Stephen Pelton Dance Theater‘s The Dance Hour comes to the CounterPULSE stage this weekend. The Dance Hour may sound like prescribed exercise, but it’s neither calisthenics nor group jazzercise.

Pelton explains, “I chose the framing device of a radio hour, as a way of prompting the audience to expect varying points of view. So it is a very eclectic program. But as many of the performers have been working together for some time, it feels as if the ensemble really shines as a whole.”

What: Stephen Pelton Dance Theater Presents: The Dance Hour

CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco

When: April 8-10, 8PM

Tickets: $20 general admission, $15 for members, students, seniors; no one turned away for lack of funds. Purchase online or in-person night of the show

This weekend’s show will feature several other choreographers besides Pelton, that of a few of his dancers: Christy Funsch, Nol Simonse (excerpted above), and Erin Mei-Ling Stuart.

Of what prompted him to share the spotlight with his dancers and other collaborators, Pelton reflects, “I’ve been working with a very close, very fabulous group of dancers who are all fascinating choreographers in their own right. Their work is incredibly inspiring to me and their own prolific movement invention has been the basis for most of the dances I have created in the past ten years. It has also been quite a relief to focus on my own dancing, in the solo created for me by Christy Funsch and Nol Simonse, while I let them focus on the choreography itself.”

The SF Bay Guardian has said of Pelton, “[His] full-bodied and thoughtfully structured choreography fits his dancers like second skin. He is a storyteller in the manner of poets who suggest, evoke, and analogize — but don’t spell out. The results are dances that resonate like a Zen bell.”

And I’ll admit, I haven’t caught work from Funsch or Simonse (although I have seen them dance), but I’ve seen a few offerings from Stuart. In last year’s Keyhole Dances, an interactive dancework performed in a flat high above Alamo Square, I wrote that she “knows how to transform the mundane into something uniquely special,” and a few years ago, reflected upon an excerpt from How to See Red that “[i]nventiveness, structure, and developed phrases tend to be Stuart’s strengths.”

But what is the The Dance Hour (or hour and a half) really? Pelton says, “We all come from a modern dance background, but I like to think of the works as stylistic entities within themselves. The excerpt that we’re showing from two rooms, a new collaboration with our playwright-in-residence Brian Thorstenson, is really ‘dance theater’ or better yet ‘theater dance’ as it is more of a play than anything else.”

the author

Becca Klarin writes about dance. Her first stage role was at the age of four, where she dressed in a brightly colored bumble bee tutu and black patent leather taps shoes. She remembers bright lights and spinning in circles with her eleven other bees, but nothing more. Becca also has an affinity for things beginning with the letter "P", including Pizzetta 211, Fort Point, pilates, parsvakonasana, and plies.

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