Hope Mohr Dance - Montalvo Saratoga

Contemporary dance that is beautiful and “thought-provocative” (Hope Mohr) – this is what Hope Mohr Dance, a San Francisco-based company founded by extensively-trained dancer and choreographer Hope Mohr, will offer audiences in Montalvo’s Carriage House Theatre on October 15. The company will perform two works: Far From Perfect (2010), which explores the overlap between forgiveness and the creative process; and Moments of Being (2008), which focuses on listening-based improvisation. The performance is at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through Montalvo’s Box Office.

Mohr, who recently completed a residency at Montalvo’s Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program, looks forward to sharing these performances at Montalvo. “My work is contemporary, beautiful and thought-provocative,” said Mohr. “People can expect to see rigorously crafted, emotionally resonant live performance in an unusually satisfying evening!”

Far from Perfect explores the nature of perfection and forgiveness in terms of artistic creation. Mohr invokes and reinvents the conventions of classic dance as her dancers move in and out of classical ballet poses, intentionally move off balance, break through lines, and break away from preconceived notion of “perfect” movement. The performance features music by William Duckworth and original poetry by Brenda Hillman.

Moments of Being uses the act of listening as its subject. “Normally,” says Mohr, “choreographic processes develop around visual preferences. For this piece I wanted to build the movement based on the act of listening.” Sound is of primary importance in this piece. The combination of Bach and found sounds from the urban environment not only drives the action onstage as Mohr juxtaposes listening-based improvisation and classical dance vocabulary, but also invites the audience to participate through their own visual and auditory responses. Moments was created in 2008 while Mohr co-led an artistic residency in New York entitled “The Language of the Listening Body.”

This is the inaugural performance for Montalvo’s program New Directions series. Throughout the 2010-11 season, Montalvo will introduce a new series of performance works that will explore new directions in the areas of dance, music and performing arts. Organized by Kelly Sicat, director of programs at Montalvo, this series will feature the work of former Lucas Artists Residency Fellows and other selected artists; additional performances will be announced in the spring.

Since its inception in 2007, Hope Mohr Dance has quickly gained recognition as one of the leading emerging modern companies in the Bay Area.

“Although I have a background in formal training (ballet, Merce Cunningham) and enjoyed a performance career with major modern companies in New York, I have come home to my native Bay Area to create something wholly new and distinct,” said Mohr. “I abstract personal story into universal truths. I blend classical, modern and post-modern forms to create a unique aesthetic.”

The Montalvo Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm. 408-961-5858.

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.