About the CONCEPT series
The CONCEPT series is a modern-day salon that shares innovative contemporary dance with an intimate vibe. After 14 years of live series at San Francisco venues, this is the third time the series will be presented in a digital format, creating a platform for artists working with dances for camera.
We curate the series by artist, not by piece, to allow choreographers the flexibility to share whatever they’re working on at any point along the creative process. What’s important to us as curators is to offer a low-risk platform for testing out ideas in front of a live audience. Since 2007, the CONCEPT series has presented over 125 artists and helped shape the trajectory of countless new works.
Voted Best Way to Sample SF’s Contemporary Dance Scene in SF Weekly, one reviewer wrote “Dance aficionados and newbies find plenty to like in this semi-regular series […] You pay what you can to enter. There’s food. And the work is really good.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Thank you for joining us!
– Ryan, Wendy, & Katie
It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that RAWdance’s home base is located in Yelamu, also known as San Francisco, on the unceded territory of the Ramaytush Ohlone people, who have continuously lived upon the land since time immemorial. RAWdance’s East Coast branch is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral home of the Munsee Lenape and Esopus peoples. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Ramaytush Ohlone and Munsee Lenape communities, 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 (returning Indigenous land to Indigenous people), we also encourage everyone to seek out and participate in regional land reparation efforts such as the Bay Area’s Shuumi Land Tax.
Paufve Dance in collaboration with Julia Sweeney
The Glade (2020)
Choreography & Performance: Randee Paufve
Direction, Videography, & Editing: Julia Sweeney
Inner Tap (premiere)
Choreography & Performance: Andreína Maldonado & Terrence Paschal
Videography & Editing: Mara Hernandez & Enrique Pedroza
Music: Rasul Grayson
Art Direction: Andreína Maldonado & Mara Hernandez
Music created and engineered by Rasul Grayson for this piece. Originally a commission work for Causa Justa / Just Cause.
me siento como amor (excerpt, work-in-progress)
Video Concept, Story, Voice, Embodiment, & Editing: natalya shoaf
Videography: Cristal Canedo
This is an excerpt from a larger film set to premiere in 2022.
all she holds (2021)
Choreography, Performance, Videography, & Editing: Hannah Westbrook
Additional Recordings: Cass Eddington, Natalie Myers-Guzman, Hannah Westbrook
Photograph: “Dancing Lessons” (1917, artist unknown)
Created in residence at Art Farm, NE.
Ryan T. Smith & Wendy Rein / RAWdance
Set in Motion (premiere)
Direction: Wendy Rein & Ryan T. Smith
Choreography, Performance, & Videography: Tayler Kinner
Editing: Ryan T. Smith
Music: Kosta T / konstantin trokai (available on creative commons)
Visceral Roots Dance Co.
Red Chairs, Black Floors, & Us (work-in-progress)
Choreography & Performance: Ashley Gayle & Noah James
Cameo: Jazlyn Secrease (Ashley’s daughter)
Videography & Editing: Noah James
Music: House Mix
This piece is a structured improv from one of our first rehearsals back in the studio post-pandemic. We explore our bodies as we deal with our own issues regarding chronic pain/illness, mental health, and motherhood.
Ryan T. Smith & Wendy Rein / RAWdance
Creation, Performance, & Videography: Wendy Rein & Ryan T. Smith
Production Assistant: Marc Reagan
Editing: Ryan T. Smith
Music: Salakapakka Sound System (available on creative commons)
After the films, it’s time to dance our hearts out together! If you’re feeling shy, feel free to turn off your camera. Otherwise kick your shoes off (if you’re wearing any) and we’ll all share the spotlight together as we get down for a 10-minute dance party power set.
Ashley Gayle and Noah James are professional dancers out of the Bay Area who met while dancing for PUSH Dance Company. They’ve combined their passion and love for dance to create Visceral Roots Dance Company, which is now in its 4th year of fruition! VRDC creates work that addresses social issues by exploring the raw experiences of life while fusing different art forms. They debuted Unparalleled at PUSHFest 2016, which was about how the media portrays people of color and were selected as the 2017-18 Black Choreographers Festival AMP Artists. Other works they’ve created include District 6, a reflection on the growing rate of homelessness in the Bay Area and N.I.A., a mourning for Nia Wilson who was murdered at a BART station, among many others. They have performed locally with BCF, SADC, SAFEhouse Arts, BAIDDF, and other organizations. visceralroots.org
Tayler Kinner grew up in the cornfields of Springfield, IL. She holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University, graduating with departmental honors. Tayler moved back to the St. Louis area in Fall 2020 after spending four years in San Francisco working as a teacher, performer, and choreographer. While in SF, she was fortunate enough to work with companies including RAWdance, Alyssandra Katherine Dance, Tim Rubel Human Shakes, KWENTO, and several independent artists. She has performed in New York, Berlin, St. Louis, and throughout the Bay Area. Tayler is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Big Plate Dance, using improvisation to bring spontaneous and joyful works to audiences. Big Plate Dance was privileged to receive a residency at SAFEhouse Arts and honored to be one of five artists chosen to take part in ODC’s Pilot 72 program. Since returning to St. Louis, she has rejoined Karlovsky & Company Dance and returned to Webster to create a new work.
Leighann Kowalsky is an artist and a producer. She choreographs and performs with the d’amby project, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and independently for a number of projects. Performance venues have included Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Stage, The Queen Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver, B.C., The Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College, and a residency term at DANCEHOUSE in Dublin, Ireland. She travels the world choreographing works for studios and companies, educating dancers of all ages, producing events, building curricula and programming, and filming movers in unique ways. Recently, she retired from being the director for dance & circus at Millbrook School, and is now the Director of Dance & Film at Festival Theater Hudson, and continues as adjunct faculty at Dutchess School for Performing Arts.
