Shotwell Studio: THURS JAN 20, FRI JAN 28, SUN JAN 30
Created and performed by Christine Bonansea in collaboration with Kira Kirsch, Rosemary Hannon and Jorge Rodolfo de Hoyos

In Bonansea's abstract world of connected events, the space is a container that produces human bodies like a matrix. Large props are manipulated and moved by the performers in this multimedia piece. Physical tensions are built, the container evolves, bodies meet, adapt themselves to each other and become individuals.

Christine Bonansea is a French dancer, choreographer and visual artist based in San Francisco. She's been performing and choreographing internationally over the last 12 years. Her work has been shown in the US and in Europe. Her works cover a broad artistic field, featured an integrated and participatory process carried out in collaboration with artists; that includes a combination of research, idea, experimentation, and improvisations.

Missing: the fantastical and true story of my father's disappearance and what I found when I looked for him
Shotwell Studios: FRI JAN 14, SAT JAN 15, SUN JAN 23
Created and performed by Jessica Ferris
Directed by David Ford; Music composed and recorded by Mark Orton of Tin Hat

Jessica searched for her father, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances thirty years ago, and discovered that he is a con artist on the lam. In her magical-realist detective story, Ferris deftly transforms everyday objects (a folding chair, a metal toolbox, a sheet) into entities and beings.

Jessica Ferris' eclectic aesthetic grows from her international training and the Bay Area's fertile performance community. She has trained with The American Conservatory Theater and aerial dance visionary Terry Sendgraff, in addition to completing a three-year physical theater intensive with support from the Association Hippocampe, Pomona College, and the University of Paris 8. Ferris has been collaborating with director David Ford since 2004.

"With its shifting perspective and innovative structure, Jessica Ferris' exploration of self and family doesn't feel like a one-woman play. Ferris does an astounding job of keeping her storytelling fresh and her characters genuine and distinct. The show depicts a young woman searching for her missing father, considering the true meaning of personality, family and disappearance along the way. Ferris' aptitude for quiet drama and slapstick humor ensures the show never rests on its laurels, shifting tone throughout. Her effective and subtle use of accents helps bring definition and believability to characters, while the occasional sleight-of-hand makes for compelling visuals throughout."
- Jeff Cox, NUVO, Indianapolis, IN, August, 2010.

The Dark Season
Shotwell Studios: THUR JAN 13, FRI JAN 14, SAT JAN 29, SUN JAN 30!/group.php?gid=164472401847
Silvia Girardi Acting; directed by Silvia Girardi
Performed by Carole Acuna, Jessica Chisum, Silvia Girardi, Julie Potter and Leer Relleum

The Dark Season is a multidisciplinary theater piece inspired by Macbeth. In a choral composition, artists from various backgrounds investigate the themes of ambition, delusion, violence, and prophecy. As one of Shakespeare's most psychologically complex tragedies, our focused portrayal of Macbeth invites the audience into a ruthlessly honest conversation about the darker potential of human nature and its frailties. However, in our interpretation, transformation wins over destruction. Texts from Zen Buddhism, Walt Whitman and Dante deepen the understanding of the story. A tight, musical soundscape accompanies the actors with selections of alternative rock, avant-garde string, Death Folk, Gothic and world music.

Silvia Girardi Acting is a professional company based in San Francisco dedicated to the development of innovative physical theatre and dance works.

"A play is a system of differences and Silvia Girardi's Dark Season is silence and prophesy, grouping and dispersing, male and female, love playing with murder, a multi-media experimentation accompanied by recitations of Shakespeare's Macbeth….It's a pleasure to see such a bold experiment in drama come out so well. The narrative, which wants to generalize and placate the story, is disrupted by the players themselves in contortions of conversation, physical encounter and self-destruction all expressed in dramatic art."
- Jim Strope, SF Examiner, August 30, 2010.
Full review

Preview and video interview on

Where is Tibet?
Shotwell Studios: THUR JAN 13, SUN JAN 16, FRI JAN 21!/profile.php?id=1498903537
Written and performed by Genny Lim

Gypsy poet, playwright, performer and teacher, Genny Lim crosses disciplines, cultures and identities. Her monologue is neither a knee-jerk reaction or political hype to support a free Tibet, but an invitation to become informed and hopefully engaged in the pursuit of truth and human justice everywhere. Her solo satirizes the gross excesses of capitalism and the fascination of China with consumerism and the American Dream. Out of laughter and irony, derision and sober self-analysis, Lim hopes for a more informed critique, reflection and dialogue on Chinese-American relations.

