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A Ballet About Homelessness Wants You to See People, Not Look Away

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Can a ballet make an audience more empathetic? San Francisco-based choreographer Marika Brussel hopes her new piece, From Shadows, will do just that.

Brussel’s ballet tells the story of a family ripped apart by addiction — and of a young girl searching for her father in the faces of those who live on the streets. For Brussel the dance carries both local significance — she regularly passes homeless encampments on her way to and from the ODC dance studios — and personal weight. She, too, loved someone who lost several years of their life to homelessness.

“It’s much easier just to close down, and to not look at other people’s pain,” Brussel says. “I don’t want to not have those feelings, so I made this dance.”

Watch dancers transform the pain of invisibility and neglect into a beautiful dance in From Shadows. — Text by Sarah Hotchkiss



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