Choreofest Brings a Welcome Treat to Yearning Audiences

07/12/2021

After skipping a year in the pandemic, RAWdance's annual outdoor dance festival Choreofest has returned this summer drawing audiences eager to feel the presence of in-person dance perfornaces. Part of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Choreofest this year is divided into three Saturday afternoons of three performances each day.

On a sunny Saturday, July 10 audiences were treated to performances by Kiandanda Dance Theater/BybChanel Bibene, SAMMAY, and RAWdance. Each performance was held in a different venue area of the Gardens, where the audiences were guided by volunteers. Kiandanda performed at the Stone Stage, the main stage of the Gardens in the Esplanade, the grass lawn by Mission Street. Choreographer Byb Chanel Bibene has based his dance "Nza Kongo" on the culture of his native Republic of Congo.

Stacey Yuen, Katerina Wong, and Juliann Witt of RAWdance
Stacey Yuen, Katerina Wong, and Juliann Witt of RAWdance

San Francisco-based contemporary dance company RAWdance danced "Unconditional", an ode to motherhood choreographed by Katerina Wong and danced to a recited text composed by multipled women. Dancers Juliann Witt, Katerina Wong, and Stacey Yuen expressed the spoken words of the joys and aspirations of motherhood. A brief segment featured a woman dancing with two young children.

RAWdance
RAWdance

Influenced by Asian/Pacific background and experiences, the group SAMMAY takes its name from choreographer, singer, and story teller Samantha PeƱaflor Dizon. The group of five dancers in long white dresses performand "a ritual for thrivation" to music by Astralogik and a recited text regarding decolonizing and healing.

SAMMAY Performing in Yerba Buena Gardens terrace
SAMMAY Performing in Yerba Buena Gardens terrace

Choreofest returns for two more Saturdays in July and August with other performers, including Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Christine Cali. For more information, see the BayDance.com calendar.