About YBG ChoreoFest / Land Acknowledgement / Program / Map / About Yerba Buena Gardens Festival / About RAWdance / Artist Bios / Special Thanks / Support
About YBG ChoreoFest
YBG ChoreoFest is a mini festival of dance within the broader Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Curated by RAWdance, its eight site-specific performances highlight the spectacular strength, diversity, and vibrancy of the Bay Area contemporary dance scene. Visit the main event page for the full 2022 artist lineup, with performances on July 23 & 30.
It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that YBG Festival 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.
DAY 1: SATURDAY, JULY 23 at 1 PM
A Spectacular Mess (premiere)
Location: (see map)
Choreography: Katerina Wong, in collaboration with the performers
Performance: ArVejon Jones, Kyle Limin, Katerina Wong, Stacey Yuen
Music: Hatsü, Phlocalyst, Scary Pockets, Jamie Berry x Little Violet, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Martin Landström
Sending gratitude to the dancers, my family, my husband, and my sweet 9-month old Bria for continuing to be a huge source of support, inspiration, and motivation to keep up my art practice. rawdance.org
Location: (see map)
Choreography: Charles Slender-White
Performance: Johanna Butterworth, Erin Coyne, KJ Dahlaw, Zoe Huey, Nyah Malone, Katherine Neumann, Sawako Ogo, LizAnne Roman Roberts
Music: Brian Eno
The premiere of Phase at ChoreoFest marks the first of three weekends of performances for FACT/SF and the beginning of their 15th anniversary season. Catch the Summer Dance Festival at Joe Goode Annex July 29-30 and at ODC Theater Aug 5-7. factsf.org
3. Fullstop Dance
You Could Be Anything (work-in-progress)
Location: (see map)
Choreography: Kathryn Florez
Performance: Olivia Caldeira Holston, Claire Fisher, Lucia Flexer-Marshall, Kathryn Florez, Juliann Witt
Music: Shipwreck Detective, Not Waving
The movement and structure of this piece is inspired by the images and measured interpretation of Hermann Rorschach’s inkblot test. In addition to today’s performers, the following artists participated in lab sessions in March and April to workshop ideas and movement: Styles Alexander, Erik Debono, Marissa Maislen, Madison McGain, Chelsea Reichert. Devanand Bhat (Shipwreck Detective) also participated with live music. fullstopdance.com
4. Nava Dance Theatre
Rogue Gestures (2022)
Location: (see map)
Choreography: Nadhi Thekkek
Performance: Shruti Abhishek, Shelley Garg, Sanjana Melkote, Janani Muthaiya, Priyanka Raghuraman, Aishwarya Subramanian, Nadhi Thekkek, Lalli Venkat
Music: Oliver Patrice Weder, Nadhi Thekkek & Santosh Chandru (original), Kalaisan Kalachelvan (original), Sruti Sarathy (original)
Rogue Gestures is a series of works that acknowledges where we came from, where we are now, and where we are going. It pays tribute to the struggles, strengths, and joys of the immigrant communities we were raised in or live in now. In our engagement with this space, we use bharatanatyam to question what it means to assimilate in America through the lens of our lived experience. navadance.org
From the Curators
We are thrilled for the opportunity to share a taste of the diverse and dynamic Bay Area contemporary dance scene. The festival artists, each with a unique voice and point of view, use movement, sound, and visuals to reshape the way you see space, spark ideas, start conversations, and stir hearts. We are honored to be a part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, a San Francisco cultural treasure. Thank you for coming! – Katerina Wong, Ryan T. Smith, & Wendy Rein (RAWdance Co-Artistic Directors)
Click to see July 23 performance sites and travel paths.
About Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Read more about the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival…
YBGF presents classical, world, and jazz music, contemporary and traditional dance, theater, children’s and family programs, and cultural events reflecting the rich cultures and creativity of the region. Artistic excellence, inclusion, diversity and innovation are at the heart of its mission. As the only curated arts park dedicated to the long-term presentation of free arts and cultural programs, Yerba Buena Gardens has a unique place in the cultural landscape of San Francisco. ybgfestival.org
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. The company is committed to supporting the dance field through its presenting programs and the Radiate Fellowship Program. rawdance.org
Read more about today’s artists…
Shruti Abhishek is a Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher. She is the founder and artistic director of Kshetram – a holistic dance institution based in Pleasanton and Livermore, CA. Shruti has a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, India. She trains with Guru Shri Vaibhav Arekar in Mumbai. Her formative years were spent learning dance with Guru Smt. Rohini M Singhi in Mumbai. Shruti has performed at several prestigious festivals in India and Europe with Vaibhav Arekar’s Sankhya Dance Company and in the US with Nava Dance Theatre. Shruti co-curates two festivals: ‘Varnam Salon’, a series of performances by California-based artists, and ‘When Eyes Speak’ the first Indian choreography festival in SF. Shruti has been a part of Nava Dance Theatre since 2016.
Johanna Butterworth graduated from The Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A in Contemporary Dance. She trained at The Santa Cruz Ballet Theater, and has furthered her studies abroad in Israel and Canada. She has participated in programs such as Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and One Body, One Career. She has performed in The Boston Conservatory’s main stage productions, in pieces choreographed by MADBOOTS Dance, Francesca Harper, Omar Carrum, and Claudia La Vista. Johanna resides in San Francisco.
Erin Coyne is a San Francisco-based dancer, choreographer, and educator. Originally from the Chicago area, Erin began her training under Joshua Manculich and Lizzie Mackenzie. She went on to study under Toni Pierce-Sands, Erin Thompson, and Carl Flink at the University of Minnesota, where she received her Masters in Education and double major in Dance and Education. Since then, her work has been presented at various venues throughout Minneapolis, Chicago, and the Bay Area.
KJ Dahlaw (they/them) is a bay area dance artist and makes work under the name of Unruly Body Tanztheater. They hold an MFA in Dance from Saint Mary’s College of CA and a BFA in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. KJ has a background in ballet, modern dance,and improvisational practices. KJ is currently dancing with Sarah Bush Dance Project, Human Shakes, and Epiphany Dance Theater.
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, & Northwest Dance Project. Now a freelance artist in San Francisco, she has appeared in several works and collaborations with wonderful artists and companies such as Brannigan Dance Works, Dazaun Soleyn, Fullstop Dance, Garrett + Moulton Productions, Liv Schaffer, RAWdance, ZiRu Dance and The MoveMessenger(s).
Lucia Flexer-Marshall is a contemporary dancer based in the Bay Area, holding a BA in Dance from UC Santa Cruz. Growing up in the East Bay, she trained at the Oakland Ballet School and Shawl Anderson Dance Center. Lucia’s professional experience includes work with Garrett & Moulton Productions, Ziru Dance, Erin Yen’s Dragons Dance, and Fullstop. She is also the co-creator of the dance film project Soap Impressions, with her creative partner Joaquin Bear.
Kathryn Florez trained at the SF Conservatory of Dance beginning in 2010 under Summer Lee Rhatigan. Florez founded Fullstop Dance in 2015, a project-based contemporary dance company, and has since presented work at ODC Theater, Palace of Fine Arts, Cowell Theater, and others. In addition to performing Florez’s work, the company hosts out-of-town artists for residencies and open workshops, including Tushrik Fredericks, Nicole von Arx, and Kirill Berezovski. Florez’s choreography and teaching have been commissioned by The Merde Project (SF), TWObigsteps (Vancouver), SALT Dance’s Link Program (SLC), ODC (SF), and Shawl Anderson Dance Center (Berkeley). Over the years she has worked with David Herrera Performance Company and ZiRu Dance. She was the Artist in Residence at Berkeley Ballet Theater from 2021-22 and has held residencies at LEVYdance.
Shelley Garg studied at the Shakti School of Bharata Natyam under Smt. Viji Prakash and performed her dance debut in 2010. She has performed across the country with Shakti Dance Company and has been dancing with Nava Dance Theatre since 2018.