Where is Tibet? premiered at CounterPULSE in December, 2009 and was performed at AfroSolo Arts Festival in August, 2010. Lim's career includes concerts with Max Roach, Herbie Lewis, Francis Wong, Jon Jang and John Santos; poetry festivals in Venezuela, 2005, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, 2007 and Naples, Italy, 2009. Her award-winning 1982 play, Paper Angels was performed in San Francisco Chinatown's Portsmouth Square to packed audiences on Sept. 15-17, 2010 and won the San Francisco Fringe Festival Award for Best Site Specific Work. She is the author of two poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War and co-author of Island:Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island.

Audience reactions: CounterPULSE, Feb. 2010

"…a good mix of history, dance, and personal stories. The artist was not afraid to take a position that may not be popular with many Chinese Americans."

"I was so taken by the narrator's passion of her journey. I couldn't take my eyes off her expression and her intent. The story is so sad, and yet so infusing of hope….I noticed the amount of similarity between the song and the dance of Tibet and China."

Looking for You
Shotwell Studios: SAT JAN 22, SUN JAN 23, THUR JAN 27!/pages/Pearl-Marill-Dance-Theater/107314429299548
Choreographed by Pearl Marill
Performed by Em Gift, Cason MacBridge and Pearl Marill

Three comedic dance theater pieces are thematically intertwined around the search for love. Missed Connections weaves text with high physicality when the safety and anonymity of cyberspace collides with face to face interactions between a man and a woman. Casual Encounters is a playful and sensual look at the new age sex life of two women. Me4Me is a solo to pop music with a body double about how we have to be our own hero.

Pearl Marill is a dancer, choreographer, and actress. Locally, she has worked and trained with New Conservatory Theater, Jump!Theater, The DramaMama's, UDance Electra, BATS Improv, Lila Improvisational Theater, and American Conservatory Theater. Pearl's work has been shown in ODC's Pilot Program, ODC's House special,The Women on The Way Festival, Works in The Works in Berkeley, CounterPULSE, The Garage, StageDor, and Traveling Jewish Theater. She will be one of the 12 choreographers in the upcoming A.W.A.R.D. Show at ODC Theater in January, 2011.

"Pearl Marill is a choreographer with a future. Her movement and presentation ideas combine to keep the audience both intrigued and outrightly amused by her pieces that range from the silly to the sublime..."
- Paul Sinasohn, SF Bay Times

Homeland Insecurity
Shotwell Studios: SAT JAN 15, SUN JAN 16, THUR JAN 20
Written and performed by Shabana Rehman; Directed by Stephen Rosenfield

Where is home? Brooklyn, Oslo or Karachi? Shabana escapes Norway, as she recounts her own father's journey from Karachi, Pakistan to Oslo. Funny, sensual and provocative, Norway's most famous Muslim comedienne has built a reputation for groundbreaking, controversial and popular comedy. A frequent participant on talk shows and public debates, her political stunts like Mullah-lifting and body painting herself with the Norwegian flag have given her celebrity status in her native Norway.

Shabana Rehman entered the stage in Oslo in 1999. She has been featured by The New York Times and Time magazine. In addition to her prolific comedy career, Shabana is a highly respected columnist, satirist, and public speaker in Scandinavia and the Scandinavian community in the US. She has received several awards for her writing and comedy and has played in several countries, including Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Germany and the USA.

"She is a gutsy, fearless performer, with a mischievous smile and flashing eyes. Humorous anecdotes give way to more personal stories-an idealized childhood that crashed with the Norwegian economy, young love that turned dangerous, and a long journey towards self discovery and acceptance. I am very wary of one-person shows that tell of childhood abuse as they tend to become more of a therapy session and less of a show. But Rehman's is different-first off, she is clearly fine: she is a survivor and she's strong. Secondly, she never pities herself when she recounts what has happened. It has made her who she is and is engrossing and eye-opening, but not a pity party. And for that Rehman and director Stephen Rosenfield deserve big kudos."
Julie Congress, review, August 17, 2010.
Full review

Wake Up Call
Shotwell Studios: SAT JAN 22, FRI JAN 28, SAT JAN 29
Written by Leigh Shaw; Performed by Leigh Shaw and ensemble cast

Izzy has a very vivid imagination. Izzy lives in a house she built. In what appears to be a bad dream, Izzy gets a wake up call from the parts of herself that can see beyond this moment. This poetic, Jungian, theatrical ballad brings three women of one collected mind onstage with movement, text and video.

