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SFDanceworks Announces Season Five, July 8 - 10 At ODC Theater

Featuring world and regional premieres by Edward Clug, Babatunji Johnson, Laura O’Malley, Dani Rowe and Yin Yue.

SFDanceworks Announces Season Five, July 8 - 10 At ODC Theater

SFDanceworks has announced the program for its fifth season featuring world and regional premieres by Edward Clug, Babatunji Johnson, Laura O'Malley, Dani Rowe and Yin Yue, as well as a revival of Martha Graham's classic work, Deep Song.

Season Five performances will take place at ODC Theater, and tickets, $28 - $42, are now on sale at and via a link at

"I am so excited for SFDanceworks to reemerge for Season Five under the leadership of Dana Genshaft and Lindsay Clipner!" said SFDanceworks Founder James Sofranko. "The guiding principle under which I launched SFDanceworks in 2014 still exists today: to showcase the best of contemporary dance in a mixed repertory format."

"Dana has been a part of the company since the beginning, both as a dancer and a choreographer, and now she has curated a season of the highest caliber, bringing together world-class dancers and sought-after choreographers in a program that boasts world premieres and revivals of masterworks. The Bay Area is a wonderful place to experience dance, made all the richer by the existence of SFDanceworks."

After an illustrious 15-year career with San Francisco Ballet, Genshaft started to choreograph. One of her first commissions she received was from SFDanceworks for its inaugural season. Now as the company's interim artistic director, she continues the ambitious project begun by Sofranko. "It's been an honor to shepherd SFDanceworks' return to the stage," said Genshaft. "We are thrilled to be joined by several returning, super talented artists including Dani Rowe, Laura O'Malley and Babatunji Johnson - and we are equally proud to present Babatunji's choreographic debut."

In addition to presenting world premieres by these three Bay Area artists, SFDanceworks will present West Coast premieres by Edward Clug and Yin Yue, both internationally renowned though less well-known in the Bay Area. Indeed, SFDanceworks' Season Five marks the Northern California debut of Clug and Yue.

Clug is the artistic director of Maribor Ballet in Slovenia, and while his works have toured to the East Coast as part of the repertory of Nederlands Dans Theater, SFDanceworks will be the first American company to perform any of his works. For its fifth season, the company will perform mutual comfort (2015), a work for two men and two women set to a string quartet by Slovenian composer Milko Lazar. "A gem...[the] dancers seem to speak via an entirely new movement vocabulary, although the choreography incorporates many pedestrian gestures," (Critical Dance).

Yin is the founder and artistic director of YY Dance Company based in New York. Born and raised in China, she studied at the prestigious Shanghai Dance Academy and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and her trademark style fuses movement from both Chinese folk and contemporary dance. For its fifth season, SFDanceworks will present Yin's Just Above the Surface, created in 2020 during a residency at West Michigan University with Peridance contemporary dance company. "The piece is about becoming fully aware of our existence through gravity," said Yin. "Our desire is to sink our feet into the earth, to feel the ground, in order to reach toward the sky."

Finally, SFDanceworks will present a classic work by Martha Graham created in 1937 in response to the Spanish Civil War. A solo originally performed by Graham herself, Deep Song is set to a score of flamenco music which was subsequently lost for decades, then rediscovered in 2003 behind a desk at the Martha Graham Dance Company's offices. According to the work's original program note, Deep Song was "not meant to be an exact picture of a Spanish woman but presents the torture of mind and body experienced in common by all people who react to such suffering as the Spanish people have faced."

"We are proud to introduce Bay Area audiences to the work of important choreographic voices like Clug's and Yin's, and to passing down classic works like Graham's Deep Song from one generation to the next," said Lindsay Clipner, SFDanceworks managing director.

"Moreover, a big part of our mission is to dive into the creation of new works by choreographers at various stages in their careers. Investing in these artists sets the stage for the future. Through SFDanceworks' LIFT Series, an incubator for emerging choreographers, this year we are commissioning first-time choreographer Babatunji Johnson, a dancer of astonishing power and finesse, in the creation of a quartet, and we can hardly wait to share it with audiences!"

Collaborators this season include dancers Dores Andre, Katerina Beckman, Sarah Chou, Caroline Dahm, Erik Debano, Brooke Corrales, Stella Jacobs, Babatunji Johnson, Nick Korkos, Marusya Madubuko, Amelia Schulz, Benjamin Simeons, Matt Wenckowski and Lani Yamanaka.

Additional collaborators include Brett Conway, stager for Rowe's new work; Kristina Dutton, composer for O'Malley's new work; lighting designer Jim French; Greg Lou and Aya Misaki, stagers for mutual comfort; Miki Orihara, stager for Deep Song; Susan Roemer, costume designer for Rowe's new work; and Grace Whitworth, stager for Just Above the Surface.

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Photo credit: Quinn Wharton

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