Photo via UC Riverside
Until this weekend, the only professional dance production I’d seen in my 42 years on earth were the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall when I was in high school (please just do the math and don’t make me point out that that was more than 20 years ago) and A Chorus Line in San Francisco several years ago. But I’d never been to a modern dance presentation until Friday night. Shameful, I know! But I made up for my uncultured ways by attending two such performances in one weekend.
I was inspired by my Rhythm & Motion class at ODC Dance Commons in the Mission, which I am addicted to attending on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays with the super fantastic Dudley Flores, who is also artistic director of the program. My R&M buddy, fellow Pilates instructor and friend Julia Abel suggested we go to ODC/Dance’s Friday performance (also the company’s 40th anniversary) at Yerba Buena’s Novellus theater, and I’m so excited that I took her up on it.
The ODC dancers performed three pieces, which were all wonderful. But my favorite was the final one, called Waving Not Drowning (A Guide To Elegance), choreographed by the company’s artistic director Brenda Way. The piece was inspired by a 150-chapter early-1960s guide to manners and dress that advises on proper behavior regarding such specific concerns as knees, yachting, handicaps (which include being too short or too tall), grooming, pinkies, elbows and much more.
A narration from the book set to music accompanied the dancers. The antiquated language elicited audience laughter, and it’s bizarre to imagine how recently such “manners” were expected of women. But the finale beautifully contradicted the book with a real-time creation of fancy paper dresses — for the male dancers (I digress but this dovetails nicely with my previous post about paper dressmaker Isabelle de Borchgrave!). The female dancers had about four minutes to create their looks, which surprisingly were beautifully tailored and stylish.
I wish I’d taken my big girl camera to the show — I’m sure you’d rather look at the amazing dancers than me. I’ve been scouring the internet for some photos with no luck, but above is a photo of the dress creation in action at a previous performance. And check out this video of Brenda Way describing her inspiration for the piece.
Dance performance outfit info:
Cropped jacket: Diesel
Necklace: Vintage 1976/1776 bicentennial silver dollar from mom
Dress: Rodarte for Target
Belt: From Candystore Collective, that’s all I remember.
Boots: Seychelles, I wrote about purchasing them for TheBoldItalic.