San Francisco’s West Wave Dance Festival returns this week. The Chronicle’s Pink section had me talk with Heidi Schweiker, one of the standouts from last year’s season:

“Heidi Schweiker punches the air with her shoulder, makes a thumbs-up and swings her arm, then takes quick steps backward like a sneaky cartoon character on rewind. The combination intrigues her; she stops and scribbles notes, does the steps again with notebook in hand.

She is 29 years old and working alone in a sunny studio at the San Francisco Dance Center. But it’s easy to imagine the 10-year-old girl who once made dances in her living room, furniture pushed to the walls. Schweiker’s face is round and doll-like, and her compact figure, though fit, might be described as bubbly. Her focused expression belies the cuteness. She bends in a half-lunge, touches hand to her forehead, lets her other arm slice in front of her chest as though to complete the sign of the cross. Is this movement for its own sake, or a cryptic gesture from some ancient ritual?

Either way, it’s one of the most compelling reasons to catch the 14th annual West Wave Dance Festival, which begins this week and fills the rest of July with a sampling of the Bay Area’s overwhelming array of dance talent. The festival has long been the mainstay of the summer dance calendar, tiding fans over till fall with works by local luminaries and fresh faces alike, giving new audiences a crash course in our region’s panoply of styles.

But the programs have often been hit or miss, with a gem by ODC Dance co- Artistic Director KT Nelson following a formless dud by — well, let’s allow the earnest amateur to remain nameless. Fortunately, Executive Director Joan Lazarus has moved to a more tightly curated format in recent seasons, grouping emerging talents into “One Night Only!” evenings for the adventurous at ODC Theater, and banding proven dancemakers together for longer runs at the much larger Cowell. This year, there’s a slate devoted to South Bay choreographers. Brand new, too, is an “All Dance/No Tech” night, with minimal lighting design and a roster of participants vetted by sharp-eyed Circo Zero director Keith Hennessy.”

Click here for the full article.

I’m afraid I’ll be missing most of the festival, though. I’m down south checking out a different dance fest–the delightful Summerdance Santa Barbara, which this year has recruited three New York groups: Brian Brooks Moving Company, Tamango Urban Tap, and AsZure and Artists. I’m also working intensively on my novel-in-progress, and therefore I’m torn: How much to write about the festival at the expense of moving full-speed ahead with my fiction? Last night’s performance of Brian Brooks’s “Pinata” was fabulous, a temptation not to work on the novel if ever there was one. I will probably post about “Pinata” tomorrow, but today moving ahead with a long-stalled chapter feels urgent.

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