Leigh Shaw attained her BA from the University of Texas, studied with the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland and has been in more than 30 productions, including films, voice overs, street performance and improv. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2010, she has performed at BRAVA, Off-Market with PianoFight, and has produced with SF Theater Pub. This piece is Leigh's playwrighting and directorial debut.

Vital Signs
Shotwell Studios: FRI JAN 21, THUR JAN 27
Written and performed by Alison Whittaker
Developed with David Ford; Directorial consultant: Joya Cory

Comic and touching, probing and penetrating, Alison populates and plays a dozen characters in this starkly honest and hilarious insider's view of an urban hospital. Although based on her true experiences as a nurse, all persons and institutions are fictitious. Nurses, doctors, patients and families cope with difficult and utterly ridiculous situations. From feeding tubes to mad cow disease; neurology wards to break rooms, the conversations in Vital Signs roll out unapologetically with humor and grace.

Alison Whittaker moved to California in the aftermath of the Sixties embracing the human potential movement, community living and saving the planet. She has studied at ACT, the Marsh, Esalen and Berkeley Rep. For the past 6 years, she has been working on solo performance at the Marsh with David Ford, Ann Randolf and Charlie Varon. She has performed at The Marsh, San Francisco Theatre Festival, Solo Sundays at Stagewerx. She currently works as a registered nurse at UCSF Medical Center.

"…a unique, very personal, and realistic view of the inside story of hospital nurses. …masterful parody, amazing humor, and unusual sensitivity and compassion. She humanizes a world that is often perceived as sterile and impersonal. Her work will be a revelation to many and a thoroughly entertaining experience for all."
- Jeff Anderson, M.D.

"A surgical strike on the funny bone."
- Jane Baker Veit, RN

"Alison is a gifted writer and performer…painfully funny and profound."
- Ann Randolph


For the Love of the Game!: A spoof on the trials and tribulations of dating
The Garage: SAT JAN 15, SUN JAN 16!/bodigram
Choreographed by Blair Bodie and Julia Graham
Performed by Julia Graham, Blair Bodie, Lisa Herrick, Tara Fagan, Korie Franciscus and Tim Rubel

Blair and Julia break all the rules about making high art. They state the obvious, use popular music, choreograph to lyrics and seduce the audience. Their vaudevillian hodgepodge of dancing and horseplay matches their aggressive and obsessive approach to the dating game. They put their company through rigorous training before sending them out to win lovers. And when you think the dating analogy can go no further, they bring it home in a big sexy, action packed way.

BodiGram Dance Company is an emerging company formed by Blair Bodie and Julia Graham. Their work has been seen in New York City at Dance New Amsterdam Joyce Soho, Collective Unconscious, Hatch, and The Kaye Theater, in San Francisco at SomArts, CounterPULSE, Intersection for the Arts, Noh Space, The Garage, and Dancing in the Park; at the Boulder Fringe, Philadelphia Fringe, and in Kuala Lumpur at The Dance City, DA Theater and Stadium at Bukit Jalil.

Audience reactions:

"Thank you for making art that was not indulgent, too abstract or random."

"Electric. Hysterical! Great concept."

The Garage: THUR JAN 20, FRI JAN 21, SAT JAN 29
Alyce Finwall Dance Theater
Choreographed by Alyce Finwall; Music composed by Carson Whitley
Performed by Julia Hollas, Emmaly Wiederholt, Joy Prendergast, Peiling Kao, Kaitlin Parks and Malinda Lavelle

Six powerful women define femininity, beauty, identity and nakedness through raw movement, improvisation and theater. Finwall's choreography captures intimate emotions and with explosive movement, they come to life in a surreal and ever-changing world.

