I’ve got an article in the Chronicle today on the 25th anniversary of Rhythm & Motion dance center:
“A jazz dancer slinked in her silky dress. Robust women shook their shoulders to Cuban drumming. Twenty-year-olds in cargo pants spun on their hands to hip-hop beats. And in their seats, with wild claps or subtle head nods, the audience danced along Friday night as the Rhythm & Motion dance center celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The studio is one of San Francisco’s most popular, as the turnout proved: Nearly 900 students and friends stood in a will-call line that spilled onto Van Ness Avenue. They packed the stately Herbst Theatre with exuberant shouts that threatened to strip the gold-gilt paint off those dignified walls.
Dance forms seemed as plentiful as dancers. Ramon Ramos Alayo and Patricia West married modern and Afro-Cuban genres in a clinging duet, their torsos pulsing like gills. Sydney Tufari tossed off jazzy fouette turns in choreographer Ann Barrett’s solo set to Santana. Amara Tabor-Smith and Christal Brown danced a gut-wrenching “roots modern” piece of desperate hand- to-mouth gestures.”
R&M’s bread and butter is the dance workout program designed by founder Consuelo Faust, whose philosophy of dance is refreshingly inclusive:
“Who would guess, watching her bow with quiet pride, that it all began with aerobics? That was the rage in 1979, when Faust decided to support her career as a choreographer by calling “grapevine left!” and “four knee lifts!”
“I had to overlook some of the silliness of it,” Faust remembered on a recent Tuesday night, sitting in her third-story office at the Rhythm & Motion headquarters on Mission Street between Seventh and Eighth. One floor below her, drummers pounded out the accompaniment for West African Guinean dancing; on the ground level, tappers hoofed it up in the smaller studio while a dozen women swung their hips with Afro-Cuban zeal next door. “But I saw that I could bring my dance technique to aerobics and teach the general public, people who would never come to an official dance class because they’d be too intimidated.” ”
It all made me want to dance again. Don’t be surprised if you see me in a Fusion Rhythms class soon.