Sara Shelton Mann
Yerba Buena Center For the Arts Forum
Fri. Dec. 4, 2015
Ticket info. $30 at door, $25 in advance YBCA members $20, Senior, Teacher, Student $20 in advance, 10+ group $10 in advance $15 at door.
For more info, call 415 978-2787
Sara Shelton Mann , choreographer, writer, healer and former director of the contact improv troupe, “Contraband” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraband_(performance_group), presents “Erasing Time,” an ambitious film-centered reunion of artist collaborators who will interface with an audience that has loved or become intrigued by Shelton Mann’s storied reputation.
Most of “Erasing Time” is on film that will run in 40-minute segments at the opening and closing of the 5-hour gallery performance. The film segments were shot or edited by David Szlasa , Austin Forbord, among others, and scored by Norman Rutherford .
Billed as a retrospective of Shelton Mann’s creative life, the title “Erasing Time” could be taken as an oxymoron. When asked why she chose it, Shelton Mann said, “My work isn’t linear. So you’ll see 1970s film fractured with a piece I made five years ago. It is the confluence of my work without respect to time, in a gallery venue. It’s a chance for artists and audience to meet each other, and enjoy seeing extraordinary performers and what they looked like 20 years ago.” Shelton Mann says that, like her work, the event will wrinkle the five hours into one teach-in—style mash up.
In an in-the-round, minimally lit bare space, Matthew DeGumbia’s filmic contribution and Lauren Elder’s ice block with cherry blossom sculpture, are among the scant décor reference points for audience comings and goings.
Inside that space, the public can experience the work, and engage in Q and A exchanges with a broadly international swath of Shelton Mann’s renowned collaborators, including Guillermo Gómez-Peña , Larry Arrington, Jess Curtis, Kim Epifano, Keith Hennessy, Nina Hart, Kathleen Hermesdorf , Albert Mathias, José Navarrete, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph . The expected takeaway is the layered impact of the healing instruction Shelton Mann received from Hamid Ali in Nova Scotia, her training and performance experience with Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis in New York, and Civil Rights activism prompted by her formative years in Rome, Georgia, followed by Indian land rights advocacy. All this she has shared with dancers, and in return, benefited from their willingness to experiment with work not strictly within the parameters of their stage disciplines. The resulting creative and curative payload has Shelton Mann and her oeuvre tagged as “radical.” When asked whether that term means that she is a left liberal who wants to radically change society or a revolutionary who hopes to overturn the system, Shelton Mann laughs, and says, “I approach things truthfully. It’s difficult to stand up for yourself and not become a control freak, but I have taken so much from healing training, and so I have had to ask myself, ‘How do I teach what I’ve learned to performers?’ I saw how people bleed into space, and came up with the concept of radical space. It’s the place where I don’t want to see your thoughts or inability to be neutral. I let the space open so people can enter and say, ‘What was that?’”
Can the audience members count on participating in the act of erasing time and decide for themselves? “I won’t stop anyone who starts dancing,” Shelton Mann says.