Purple Moon Dance Project to Celebrate 20th Anniversary


Sharon Sato and Ruth Ichinaga of Purple Moon.

SAN FRANCISCO — Framed within a backdrop of ethereal light, shadow, and natural elements and juxtaposed against high-tech visual imagery, Artistic Director Jill Togawa unveils Purple Moon Dance Project’s 20th anniversary season with “The Unforgettable Secret Rhythms of Joy.”

As the first chapter of a larger work, this world premiere questions the speed at which our lives flow in relation to our increasing dependency on technology. “What would a not-so-fast world be like?” asks Togawa.

A tale for all ages, “The Unforgettable Secret Rhythms of Joy” introduces the goddess and a magic silver box of invisible webs. Told through the voices of children and adults, this inquisitive work uncovers the sometimes hidden pleasures of reality.

While this first chapter explores our obsessions with time and attempts to juggle the increasing pace of our lives alongside our inherent yearning for physical contact, “The Unforgettable Secret Rhythms of Joy” is only the beginning of the larger work’s ambitious search for balance in an unbalanced world. Technology inspires innovation, encourages creativity, and maintains connection. Yet, with its refined tools of communication, filtration, and a sea of “invisible webs,” technology more and more overrides humanity’s physiological craving for touch and keeps us in a cycle of “unexperienced intimacy.”

Inspired by the speed of her own life and her desire for her 5-year-old daughter, Carmel, to grow up appreciating the real world, Togawa aspires to move audiences to rediscover that yearning for human connection and to imagine an integrated balance of virtual reality and realness.

“Technology helps us stay connected. That’s a positive thing. That’s what’s exciting about it! People are able to connect with each other instantaneously,” explains Togawa. Instead of rejecting the phenomenon, she recognizes that technology brings simultaneous benefits and challenges. But, for the sake of future generations, she questions, “How do we integrate technology into our lives with integrity?”

For this performance, Purple Moon will be accompanied by two stellar musicians. Laura Inserra will be on the Swiss hang and kalimba of southern Africa, and Tbird Luv will be on the Hawaiian ukulele, flute, and vocals. Influenced by Togawa’s original text and movement interpretations of the dancers, the musicians were not only selected for this piece because of her deep appreciation for their artistry, but also because each one brings their unique voice to the creative process.

Inserra explains that she and collaborator Luv are “incorporating the sounds of technology with the human body as the creator. As a human being you can create metallic sounds with voice, while the acoustic instrument reminds us of humanity. We are bringing both images together.”

The premiere of “The Unforgettable Secret Rhythms of Joy” is part of a collaborative presentation of “Two Wings: A Shared Evening of Dance.” In the second half of the evening, Bay Area choreographer Liz Boubion will present “Maclovia’s Birds: Inspirados por el Arte de Mi Abuelita,” a piece depicting end-of-life integration, love, loss and the language of birds. More information on this piece can be found at www.lizboubion.org.

“Two Wings: A Shared Evening of Dance” will be presented on Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 17, at 6 p.m., at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., San Francisco. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children 5 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com.

About Purple Moon

Purple Moon Dance Project was founded in 1992 by Togawa with the mission of creating visibility and positive social change for lesbians and women of color through the medium of dance.

In addition to a home season of performances, Purple Moon has developed holistic programs through its Community Arts and Health Education programs, primarily for women of color with life-threatening illness, elders, and individuals in recovery, using dance and movement to heal their bodies. The programs are held weekly in conjunction with the Chinatown Public Health Center and Latino Commission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Purple Moon’s artistic and programmatic work is funded in part by: Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, The California Endowment, California Arts Council, Horizons Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, MetLife, National Arts Guild, the National Endowment for the Arts, ZeroDivide, San Francisco Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund, and the Purple Moon Galaxy.

For more information on volunteer, donor, and sponsorship opportunities, e-mail [email protected], call (415) 552-1105, or go to www.purplemoondance.org. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


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