Walking through the Old Mint is like traveling through time. Opened in 1874, the “Granite Lady” hearkens back to simpler days when the government stored one-third of the nation’s gold in our city’s vaults. Designated a national historic landmark, the Old Mint is receiving a resurgence with a proposed cultural and education center along with new businesses along Mint Plaza.

But while you get a feel for the Old Mint from the plaza below, it’s not the same as shuffling through the hallways, perusing its awe-inspiring brick work and shiny steel doors while feeling like you’re taking a bite out of history. An opportunity like that is rare, but for the next few weeks, you, too, can get that special feeling if you attend Joe Goode Performance Group’s encore presentation of Traveling Light.

What: Joe Goode Performance Group‘s Traveling Light
Where: The Old Mint, 88 Fifth Street, San Francisco
When: July 7-Aug 1; Wed/Thurs/Sun at 8PM, Fri/Sat at 8PM and 10PM
Tickets: Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun at 8pm, $44; Wed at 8PM and Fri/Sat at 10PM, $34. Advanced purchase is highly recommended.

Well respected throughout the arts community, dancemaker Joe Goode along with an impressive team, including lighting designer Jack Carpenter, composer Jay Cloidt, and costume designer Wendy Sparks, have created an evening length performance installation within the Old Mint. Each performance hosts less than 180 guests (audience members), and you move from one performance space to the next in medium-sized groups, getting up close and personal as the performers delve through breath-filled movements and stories filled with economic and personal chaos. Also, dress warmly, as one such space is outside in the interior courtyard!

The production encourages us to examine the excess in our lives, and as I played fly-on-the-wall during Friday’s rehearsals, I felt otherworldly, taking in the physicality and timelessness of the space and how that juxtaposed with the performers’ modern dance movements and the iPad that was helping the stage crew manage the light and sound cues throughout the building. What do we need to progress, to move forward, to change, to evolve, to become happier and, more importantly, better and more in tune with the world around us? I don’t have the answers, but Traveling Light focuses us in on the journey toward answering some of these questions.

Want to learn more? Read fellow Appeal contributor Richard Ciccarone’s interview with Joe Goode about his inspiration for Traveling Light and his early dance exposure.

Photos & copy: Becca Hirschman

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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