Early on the first Monday morning of the New Year, dancers filled the upstairs studio at Kunst- Stoff Arts studio in San Francisco. Floating above the street traffic of the early morning commute, dancers in the second story circular studio began sun salutations, as they started their day of practice and training with the class, “Yoga for Dancers”. As the sun rose and the day continued the beats of musician, Albert Mathias filled the studio and the street below, while dancers improvised or followed the rigorous and fierce choreography of instructor, Kathleen Hermesdorf. The day continued with choreography workshops from alternative dance mavens Abby Crain and Sara Shelton Mann, and ended with evening labs, discussions, and performances.
Each January ALTERNATIVA and Alternative conservatory start the New Year FRESH with a resurgence of creative expression and inspiration, “an abundance of body-based art, action and interaction”. Led by Kathleen Hermesdorf, The FRESH festival is a gathering of dancers and performance artists from throughout the world who meet in San Francisco for performances, training, discourse and community events.
FRESH 2014 includes the performance work of Sara Shelton Mann, Christine Bonansea, Kathleen Hermesdorf and Jeff Curtis, among others. Weekend two (1/10- 1/12) presented the new and somewhat raw work of artists, Brontez Purnel, Violeta Luna, Sara Kraft and Anna Martine Whitehead. Kraft’s work played on a duality between the textual and the visual, through her live cinema installation, in which her performance sometimes came in direct collision against the visual media with which she experimented. Whitehead’s haunting piece spoke directly to feelings of loss and death surrounding an individual as she sought a more hopeful tomorrow. The evening of performance art revealed what these artists perceive as primary struggles and dilemmas of the current moment, prompting audience reflection on personal challenges and perhaps hopes for the New Year.
A highlight of the FRESH festival is the opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their work. The FRESH mix and FRESH Outro showcase the explorations and choreographic work of the dancers participating in the intensive. As part of the festival, the Kinetech Interactive Media lab is open both Tuesdays (January 7th and 14th), offering dancers an opportunity to view and engage with the work of the dance- technology company that integrates cutting edge digital devices and computer programming with exquisite movement and visuals.
FRESH festival “is an arena for ideas…
…it encourages and thrives upon community building and cross-pollination”.
Artists discuss prominent topics in dance and art making in 2014 with lectures and panels by Keith Hennessy and Monique Jenkins. If not at these panels, artists will discuss their thoughts and inspirations while grooving to the beats of Albert Mathias at one of the festival’s mixers for participants and community members.
The Fresh Festival offers a vibrant and inspiring setting for individuals to see new work, engage with their personal creative practice, and build community with a diverse artist community. The festival offers the perfect spark to set oneself on a fulfilling artistic path in 2014.
Don’t miss out! There is still one more week of FRESH Festival. Watch a performance, take a class, start your New Year creatively!
Details on the FRESH Festival Here- http://bit.ly/KeqWru
Visit Kathleen Hermesdorf/ La Alternativa’s dance anywhere page