About

Bold craft.  Arresting beauty.

About/History:

An award-winning contemporary dance company formed in 2004, RAWdance is known for transforming theaters and public spaces with intellectually and emotionally layered performances. Through the unique partnership of Co-Artistic Directors Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein, the company has earned a reputation for its visually striking, kinetically charged works that consistently push into exciting territory. SF Weekly dubbed the company’s work “edgy, sexy inventive fare designed to speak to audiences.” Critical Dance has described it as “experimental work done brilliantly.” And the SF Chronicle heralded the Artistic Directors’ “genuine partnership, one of the more thrilling in Bay Area dance.”

ARTISTS / TEACHERS / DIRECTORS
A resident company of ODC Theater, RAWdance has also been supported through residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Ucross, CounterPULSE, Jon Sims Center, and Marble House Project. The SF Bay Guardian honored RAWdance with a GOLDIE in 2014; In 2010 the company was awarded a Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) award. Smith and Rein are frequent guest artists at universities and high schools. RAWdance has been presented by the Singapore Fringe Festival, YBCA’s Bay Area Now, Joyce SoHo, ODC Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Dance St. Louis’ Spring to Dance, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, and others.

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
Notable places the company has performed include Singapore, China, Chicago, IL, Providence, RI, St. Louis, MO, Williamstown, MA, Washington DC, and NYC, among others. In addition to public presentations, the company’s recent work with short dance films has received international recognition. since you went, created in collaboration with Rapt Productions and shot at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, has been screened in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States at NYC’s Dance on Camera, the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, and many other regional festivals. RJ Muna’s short dance film Written in the Margins, featuring RAWdance’s Co-Artistic Directors as performers, took the prize for best short at the 2013 San Francisco International Dance Film Festival.

ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
RAWdance has brought full-scale dance to art galleries, UN Plaza, Union Square, Yerba Buena Gardens, City Hall, and SF’s Westfield mall, among other venues. In 2010, RAWdance was honored as a finalist in SF Weekly’s Masterminds Awards for its innovative approach to alternative spaces. Furthering efforts to inspire dialogue and engage the community, in 2007 the company launched the biannual CONCEPT series, an informal and intimate salon of contemporary dance. The series has presented 86 talented artists over 20 iterations and was named “Best Way to Sample SF’s Contemporary Dance Scene” by SF Weekly in 2012.

FUNDERS / SUPPORTERS
RAWdance’s activities has been made possible through generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, Dancers’ Group, CA$H, a grants program of Theatre Bay Area, in partnership with Dancers’ Group, YBCAway program, Creative Capacity Fund, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation’s USArtists International program, CHIME, and many presenting organizations.

Staff

  • Ryan T. Smith Co-Artistic Director

    Bio here.

  • Wendy Rein Co-Artistic Director

    Bio here.

  • Alda Tchochiev General Manager

    Alda segued into her role at RAWdance following a successful season as Production Manager for the 7th Soundwave Biennial in the summer of 2016. Perpetually curious, Alda values experimentation, process, and dialogue as crucial components of any creative endeavor. She discovered a strong affinity for performance art concerned with social engagement while in graduate school and began curating conversations such as those for the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival and scheming ways to use performative gestures to trigger discussions among ethnoculturally specific arts organizations and the immigrant/diaspora communities. Alda completed her M.A. in Art History & Criticism and M.A. in Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015.

  • Megan Kurashige CONCEPT series Coordinator

    Megan is a San Francisco based dancer and choreographer. She works with her sister, Shannon Kurashige, on wild collaborative projects as the co-directors and co-choreographers of Sharp & Fine. She also performs with Liss Fain Dance, where she has been a company member since 2010. She previously worked with choreographers Christian Burns (burnsWORK), Alex Ketley (The Foundry), and Amy Seiwert, and performed with Ballet Pacifica and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. She studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Summer Lee Rhatigan and the Academy of Ballet under the direction of Richard Gibson. She is also a writer. Her fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies and she is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. sharpandfine.com

