Yannis Adoniou, the artistic director of KUNST-STOFF, is definitely brilliant and quite possibly crazy, but in a good-creative-risky crazy sort of way. But why? Because Wednesday marks the opening of his new performing arts space, KUNST-STOFF arts, at Market and 5th.
Where: 927 Market St, 5th floor @5th (right by the Powell St BART station)
When: Dec. 31st, 2009, 8PM-1:30AM
Tickets: Free event! RSVP here
A native of Greece, Adoniou began his professional career with Hamburg Ballet and later Bonn Ballet. After some early choreographic efforts and a meeting with Alonzo King, Adoniou joined King’s LINES Ballet and later formed his own dance company, with Tomi Paasonen, KUNST-STOFF. Now approaching its 12th year, the award-winning San Francisco-based contemporary dance company is well regarded across the globe.
KUNST-STOFF is fun to say, but what does it mean? “Together, kunststoff translates into “synthetic, plastic, artificial, or unnatural,” but separately, “kunst” means art and “stoff” means things. KUNST-STOFF’s goal is to create “conceptually driven work that challenges and expands the boundaries of our perception.”
So why a new artists’ space? Adoniou stresses consistency. “As… artists, especially when you balance between teaching, choreographing for other people, having your own dance company, I just realized that there is so much giving out and… investigation towards your own craft. Specifically, I had a residency in Florida at Florida State University last year, and I was there for four weeks. It was amazing to be able to be with your art for four weeks, to be consistent in a place where you can actually investigate and create. And I know myself and a lot of my friends and colleagues that go through the same experience here. We just teach a lot in different places, so I wanted to create a space where the artists can really go deeper in what they’re interested in. So it’s a personal need, but also applies to my colleagues.”
As for the timing and location, he says, “You know, it was interesting… when I was 18, we did a piece when I was dancing in Germany about Andy Warhol. And I started becoming familiar with his factory, and it always seemed to me an interesting point where artists could come together and all that good stuff. So it’s always been inside of me, but I’ve never really looked actively because it’s hard in San Francisco to do something like this.
Because of the economy, there’s a lot [of space] available, and then someone approached me actually about getting a space in Potrero Hill… [T]hen I started looking into the market and educating myself, and literally I was on Craigslist, looking at what was going on… [the space I chose] used to be a dollar store downstairs, and the remainder of the building was actually just storage for 15 years. So basically we’re the first people going in there and transforming that space… I knew that location is very important. I wanted to provide something different, something new in a way. I knew that the Mission already has so much dance and arts, and I wanted to just spread, just find a good location that would be significant… And 5th and Market is just an amazing location, to be downtown and reach different audience. I think it’s important to bring some new patrons into the arts.”
The location may be “amazing,” but this is one local who thinks that Adoniou has his work cut out for him. Located just east of the basement-located, florescent light-filled Marshall’s, this mid-Market span has gotten loads of attention over a planned revitalization, but currently foot traffic tends to fall off once you hit 5th. Should the area flourish, Adoniou could have a major success on his hands.
KUNST-STOFF arts will house Adoniou’s company as well as offer morning yoga classes, technique classes with well-known instructors such as Sara Shelton Mann and Adoniou himself, workshops with local and visiting teachers, and rental and performance space. Adoniou and his collaborators are in in good company, with Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, The Garage, Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, CounterPULSE, LINES Ballet, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts within an eight-block radius.
To celebrate the new space, KUNST-STOFF arts is hosting an open house this New Year’s Eve, and in celebratory spirit, the evening includes DJs, live performances, and a bar. The Appeal knows what happens when you post about free events–tons of people show up! So you, you, you, and you, get yourself to KUNST-STOFF arts Open House and New Year’s Eve party tomorrow night.