Alyce Finwall's work has been performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe, and has received numerous grants and awards. She started AFDT in 1999, developing a uniquely creative and theatrical style. She has produced over thirty original works in the company's eleven-year history. She has worked in film, music videos and fashion. After six years in New York City, AFDT is now located in San Francisco where Alyce lives with her husband and two children, and where she recently completed her MFA in dance at Mills College.

"sexiness and intelligence"
- New York Times

"fierce fluidity in performance and a brooding surrealism in the choreography"
- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Impressive and accomplished choreographic symphony. Her movement is fast, athletic, sensuous."
- Daria Kaufman, SF Examiner.
Full review

the space between distances
The Garage: SAT JAN 22, THUR JAN 27, FRI JAN 28
Choreographed by Gretchen Alterowitz and Erica Rose Jeffrey
Music composed by Alfredo Piatti and Sylvain Carton
Performed by Erica Rose Jeffrey and Mo Miner

A collaborative work focused on the relationship of individuals in time and space, both through the process of the choreographers, Jeffery and Alterowitz working long distance, and in the dances themselves. Movement with moments of reflection and explosive dancing combine with video technology and original live music.

Gretchen Alterowitz is a teacher, choreographer, scholar, and performer. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte. Recently her choreography has been performed at an emerging choreographer's showcase, in Monterey and by the North Carolina Dance Festival.

Erica Rose Jeffrey is co-director of Counterpointe. She teaches, choreographs and performs in the Bay Area. Her work has appeared in Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Collaborate! Dance and Music, Women on the Way Festival, Counterpointe's annual "Works in Motion" and the Monterey Choreographer's Festival. Erica teaches for the San Francisco Ballet Dance in Schools and directs the Let's All Dance! Outreach program.

The Garage: FRI JAN 14, SUN JAN 16, THUR JAN 27
Sheena Johnson/REBEL HOME
Choreographed by Sheena Johnson
Performed by Sheena Johnson, Peiling Kao, Sophia Leiby, Jochelle Perena, and Nzinga Woods

We have all been displaced from our homelands. Sound, text and movement collide in this new dance theater work to create a body study of our encounters with and impositions upon land. Land/Home excavates both Sheena's experiences growing up in the black church and her recent studies of Butoh-derived traditions.

Sheena Johnson has presented solo, duet and ensemble work at various venues across the Bay Area including the Museum of the African Diaspora, Red Poppy Art House, CounterPULSE and Dance Mission. Sheena participated in the Black Choreographer Festival's Artist Mentorship Program (AMP) in 2009-10.

"You often do not see work that is both eloquent and moving; Sheena's work does both."
- Moira Roth, Professor of Art History, Mills College

Project BUST
The Garage: THUR JAN 20, SUN JAN 30
Project THRUST
Choreographed by Malinda LaVelle
Performed by Maggie Stack, Joy Prendergast, Emmaly Wiederholt, Mei-Ling Murray, Emily Jones and Toni Lum

"Tatas. Tits. Rack. Jugs. Knockers. Bust. Friends. Melons. Hooters." Opening with euphemistic, rhythmic chants, the ensemble tips off the audience that this is no ordinary dance theater. LaVelle and company are relentless in their depiction of womanhood, female psychologies and everything in between.

"It is simultaneously hilarious and disturbing to watch such perfect reflections of feminine tropes….It's no easy task to create a hybrid of vocalization, movement, and social commentary. Although Lavelle is somewhat of a newcomer, it's clear that she already has a strong choreographic voice and means of expressing it."

- Daria Kaufman, SF Examiner, September 14, 2010
full review

Malinda LaVelle began her early training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet. She has attended summer programs at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The Kirov Academy in Washington DC, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, and The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance where she is now their first artist in residence. She has served on the Conservatory's faculty as a guest choreographer for the 2009 and 2010 summer intensive programs and is a featured artists in this year's Dance Maker's Forum series. Now living in San Francisco, Malinda is a dancer with Alex Ketley's The Foundry, Alyce Finwall Dance Theater, and Manuelito Biag's Shift>>> Physical Theater. She has shown her own work in Ben Levy's Salon and The Garage as part of RAW.

