Dances You Don't Have to See to Appreciate

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Remote by Jess Curtis  (Photo: Emma Jervis/Jess Curtis/Gravity)

Jess Curtis isn't afraid to put big ideas on stage and see what happens. In his new mini-festival Intercontinental Collaborations #7, Curtis says he’s focusing on ways to make dance more accessible — especially to people with physical disabilities or the blind.

"I’ve been really interested in finding ways that allow people to experience dance-based performance not just by looking at it," he told me on a visit to KQED this week, "but by feeling it whooshing past you, and hearing the performers, describing what’s happening, in poetic ways." My co-host this week, Tomas Riley, says that when he was executive director at Counterpulse, he worked with Curtis, a tall man with a shock of white hair, and always "appreciated the generosity with which (Curtis) shares himself and the stage."

The festival will feature three dances: the U.S. Premiere of a work by Croi Glan Integrated Dance from Cork, Ireland, about digital culture; Sight Unseen, a world premiere by Curtis in collaboration with Celine Alwyn, Sherwood Chen, Gabriel Christian, Rachael Dichter, and Tiffany Taylor, who is vision impaired; and A Portrait of Me as You, a solo work by San Francisco artist Rachael Dichter. Details here.