Dancers’ Group in association with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival presents a new site-specific work by Sara Shelton Mann

Dancers’ Group in association with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is pleased to present The Eye of Horus, a series of site-specific solos by Sara Shelton Mann, presented free outdoors at Jessie Square in San Francisco, April 24-May 3.

Acclaimed choreographer and teacher Sara Shelton Mann is “an iconoclast who has performed to great acclaim and inspired others for decades” wrote San Francisco Bay Guardian critic Rita Felciano in a recent article awarding the artist a 2014 Goldie Lifetime Achievement Award. In The Eye or Horus Mann investigates archetypes through her five dancers: Christine Bonansea, Sherwood Chen, Jesse Hewit, Jorge de Hoyos and Sara Yassky.

Conceived as both a very intimate work and a large-scale spectacle, each solo incorporates DIY sound, media and light elements constructed by Production Designer David Szlasa to interact with the dancer, cityscape and audience.

Mann took her inspiration from Sacred Contracts, a book on archetypes by bestselling author Caroline Myss in creating this new series of solos. Of the work Mann said, “I’m interested in creating solos from the performers’ specific areas of interest and skill that will rub up against the social and political landscape of San Francisco. My goal is to have many archetypes and their aspects in a performance dialogue. Within each of the solos there is one of us. Imagine seeing many parts of our own internal lives as if looking into a mirror.”

“Dancers’ Group is thrilled to be supporting the work of a dance artist who has had such a deep impact on the Bay Area dance scene,” said Dancers’ Group Executive Director Wayne Hazzard. “The Eye of Horus provides us with an opportunity to bring together many generations of dance audiences and expose younger ones to Sara’s work and legacy.”

Located at 3rd and Mission Streets in front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jessie Square is a highly visible public site, attracting both local business-people and tourists visiting the museum and the adjacent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as well as shops and businesses. “Jessie Square makes for the perfect space where to present The Eye of Horus,” said Mann. “Its rich history, as a state at bay, as a landing pad that used to be a substation, as a place where buildings jut out and careen upward next to one another. If energy never dies, then that energy is still underground rising up through the stones of the once called historical lane. Somehow Jessie Square seems to hold at bay the past as well as the future.”

The Eye of Horus is presented as part of Dancers’ Group’s ONSITE Series. Through the ONSITE series, Dancers’ Group presents large-scale public projects that allow the organization to engage new audiences and to increase the visibility of local dance and dance artists. Previous ONSITE projects have included The Shifting Cornerstone by Joanna Haigood and Zaccho Dance Theater in August 2008; Spirit of Place at Stern Grove, by Anna Halprin in May 2009; Hit & Run Hula by Patrick Makuākane and company, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu in August 2009; Love Everywhere by the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project in February 2010; Intimate Visibility by LEVYdance in March 2010; We Don’t Belong Here by Katie Faulkner in 2011; Niagara Falling by Jo Kreiter in 2012; and He Moved Swiftly But Gently Down the Not Too Crowded Street: Ed Mock and Other True Tales in a City That Once Was… by Amara Tabor-Smith in June 2013.

Sara Shelton Mann is an educator, choreographer and writer who has created an interdisciplinary training and performance style dedicated to the enlightenment of the individual and the integrity of one’s relationship with the social and natural world. Early in her career, she danced in the companies of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis, before serving as artistic director of the Halifax Dance Co-Op in Nova Scotia. In 1979 in San Francisco, she formed Contraband, a group of collaborative artists dedicated to the evolution of an interdisciplinary dance vision. Over the next decade, Contraband staged 7 full-evening productions at abandoned building sites, warehouses and public housing projects destroyed by arson fire, and Mann established a complex interdisciplinary performance style and movement vocabulary that significantly influenced the evolution of contemporary dance in the Bay Area.

From 1996 to 1999, Mann collaborated and toured internationally with Guillermo Gomez-Peña, and since 2000, she has created 11 major works in collaboration with John O’Keefe, Austin Forbord, David Szlasa, Rinde Eckert and others. Mann is a Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, a certified Reconnection Healer(TM), a Dowser, and has years of study in various spiritual traditions, shamanic practices and healing trainings.

Mann has received 6 San Francisco Bay Area Isadora Duncan Awards, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, two CHIME mentorship awards and an award from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. Her work has been funded by the NEA, California Arts Council, American Dance Touring Initiative (Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund), and Dance/USA, among many others. She has held residencies at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as a Wattis Artist; Granada Artist at UC Davis; Potsdam International Festivalof Dance & Theater, Germany; Archstoyanie Festival, Russia; and the Djerassi Artist in Residence Program. She has created work extensively and toured nationally and internationally since 1985.

Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance and serves San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. As the primary dance service organization in the Bay Area, we support the second largest dance community in the nation by providing many programs and resources that help artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with their peers and community.

Recognized as a national model in the field of dance, Dancers’ Group has roots that are broad and deep within the Bay Area dance community. Begun in 1982 as a small collective of dance choreographers in need of studio space, Dancers’ Group has always been, first and foremost, an artist-centric organization closely connected to its constituents, with programs, services and advocacy work developed to address both the specific and broad needs of those involved in dance. Through a network of partnerships that have given it access to artists working across the broad spectrum of styles, forms, cultures and practices in the Bay Area, Dancers’ Group has built programs and services designed to fulfill the wide-ranging needs of the region’s diverse dance community. In 1983, it began to develop a menu of presenting programs, which now serve as a central part of its operations and reach an audience of more than 30,000 per year.

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