of chance in his choreography invokes a feeling of lack of control: “What gets conveyed is a sense of confusion, that the body has lost its compass,” he says, adding that rather than literal storytelling, “Dwelling” demonstrates how disruption affects one's emotions, sense of self and physical body.
The festival also presents ODC's flagship company ODC/Dance in free performances of KT Nelson's 2012 piece “Transit” in the parking lot of St. Charles School (at 3250 18th St., across the street from ODC Dance Commons) at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday.
IF YOU GO
Walking Distance Dance Festival
Where: Studio B, ODC Dance Commons, 351 Shotwell St.; B.Way Theater, ODC Theater 3153 17th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 5, 4 and 8 p.m. June 6
Tickets: $30 to $65 (pass)
Contact: (415) 863-9834, www.odcdance.org