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 111 talented artists over 25 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, Fleishhacker Foundation, 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

  • Wendy Rein Co-Artistic Director

    Bio here.

  • Ryan T. Smith Co-Artistic Director

    Bio here.

  • Katerina (Katie) Wong Co-Artistic Director

    Bio here.

  • Aiyana D’Arcangelo Program Manager

    Before moving to back to the U.S. earlier this year, Aiyana was living in the U.K. and working for Scottish Dance Theatre, Scotland’s national contemporary dance company, under the direction of Fleur Darkin. As Senior Producer, she led the company’s touring activity to venues around the world, including India, China, Brazil, Mexico, many European countries, and across the U.K. Additionally, she supported the creation of new works by Botis Seva, Sharon Eyal, Colette Sadler, Emanuel Gat, and Fleur Darkin. Previous production work in the U.S. includes: New York University (Tisch School of the Arts, New York and Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy), Robert Wilson (Watermill Center for the Arts/Byrd Hoffman Foundation), Lincoln Center Festival, Cynthia Hopkins (Must Don’t Whip ‘Um – National U.S. Tour), and St. Ann’s Warehouse. Aiyana studied Theatre at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (B.A., 2004) and Managing in the Creative Industries at the University of St Andrews (M.A., 2012).

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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 is the sole proprietor of Giselle Chow Consulting 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.

  • Rebekah Enderle Treasurer

    As an avid proponent of the arts, community engagement, and RAWdance’s breathtaking work, Rebekah is thrilled to join the RAWdance Board of Directors as Treasurer. She has worked in financial services since 2007 with roles encompassing client service, research, operations, and compliance most recently. In her spare time she adores dancing. Rebekah received her Master of Arts degree in French Studies from New York University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and French from the University of Connecticut.
  • 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.

  • Pam Kramer Secretary

    Pam Kramer recently joined the RAWdance Board and became a San Francisco resident after 23 years in the Bay Area suburbs. Her current work is focused on new media, podcasting, and audio innovation. She works with young companies and innovations that are poised to become part of everyday culture because she enjoys the process of figuring out how to help make something new, and useful, catch on. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in Japanese cultural anthropology. Pam also serves on the board of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and supports local arts and progressive educational organizations.

  • 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.

  • Elizabeth Sheets Orcutt

    Storytelling and the arts have always held a special place in Elizabeth’s heart. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography, as well as a minor and certificate in Holistic Health. After performing as an artist and rehearsal director with Push Dance Company for three years, Elizabeth made her way into the non-profit sector as Operations Manager at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation, where her organization and customer-focused approach supported programs, staff, operations, and facility maintenance. She now works for Diablo Regional Arts Association, the non-profit partner of the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek as Communications and Outreach Manager. Elizabeth is grateful to combine her personal passions and professional experiences to bring the arts to her community.

  • Sean Waugh

    Sean Waugh joined the Artistic Department at San Francisco Opera in May 2010 where he oversees artistic operations and assists with matters related to casting and season planning. Sean helped launch San Francisco Opera’s experimental programming arm SF Opera Lab in 2016 and has served as the lead producer of its award-winning offsite “Pop-Up” series. He is an advocate of disruptive business practices and the application of human-centered design in the arts. In 2017, he launched San Francisco Opera’s SFO+ initiative, using design thinking methodologies across the organization in an effort to drive innovation and cultural change. He has led a number of organizational partnerships including collaborations with the Stanford d.school, Smule, and The City of San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation. Sean was previously a student in the Performing Arts Administration Program at New York University where he completed internships with the Metropolitan Opera, OPERA America, the Castleton Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera and the Handel & Haydn Society. He is a graduate of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University where he worked as a member of the faculty’s recruitment team and founded the Musicians’ Health Series, the Schulich Ambassador Program, and the Music Career Service, all which have grown to be integral programs at the institution today. He is a recipient of a California NextGen Leadership Development Award and was selected for the OPERA America Leadership Intensive in 2014. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at OPERA America, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the New.Co Festival.