A premiere by RAWdance, in partnership with TJPA’s Salesforce Park
Performance Map / Letter from the AD / About Portal / Land Acknowledgement / Artist Bios / About RAWdance / About Salesforce Park / Special Thanks / Support
Concept and Choreography: Katerina Wong, in collaboration with the performers
Mixed Media Design: Ephraim Colbert
Performers: Claire Fisher, Jhia Jackson, ArVejon Jones, Nick Wagner, Juliann Witt, and Erin Yen
Music: Michael Wall
Text: Jennifer Cheng
Sound Design: Katerina Wong
Costume Design: Jhia Jackson
Technical Direction/Lighting Design: Thomas Bowersox
Production/Stage Management: Jes DeVille
Technical Assistants: Aaron Gold and Eric Walker
Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) is the owner and operator of the Salesforce Transit Center and Park. More information can be found here: www.tjpa.org.
It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that TJPA’s Salesforce Park and RAWdance’s home base are located in Yelamu, also known as San Francisco, on the unceded territory of the Ramaytush Ohlone people. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Ramaytush Ohlone, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations and encourage you to learn more about the land where you reside at NATIVE-LAND.CA. To take direct action towards rematriation, read about the Bay Area’s Shuumi Land Tax.
Portal Performance Map
Click to see performance sites and guidance for getting the most out of each experience
Gather at the Main Plaza, an illuminated grid of glass and stone floor surrounded by the Park’s iconic greenery. Audiences may watch the opening of the performance seated or standing from all three sides of the space.
Witness the introduction of Portal, as we come together to acknowledge our current state of ongoing turbulence, uncertainty, and regrowth.
The middle section of the work consists of 5 performance installations that can be watched in any order. Choose a site to start at and rotate to the next when you’re ready. Experience however many you’d like and come and go as you please. Each site will include a loop with a performance lasting approximately 4 minutes, followed by a 4 minute pause to allow time to transition between sites. This loop will occur five times in total to allow you to catch all five performances, if desired. Please stay on the concrete paths when viewing the performances. Do not sit or stand in the grassy areas where the dancers are moving. Look to our volunteers for guidance should you have questions.
CLEANSE, performed by Jhia Jackson
Sense the rejuvenating nature of water and be reminded of its nurturing force and ability to cultivate life. If the park’s fountain goes off during the performance, you’re welcome to dip your hands in it.
KINDRED, performed by Claire Fisher and ArVejon Jones
Support systems come in all shapes and sizes — partners, siblings, parents, friends, etc. While these relationships are complex, they offer a vital resource for comfort and stability. If you’ve come to the show with someone in your “pod” or “bubble”, you are encouraged to make contact — hold their hand or touch their shoulder — while you watch together.
RESONANCE, performed by Nick Wagner
Take a moment to be still and really listen. Tap into the vibrations of the city and natural world around us to connect with a deeper sense of self. Activate vibrations and sound for the performer by ringing the percussion instruments and allowing the sound waves to wash over everyone.
CONFINE / DEFINE, performed by Erin Yen
How does our identity — the labels, categories, and definitions that society places on us — create experiences of confinement, isolation, and frustration? How might we cut through these associations to tap into a more truthful and authentic self? Think about all the ways you may be defined, and how these roles can empower rather than minimize you.
RESILIENCE, performed by Juliann Witt
Images of rollercoasters, brick walls, and detour signs flood the mind when reflecting on the past year. Yet we continue to try to find ways to process and move forward, hopefully even stronger. Think of a word or image that describes how you cope with unexpected circumstances. Write it on the paper notes and hang it on our shared clothesline. Some of your thoughts will be read aloud for our dancer to respond to.
After all 5 loops have completed, audiences will gather at the opposite end of the park in the Main Amphitheater. You may choose to sit or stand anywhere on the lawn but please be mindful to not block the view of audience members around you.
We tap into the power of our collective imagination, and envision a better future together. Video installations by Ephraim Colbert will coat the space with images of transformation and metamorphosis as we celebrate joy, community, and partnership.
Letter from the Artistic Director
The seed of this partnership with TJPA’s Salesforce Park was planted more than 2 years ago, but the project was promptly placed on pause, like all of our lives, due to the pandemic. It’s been a whirlwind experience creating this piece since San Francisco opened again to live performance. The pure joy and satisfaction that comes from being back together in person, collaborating as an artistic unit after months of online screen time, has made it all more than worthwhile. I am truly grateful for each artist, designer, and organizer, who has worked so hard to bring this new work to life. Thank you so much for joining us and enjoy the performance!
– Katerina Wong
Read more about the artists and collaborators…
Thomas Bowersox is a lighting designer, production manager, and technical director based in SF. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida, who has been working freelance in the entertainment industry for the past decade.
Ephraim Colbert is a media producer experienced in creating original content and managing production from beginning to end for video, radio, and podcast. He is currently the Digital Media Production Manager for C4H (Capacity For Health) and Technical Director for KPFA Live Author Events. Ephraim is an alumnus of the KPFA First Voice Apprenticeship Program and AAU Communications and Media Technology Masters program. Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Ephraim has been living in Oakland for a decade. He is interested in projects that highlight community and provide a platform for underrepresented groups.
Jes DeVille is an Afro-Nuyorican choreographer and creative producer working across mediums to explore the intersections of physical fluency and environmental literacy through app-driven immersive events. Based in the SF Bay Area, Jes founded fringe entertainment troupe Haus Serpens in 2011 — later rebranding as Openhaus Athletics in 2017. Awarded the inaugural Updraft artist residency by vertical dance company Bandaloop in 2021, they continue to operate as Managing Director of site-specific performance nonprofit Epiphany Dance Theater after fulfilling positions as a corporate team building facilitator with urban adventure group The Go Game, production lead for SF City Hall Centennial, choreographer for PBS series Dragonfly TV — Kids Do Science and Big Bang! California Academy of Sciences After Dark, as well as talent buyer for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and World Education Congress.