Olivia Caldeira Holston is a freelance dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She was born in São Sebastião, Brazil and was raised in California. She received her BA Honours degree from the London Contemporary Dance School in 2019. Since graduating, Olivia has had the opportunity to work with Bellwether Dance Project, David Herrera Performance Company, Paufve Dance, and more. She is currently working with Fullstop Dance, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Kristin Damrow & Company.
Zoe Huey is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised on Chochenyo Ohlone land also known as Oakland, CA. Their work weaves together questions around queerness, mixed-race ancestry, childhood, and grief. Zoe plays with how time, duration, linearity, and multiplicity function in drawing, dance, and painting. Zoe’s artistic practice is informed by teachings from kids, dogs, forests, rocks, ocean, and time shared with plants in the garden.
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, SOULSKIN Dance, ODC Dance/ SF, Concept o4, Sean Dorsey Dance, Prometheus Dance Theater, Jean Appolon Expressions, and Garrett+Moulton Productions 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.
Kyle Limin (they/them) is an Educator, Choreographer, and Performing Artist with a focus on contemporary and hip hop dance. They continue to contribute over fifteen years worth of art to their hometown, San Francisco, and the greater Bay Area. Kyle runs the dance program at Creative Arts Charter School and teaches at several studios in the city.
Nyah Malone (they/she), a native of Akron, Ohio, began dancing when they were 3. They studied at Nan Klinger’s Excellence Dance under the tutelage of Mia Klinger, before relocating to Natick, Massachusetts to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts, which was then under the direction of Michael Owen. She is currently in the Bay Area studying at the LINES BFA program. She has performed in premiere works by Gregory Dawson, Dexandro Montalvo, Kara Davis, and Katie Kozul.
Sanjana Melkote has been learning Bharatanatyam for the last 15 years from her guru Smt. Suganda Iyer and continues to learn at the Upadhye School of Dance. She is a dancer at Nava Dance Theater and senior captain for her nationally ranked collegiate Bharatanatyam team, Natya at Berkeley. She is passionate about choreography and co-founded Fuchsia Dance, a platform for dancers to collaborate, innovate, and share Bharatanatyam with broader audiences. She is a fourth year student studying Computer Science and Journalism at UC Berkeley and also learns Carnatic Vocal from Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan.
Janani Muthaiya began her Bharatanatyam tutelage with Guru Viji Prakash and the Shakti School of Bharatanatyam at the age of 11 and has performed with the Shakti Dance Company in many events and festivals around the world. She’s also choreographed group performances for various venues including the Davis Dheem Tana Showcase and the Festival of Chariots. She joined Nava Dance Theatre in 2019.
Katherine Neumann (she/her) is a dancer and choreographer based in San Francisco. She holds a BFA in contemporary dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Katherine has worked professionally with FACT/SF, Robert Moses’ Kin, the Mari Meade Dance Collective, ka·nei·see | collective, Stephanie Unger & Artists, Alyssa Mitchel, Alex Law, Hannah Ayasse, and Hannah Young.
Sawako Ogo (any/all) is a freelance dancer based in San Francisco Bay Area, originally from Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Dance, she had a privilege to have performed the works of Kristin Damrow, David Herrera, Natasha Adorlee, Christian Burns, Erin Yen, Joe Landini, and numerous others. Sawako has presented her original works at West Wave Dance Festival and RAWdance’s Concept Series.
Priyanka Raghuraman is a senior performer & faculty member of Anitha Guha’s Bharathanjali and a company dancer at Nava Dance Theatre, SF. She currently teaches in the Bay Area – USA through her teaching practice ‘Priyada Arts’. She started learning Bharatanatyam from her mother, Smt. Kamala Raghuraman at the age of 4 and later came under the tutelage of Guru Kalaimamani Smt. Anitha Guha. As a professional soloist and graded artist with Doordarshan(India), she has toured and performed at prestigious venues across the country, the USA, and Singapore.
LizAnne Roman Roberts (she/her) fell in love with dance at age four after seeing Giselle on TV in her hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Honored and humbled to have been working in the profession of her dreams for over twenty years, LizAnne has been collaborating with FACT/SF for the past decade. She has performed locally in the Bay Area for over fifteen years, and has participated in tours as close to home as Santa Cruz, CA, and as far as Sofia, Bulgaria. LizAnne thanks you for coming to share the work and this beautiful outdoor space with us today.
