Ok, now that I’ve thrown a handful of dance events your way, you’re probably thinking, “Wait! Halt those online presses! I need some basic training minus the fatigues, boots, and push-ups!” With this in mind, I introduce to you “Burning Dance Questions,” an introductory online non-credit course in dance appreciation.
Q: My parents/grandma/in-laws and/or evil arch nemesis (collectively referred to as “them”) are visiting, and I’d like to appear hip and cool by taking them to an afternoon dance performance, but I’ll confess, I’m clueless as to where to look for event information. Would you please point me in the right direction?
A: There are tons of online sources (calendars, venues, companies, etc.) for you to peruse, and since you said “please,” I’ve included a few below to get you started.
Dancers Group (calendar)
San Francisco Ballet
Center for the Arts
San Francisco Performances
The Garage< Fort Mason
Jewels in the Square (Union Square)
City Box Office
Goldstar Events (discount tickets)
Q: What’s a tutu? And I wear an XXL, so where can I buy a fourfour?
A: Female ballet dancers may wear a tutu, aka a poofy skirt, in ballet performances. There are many different styles and lengths of tutus, but the one that you’re probably thinking of is the really, and almost indecently, short one that’s designed to show off a female dancer’s intricate foot and leg work. Professional tutus (of all sizes) are custom-made, but cheaper ones can be purchased at dancewear stores.
Q: My date and I are heading to dinner before a performance at ODC Theatre. Any dinner or cuisine recommendations?
A: I try to abide by the tried-and-true method of never eating anything too fragrant or spicy before sitting with 100+ of my closest friends for a few hours. Maybe try something calming or at least not guaranteed to give you the runs before intermission (if there is one). And make sure to leave enough time to pay your check, walk to the venue, pick up your tickets, and get seated before curtain.
Q: Walking by the Opera House, I see lots of men in suits and women sporting things of a sequiny nature. Should I blow my paycheck on some serious threads?
A: No, unless your wardrobe consists entirely of flannel pjs and bunny slippers. Dress for the occasion and remember to layer; some performance spaces are air conditioned while others definitely aren’t. For most events, you’ll fit right in sporting business casual, but if your ticket cost a nice chunk of change, go dressier.
Q: Where can I buy a pole?
A: Dude, wrong kind of dance performance (but the toned and confident people Sheila
Kelley’s S Factor may be able to point you in the right direction).
Q: What if I don’t “get it”?
A: First off, even the most knowledgeable dance peeps don’t always “get” every performance they see (and yes, I’m acknowledging that I’ve walked away, on several occasions, scratching my head, and not from a bad case of dandruff). Part of dance’s intangible appeal is that it’s a spongy art form that transforms movement, combined with sound, imagery, and text, into a myriad of interlaced visual ideas and concepts. Some dance may be more straightforward, simply focusing on showing off fun moves and tricks while another performance may be hinting at a coming locust-filled apocalypse should we not change the way we conserve and reuse our plastic grocery bags.
Yes, it’s nice to go to a dance performance where you feel like you’ll understand it and leave all warm and fuzzy, but there’s also nothing wrong with pushing your own personal boundaries every now and then. Personally, I prefer going to dance performances with a friend because it provides a sounding board for what I thought and felt. My main goal isn’t to “get” it so much as to see how the performance affects my perceptions and ideas, and if it does so in a clear way.
Have other dance questions? Ask Becca!