Board of Directors

  • Giselle Chow President

    Giselle is a longtime fan of RAWdance’s highly considered and purposeful work. She finds working with the company and those who support it is an important way to underscore the value of art in her daily life. She currently serves as senior consultant at the Grove Consultants International in San Francisco, where she designs, leads, and facilitates group and institutional change processes. Her area of practice is graphic facilitation; the creation of large-scale drawings and graphics in real time that enable participants to see their work, identify patterns, and make connections. Her work is informed by appreciative inquiry, narrative theory, and participatory decision-making. She is particularly interested in what can occur when groups of disparate thinkers are engaged in complex work, searching for alignment and possible solutions. Giselle also has extensive experience in teaching, learning, and school leadership, and worked for over a decade in the area of school access, equity, and inclusion. In addition to spending an inordinate amount of time thinking and dreaming about markers, Giselle can always be engaged in conversations about seasonal fruit and produce or how to make the perfect cup of coffee.

  • Susan Kobayashi Treasurer

    Captivated by the beauty, creativity and unique accessibility of RAWdance, Susan joined the Board as Treasurer. Susan has 28 years of experience in Finance and Investment Management and 47 years of experience as a dancer. Most recently, Susan was the Head of Global Macro Strategy at State Street Global Advisors. Susan also shares roots with Ryan and Wendy as a Brown University alumna and former dancer in Brown’s modern dance repertory company, Dance Extension.  Susan has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Brown and an M.B.A. and M.A. in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley.

  • Jean K. Ries Secretary

    Jean identifies herself as a dancer, a feminist, an athlete, a mother, a wife, and a professional working in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Originally from New York City, she met Wendy Rein while in the Fieldston High School Dance Company. Jean joined the RAWdance board after relocating from Solana Beach, CA, where she spent free time dancing back up for a local band and frolicking on the beach. As Principal of JKR Consulting, she partners with nonprofits and their funders managing change and building capacity. Recent clients include: the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse), and Streetside Stories. While at Olive Grove Consulting, Jean worked with a diverse base of arts, social service, youth, health, and community-based organizations, helping them manage change in challenging environments. Client examples include: ODC, The Performing Arts Workshop, Intersection for the Arts, Hillel International, The Helmsley Charitable Trust, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In her spare time she teaches dance-party-on-the-bike spin classes on the Peninsula. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and graduated, with honors from Vassar College with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Philosophy.

  • Iris Fluellen

    Iris Fluellen is a Bay Area native and San Francisco resident whose claim to fame is having lived in the 415 area code her entire life. She has been involved in the non-profit arena for many years holding positions at the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Asian Art Museum, the Nature Conservancy, the Public Policy Institute of California, and her alma mater, UC Berkeley. Presently, Iris is the DIRECTOR OF LEADERSHIP GIFTS for the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

    Along with her commitment to philanthropy, she is a strong believer in the arts being the catalyst for the creative spirit that lies within all of us. Iris is a long-time board member of the SOMArts Cultural Center and in her spare time, writes about her observations on politics and relationships between the sexes. Movies, reading, cooking and traveling are almost as important to her as her two cats, Carrie and Samantha.

  • Melissa Hudson Bell

    Melissa Hudson Bell is a dancer, choreographer and researcher based in Berkeley, CA. She has a PhD in Critical Dance Studies and an MFA in Experimental Dance from UC Riverside, and she currently teaches at Santa Clara University. Her research and choreographic interests circulate around 21st century strategies for audience engagement, especially those that incorporate food as a means of enlivening the senses, invoking memory, or crafting community. For more on her work, visit melissahudsonbell.com.

  • Alex McClure

    Alexandra is an attorney who lives and works in San Francisco. She has a passion for dance, and became an ardent fan of RAWdance after seeing two of the company’s free, public performances: 2×24: Love on Loop, performed in San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza; and A Public Affair, performed in SF’s City Hall Rotunda. She joined the board in 2013. Alex’s past non-profit volunteer work has been centered around issues relating to children in need. She was a member of the fundraising auxiliary for Edgewood Center for Children and Families from 2006-2012, and currently serves as co-president of the board of a small non-profit in San Francisco called The Reading Tree, an early childhood literacy organization. In college, Alex was a dancer and choreographer with Orchesis Dance Company at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. She is honored to be part of RAWdance and wants to facilitate its mission of making dance accessible to a broader audience through increased fundraising and development.