In the chaotic, dirty heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, in a fuchsia building that once housed a porn palace, stands a venue named CounterPulse. I’m always curious what’s going on at CounterPulse because the place seems to welcome subversion with an edge of sexiness, because it prioritizes racial equity in a way that goes way beyond lip service, and because you never know when you’re going to discover something mind-blowing there. That all proved true again in early June, when I was lured to the culminating performances of CounterPulse’s ARC Edge residency by Audrey Johnson, a beguiling dancer in Gerald Casel’s company whose premiere, “[and then we must be],” turned out to be lovely but not revelatory. Then I came back from intermission for an artist I’d never heard of but clearly should have: Nkeiruka Oruche. Her company, Gbedu Town Radio, proceeded to blow the roof off the place.
Gbedu Town Radio's “Mixtape of the Dead and Gone #1.” Photograph by Ashley Ross
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Continue Reading