The Garage: FRI JAN 14, SAT JAN 22, SUN JAN 23
Jennifer Mellor Dance Project
Choreographed by Jennifer Mellor; Music by Jessica Ivry; Poetry by Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
Performed by dancers Jennifer Mellor, Wendy Marinaccio, Jamie Venci, Jennifer Wang with cellist Jessica Ivry

Performed by Jennifer Mellor, Jamie Venci, and Jennifer Wang; Music by Jason Brown

Libretto is a new work by Jennifer Mellor in collaboration with accomplished poet Jennifer Kwon Dobbs and cellist/composer Jessica Ivry. The juxtaposition and interactions of four dancers moving through space, stillness and tight footwork meld with a soundscape of swelling cello and dramatic poetic imagery to capture the internal conflict of an overseas-adopted Korean child struggling to embody an unknown culture.

Prism is a modern dance collaboration between Mellor and Houston-based singer-songwriter Jason Brown about heartbreak and struggle, confidence and community, and finally peace and beauty.

Jennifer Mellor is a modern dancer and choreographer who also dances with Copious Dance Theater, Courage Group, and DOUBLE VISION, with whom she tours nationally. She is a board member of STEPOLOGY, a nonprofit promoting tap dance. A graduate of Stanford, Jen teaches dance at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center.

end trance
The Garage: SAT JAN 15, FRI JAN 28
Choreographed by Raisa Punkki
Performed by Mihyun Lee, Jennifer Meek, Paul Laurey, Raisa Punkki and Brendan Behan
Music by Sylvi Alli; Costume Design by Claire Pasquier

The choreography got its shape when five wonderful dancers' personalities and ways to use their bodies and minds fed Raisa's imagination. Some of the movement came out big, but the story, if you look for one, can also be found from stillness, faces and gestures. "These people are trapped in this space for reasons they have nothing to do with."

Raisa Punkki has an MfA from The Theater Academy, Finland. While living in Europe she was dancing and touring with highly acclaimed choreographers and performed in several continents. She has made choreographies for dance and theater and received grants, awards and nominations including State Grant (Finland), Best Dancer of the Year nomination (Finland). Raisa founded punkkiCo in 2005 and has shown work in San Francisco at Women on the Way Festival 2006, Cowell Theater, The Garage and CounterPULSE and punkkiCo's own season at Dance Mission Theater in 2009. end trance was made possible by the generous support from Zellerbach Family Foundation.

"One could admire the legato and the effortless transitions of the movement. One could exult in the dancers' endlessly flexible spines."
- Allan Ulrich/Voice of Dance

Zero Hour
The Garage: FRI JAN 21, SUN JAN 23, SUN JAN 30
Philein Wang/ZiRu Productions
Choreographed by Philein Wang
Collaborators: Resident Photographer Keith Weng, Visual Artist Areta Wang,
Percussionist Simon Ting and Costume Designer Karen Lin.
Performed by Philein Wang, Simon Ting, Shaylen Keller, Courtney Gulick, Emily Withenbury, Kim Luu, and RJ Cheng

Fused with her own trademark Tiger Hip Hop dance, Wang overlaps the varied palette of dance vignettes with photography, artwork and live percussion. The collaborators are second generation Chinese. They present the fusion element between East and West; their shared origins and the emerging feeling of American traditions and the tension and loss surrounding life changes and the hardships associated with cultural assimilation.

Philein Wang is a Chinese-American dancer, musician and poet who created a highly stylized dance form for the Chinese body and identity: Tiger Hip HopTM/Tiger Motion. She has worked with and was a soloist with Janice Garrett, Ron Brown, Winifred R. Harris, Liss Fain Dance, and Taiwan's world-renowned Cloudgate Dance Theater. In 2007, she founded Philein Wang/ZiRu Productions and has self-produced and presented work in Shanghai and New York; at La Trova House in LA, Dance Mission in San Francisco, the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, CaoChangdi Station in Beijing, and the Guangzhou International Modern Dance Festival.

"…staggering level of broad-based talent, whatever you do, don't miss her show."
- Beijing, China, Time Out Beijing

"...sincere...a vibrant portrayal of life and an enlightening new dance form and narrative which belongs to the Chinese People and the Global Chinese Citizen."
- Chinese World Journal

"....beautiful...vigorous and focused performance."
- Rita Felciano, Danceview Times