Street Musicians, Foster Kids Inspire New Dance from Robert Moses' Kin

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Robert Moses Kin 'Bootstrap Tales' (Photo: Steve Disenhof/Robert Moses Kin)

We talked a few weeks ago on The Do List about the rich dance scene in the Bay Area — and Robert Moses Kin is one of the best.

For his 23rd home season, Moses has created a dance out of an unlikely pair of influences: interviews with foster youth in the dance company's arts training and mentorship program, and interactions with street musicians in San Francisco. The piece is called Bootstrap Tales, and I met up with him recently with this week's Do List co-host, KQED Producer Nina Thorsen.

"The very idea has motion," Moses said, "you pull yourself up by your bootstraps. The core of the idea is motion, the core of the idea is the spirit soaring in some way, even if it starts on the ground."

Nina and I couldn't help but be impressed with the respect Moses shows for the street musicians he worked with. "If I spend too much time talking to them," Moses told us, "and don’t compensate them in the moment, then I’m impinging on their ability to do their job and make a living." Which is why Moses kept a wad of fives and twenties in his pocket as he walked the streets of San Francisco, paying the musicians for their time along the way.


The one thing street musicians hate the most, Moses said, are "zombies": people who watch and listen, and don't offer money, a smile, or a thank you. We think audiences for his new dance premiering Feb. 23-25 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will definitely applaud. Details here.