Claire Fisher was born and raised in Tracy, California. She received a majority of her training from Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Northwest Dance Project. Residing in San Francisco, she has appeared in several works and collaborations with amazing artists and companies such as Brannigan Dance Works, Hayley Bowman, Fullstop Dance, dazaun.dance, Liv Schaffer, Nicole von Arx, and The MoveMessenger(s). Claire is super thankful to be working with RAWdance this fall for Portal at Salesforce Park!
Jhia Jackson is an artist, scholar, and organizer who regularly engages in interdisciplinary projects. At the core of her practice is the belief that art and life are not distinct. She has performed with Movement of the People Dance Company, dNaga Dance for the World Parkinson Congress, Alexandra Pirici, and Epiphany Dance Theater among others. She is the founder of Emerging Black Bay Artists, a Joe Goode Co-Production artist, and a doctoral candidate in sociology at UCSF.
ArVejon Jones is a Bay Area freelance dance artist and educator. Originally from Los Angeles, CA he has performed with Copious Dance Theater, Robert Moses’ Kin, PUSH Dance Company, SOULSKIN Dance, ODC/Dance, Concept o4, Sean Dorsey Dance, Prometheus Dance Theater, and Jean Appolon Expressions, among others. He has taught for multiple institutions including San Francisco State University, BodyVox, Boston Ballet, LINES/ SF Dance Center, and various private dance studios. He is delighted to be collaborating with RAWdance at Salesforce Park.
Nick Wagner grew up in the Seattle area and is a graduate of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and minor in Kinesiology. Since moving to the Bay Area, he has had the pleasure of working in the dance community as a performer, administrator, and somatic healer. Nick is a Certified Massage Therapist in California (CMT).
Juliann Witt was born in Marin and began dancing at a very young age. She received her BFA in Dance Performance from SUNY Purchase and performed briefly in New York City before returning to the Bay Area. Since her return, she has had the pleasure of dancing with many great artists including DTSF, Nol Simonse, Bellwether Dance Project, Dexandro “D” Montalvo, Fullstop Dance, Robert Moses’ Kin, Liv Schaffer, Concept o4, and RAWdance.
Katerina (Katie) Wong is a choreographer, movement artist, and Co-Artistic Director of RAWdance. Since graduating from Princeton University, she’s had the honor of performing with more than 15 Bay Area dance companies including Printz Dance Project, PUSH Dance Company, LEVYdance, Concept o4, and the San Francisco Symphony. Her work has been commissioned by Pop-Up Magazine, PUSH Dance Company, FACT/SF, Cutting Ball Theater, California Academy of Sciences, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, ACLU of Northern California, and more. Katie has been invited to participate in arts leadership programs by Dance/USA, Women of Color in the Arts, APAP, and Asylum Arts. Katie’s practice is rooted in meaningful collaboration, community bridge building, and artistic partnership.
Erin Yen holds a BFA with Distinction in Dance from The Ohio State University, where she became fluent in the Laban Systems of Movement Analysis. She was the first to use Labanotation to document Doug Varone’s work, and she can be found polishing this notated portion of Possession (’94.) Erin has danced with companies such as Alvin Ailey and BalletMet, and she has performed works by artists Ohad Naharin, Bebe Miller, and Johannes Weiland. Since moving to the Bay Area, Erin has performed at venues such as Glen Park, CounterPulse, and the Green Room. She is a current resident of San Mateo.
Read more about RAWdance…
RAWdance is an award-winning contemporary dance company known for transforming theaters and public spaces through performance, curation, collaboration, and film. The company creates adventurous, thoughtful, and welcoming programming that challenges what contemporary dance is, where it happens, who it includes, and the role it plays in our lives. A “rare treasure” (Critical Dance) and ”witty, whip-smart, and beautiful to watch” (San Francisco Chronicle), RAWdance has performed throughout the U.S. and in Asia.
In addition to creating original works of dance and dance film, since 2007 RAWdance has presented works by over 125 Bay Area artists through its CONCEPT series salon, and 20 additional site-specific works through its curation of YBG ChoreoFest. Founded in San Francisco in 2004 by Smith and Rein, the company grew to include Wong as a third Artistic Director in 2019, while also expanding to two locations — New York’s Hudson Valley as well as its home base in San Francisco. rawdance.org
About TJPA’s Salesforce Park
Read more about TJPA’s Salesforce Park
Seventy feet above the Grand Hall, Salesforce Park runs the entire length of the Salesforce Transit Center, which is owned and operated by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. TJPA is an historic collaboration between San Francisco Bay Area government and transportation agencies that delivers the Transbay program and manages the daily operations of the Transit Center and Park. Nearly four-blocks long and home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants arranged in 13 different botanical feature areas, Salesforce Park is an iconic garden oasis that is open daily and offers free public activities. Everyone’s welcome to enjoy this public park, a living roof where a curved walking trail lined with benches surrounds grassy lawns, dancing fountains, a children’s play area, and an amphitheater. More info at salesforcetransitcenter.com
Thanks so much to all of the dancers, designers, and collaborators energizing all corners of TJPA’s Salesforce Park! Many thanks to those working behind-the-scenes, including the hardworking staffs of TJPA, BRV Corp (shoutout to Nina, Kayla, and Jess!), and RAWdance, as well as all of our wonderful volunteers.
Portal is supported in part by the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Thank you for making future free public events possible!
Photography by Kyle Adler Photography