Charles Slender-White is a San Francisco-based queer contemporary dance artist of mixed European and Roma descent. He is an instigator, organizer, dad, husband, and the Artistic Director of FACT/SF. Charles is one of 36 Countertechnique Teachers worldwide, and he has taught, performed, and made choreography across North America, Europe, Russia, and in Hong Kong and Australia. Charles is currently a faculty member at the American Dance Festival, and a Guest Curator and Resident Strategist at ODC Theater. Charles graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with degrees in English Literature and Dance & Performance Studies.
Aishwarya Subramanian is an interdisciplinary artist based in the Bay Area. Having trained in Bharatanatyam at the Jayamangala School of Music and Dance under her mother-guru Shobha Subramanian, she has participated in dance workshops with gurus, such as Maneesha Sathe, Narendra and Anusha Kumar, The Dhananjayans, Priyadarshini Govind, Late M.V. Narasimhachari, The Kirans, M. Venkata Krishnan, Divya Nayar, and N. Srikanth. As Artistic Director of Jayamangala, she has taught, performed, and presented Bharatanatyam at various events, festivals, and conferences around the world. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Aishwarya is a practicing expressive arts therapist and has been with Nava Dance Theatre since 2018.
Nadhi Thekkek is the Artistic Director of Nava Dance Theatre (NDT) and uses the south Indian dance form to navigate place, identity, and politics through the lens of her lived experience as a South Asian and hyphenated-American woman. She learned bharatanatyam from Guru Smt. Sundara Swaminathan (Kala Vandana Dance Company, San Jose, CA) and Guru Smt. Padmini Chari (Nritya School of Dance, Houston, TX). Since 2012, she has continued training under Guru Sri. A. Lakshmanaswamy (Chennai, India).
Lalli Venkat has studied bharatanatyam under Smt. Jayanthi Sridhar, disciple of Guru Adyar K. Lakshman. She has performed at various venues across the U.S. She has been performing with Nava Dance since 2016.
Juliann Witt was born in Marin and began dancing at the age of three. As a young dancer, she trained at the California Academy of Performing Arts and attended summer programs with American Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. After receiving her BFA in Dance Performance from SUNY Purchase she 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 and companies including DTSF, Nol Simonse, Bellwether Dance Project, Dexandro “D” Montalvo, Fullstop Dance, Robert Moses’ Kin, Liv Schaffer, Concept o4, and RAWdance.
Katerina (Katie) Wong (she/her) is a Bay Area-based multidisciplinary movement artist and Co-Artistic Director of RAWdance. Since graduating from Princeton University, she’s performed with more than 15 Bay Area dance companies including Printz Dance Project, PUSH Dance Company, Concept o4, and the San Francisco Symphony. Her work has been commissioned by Pop-Up Magazine, FACT/SF, Cutting Ball Theater, California Academy of Sciences, ACLU of Northern California, TJPA’s Salesforce Park, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, and more. Katie has participated in arts leadership programs by Dance/USA, Women of Color in the Arts, APAP, and Asylum Arts. Her practice is rooted in meaningful collaboration, community bridge building, and physical storytelling.
A Bay Area native, Stacey Yuen received her BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She went on to work with Seán Curran and the Santa Fe Opera, and to travel to Greece to perform in works by Johannes Wieland and Stella Zannou at the one small step dance festival. She spent three seasons as a dancer and rehearsal director with the Sticky Trace Company in Germany. Since returning to the Bay, Stacey has worked with Robert Moses, Katie Faulkner, Jennifer Perfilio, Lenora Lee Dance, Alyssandra Katherine Dance Project, and RAWdance.
Thanks so much to all of the choreographers, dancers, musicians, and collaborators energizing all corners of Yerba Buena Gardens as part of ChoreoFest 2022! Many thanks to those working behind the scenes, including the hardworking staffs of YBG Festival and RAWdance, all our volunteers, and the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy.
Thank you for making future ChoreoFests and other free public events possible!
photo by Stephen Texeira