“Cariño: Economy of the Heart”

Pub date March 19, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionStage

PREVIEW There is something to be said for staying put. For one thing, you become part of a community. Anne Bluethenthal may have grown up in Greensboro, N.C. — not the easiest place when she was a kid if you were shy and Jewish — but she has been living and working in the Mission for more than 20 years. In one of her earliest pieces in San Francisco, Fish Can Sing, she paid tribute to Milly, the girl who walked away when the other kids threw stones at her. When Bluethenthal posits that the personal is political, she knows whereof she speaks. All the work she creates with Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers comes out of a deep womanly awareness of what it means to be a partner, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a female. Her collaborators, her dancers, the people who inspire her are (mostly) women — some gay, some not. Increasingly she has embraced and been embraced by women artists from non-Western cultures. Who has not embraced her are the foundations. She doesn’t fit their criteria. She is not edgy; she is not avant-garde; she is not political (in the most commonly understood way). She is outside the latest trend. Her voice is soft; her voice is quiet. But she won’t go away despite the reality that putting together shows is a constant uphill struggle. She manages because enough people believe in her work; people like Laura Elaine Ellis and Frances Sedayo, who have danced with her for years. Is Bluethenthal a "bleeding heart liberal"? You bet she is, and in Cariño: Economy of the Heart, you can count on an outpouring. "Cariño" is a term of endearment used between friends, family, and lovers. It fits.
Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers March 21-23 and March 27–29, 8 p.m. March 23, 6 p.m. Project Artaud Theatre, 450 Florida, SF. $25 (March 27, pay what you can). 1-800-838-3006, 706-9535, www.abdproductions.org, www.brownpapertickets.com.