Grace Leedy is currently working towards a BA in Dance and a BA in Psychology at Marymount Manhattan College. Following extensive training in Irish, contemporary, modern and ballet techniques, she also has performance experience across the Northeastern United States, including such venues as The LUMA Theater at the Fisher Center for Performing Arts and the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY. Grace has also enjoyed being part of many digital explorations, dance films, and interdisciplinary projects with artists and collectives such as Leighann Kowalsky, Jane Carney, Jarek Zabcynski, hypha, BalletCollective, Festival Theater Hudson, and Millbrook School. She is delighted to be part of the RAWdance Digital CONCEPT series!
Andreína Maldonado is a Venezuelan performing artist, cultural worker and social justice advocate based in Yelamu territory colonially known as San Francisco, CA. She is formally trained in traditional dances from the African diaspora in Venezuela, West African dance, and most recently in modern/contemporary forms. Her artistic work centers spirituality, the cosmos, nature, migration, and social justice issues such as labor and immigration rights. Andreína teaches free yoga, dance and meditation classes every week, and performs dance and music regularly at community events. andreinamaldonado.com
Terrence Paschal has been dancing professionally since 2011. His main influences in dance are Turfing, Bruk Up, and Flexing. More recently he has started training in House Dance as well as ballet and modern to experience other, more traditional, dance forms. He enjoys incorporating freestyle elements into his classes and the history of street dance culture. Terrence has appeared in the works of PUSH Dance Company and the Embodiment Project and is an arts educator teaching in both San Francisco and Oakland.
Randee Paufve, artistic director of Paufve Dance, is a 2019-2020 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. She has been a featured artist on NPR’s All Things Considered, and was named one of five dance artists in San Francisco Magazine’s 2017 100 Artists Putting the East Bay On The Map. Randee received the 2015 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Individual Performance, and was awarded the inaugural Della Davidson Prize for Innovations in Dance-Theater. She was nominated for the Theatre Bay Area Choreography award for her work with San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theater, and is a two-time recipient of the E.E. Ford award for dance research in Europe. paufvedance.org
A native New Yorker, Wendy Rein has been dancing and breaking furniture since age 3. With a BA from Brown University, she worked with Misnomer Dance Theater before moving to San Francisco, where she co-founded RAWdance and had the privilege of performing with artists such as Amy Seiwert, Deborah Slater, Alma Esperanza Cunningham, Nancy Karp, Mary Carbonara, and others. She also worked for many years on a series of dance film projects with RJ Muna. Since RAWdance expanded to NY’s Hudson Valley in 2019, Wendy has been absorbing and dancing in her new wild surroundings. @_rawdance
natalya shoaf is a collection of prayers from her ancestors. Made of moon milk and star dust — she speaks the language of the earth. She is a traveler, seeker of truth, and lover of love. She is currently practicing and cultivating an abundance of acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion within — so that she may spread it beyond herself. @natalyashoaf
Ryan T. Smith is a queer dance-maker, performer, curator, and connector. A Co-Founder of RAWdance, he has served as Co-Artistic Director since 2004, creating dozens of works for stage, alternative locations, and film with creative partner Wendy Rein. As a dancer, he has performed for artists such as Amy Seiwert, Alma Esperanza Cunningham, and Stephen Pelton. He was a member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company from 2005-2016, touring nationally and internationally. Originally from outside of Boston, MA, Ryan received his BA in Theatre Arts and French Literature from Brown University before moving to San Francisco. In 2019, after 16 years in the Bay, he moved his primary residence to High Falls, a small hamlet in New York’s Hudson Valley. @_rawdance
Julia Sweeney, The Glade video director, received her BA in Social Studies from Harvard College, where she also studied nonfiction video and served as a research assistant to Beirut-based artist Lamia Joreige. Julia has worked in mental health counseling and education, and is currently a programs associate at 826 Valencia and a freelance video artist based in Oakland.
Hannah Westbrook is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and dance film maker based in Oakland, CA (Ohlone land). She earned degrees from UC Berkeley in Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies with concentrations in dance and stage management. Hannah has performed internationally with Tim Rubel Human Shakes and animi motus, and has appeared on stages across California in works by Stephan Koplowitz/AXIS Dance Company, Tim Rubel, Tara Pilbrow, Rebecca Morris, and more. Her film work has been screened in festivals across the country including the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, Dare to Dance In Public, Tiny Dance Film Festival, Greensboro Dance Film Festival, DanceBARN ScreenDANCE Festival, and I’m Bored, What’s Next?. westbrook.dance
To our guest artists Leighann, natalya, Ashley and Noah, Randee and Julia, Hannah, and Andreína, for their artistry and for venturing with us into this digital space. To Megan in her role as co-curator and for her help in putting together every CONCEPT series. And for making the series possible, thanks to Twyla, Katherine, Marc, Evelyn, our board, and all of you!
The CONCEPT series is made possible through the generosity of ticket buyers and donors. Thank you so much for your contribution to the series and to our guest artists!
RAWdance is supported in part by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and Grants for the Arts.
RAWdance Co-Artistic Directors: Wendy Rein, Ryan T. Smith, & Katerina Wong
CONCEPT series Coordinator & Co-Curator: Megan Kurashige
RAWdance Interim Program Manager: Twyla Malchow-Hay
RAWdance Interim Digital Marketing Manager: Katherine Disenhof
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