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Joanna G. Harris
Music and Dance Reviews
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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
United States
San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco, CA

Margaret Jenkins Dance Company: Margy's 40-Year Achievement

by Joanna G. Harris
April 3, 2014
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.978.ARTS (2787)
Joanna G. Harris
Author, Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1916-1965. Regent Press, Berkeley, CA, 2009. Contributor to reviews on culturevulture.net
This past weekend, Margaret Jenkins, known to the local dance world as Margy, celebrated the 40th year of her company. For this occasion she presented three performances and several accompanying events. Jenkins collaborated with the Kolben Dance Company of Jerusalem for the performance of "The Gate of Winds." Jenkins' work for her company was entitled "Times Bones," and it was preceded by a prologue (at the YBCA Forum), "The Gates." Text for "The Gates" was made available by long time Jenkins collaborators, Michael Palmer and Rinde Eckert.

In the YBCA Forum, Alexander V. Nichols provided a long narrow space for the MJ Dance Company to walk through a recitation by Jenkins herself, followed by her performing a short dance episode.

The audience, which consisted of dozens of former Jenkins company dancers and friends, then moved into the YBCA Theater for "Times Bones".

Her statement of intention read, "I selected shards – one or two minutes segments - that had a kind of gesture or resonance I thought would be interesting to be reinterpreted by the current dancers in my company."

This current company, whose training differs from that of 40 years ago, was then given the task of presenting the old and new material.

"Times Bones" consisted of many long segments of walking, grasping, holding, lifting and carrying one another.

The material was all fascinating, but after such long phrases, one lost track of the work's intention, rhythmic energy and focus.

The dancers in the work were serious, concentrated and brilliant in their performance. They included: Kelly Del Rosario, Chinchin Usu, Risa Larsen, Ryan T. Smith and Megan Wright. Dancers Brendan Barthel and Margaret Cromwell deserve special credit for outstanding performances in the piece.

Amir Kolben, artistic director of Kolben Dance Company of Jerusalem worked with Jenkins for the world premiere of "The Gate of Winds." The energetic work for eight dancers began with a long series of jumps. The two companies occasionally 'lined-up' across from one another but for the most part, the fifteen dancers on stage intermingled as one unit.
Sometimes, it was difficult to tell them apart since the movement material continued with that of the previous work.

All performers and collaborating artists are to be congratulated on an inspired work with beautiful stage effects and lighting. The length and repetition of so much material however, began to be wearing.

Congratulations are certainly due to Margy and company for 40 years of fine work.
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in 'Times Bone'. Photo Courtesy of Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.

Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in "Times Bone". Photo Courtesy of Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.

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