Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) presented Sara Shelton Mann's 7 Excavations / at the edge of the shore and the edge of the world, an open residency and a new dance performance commissioned for the FMCAC campus for FORT MASON ART's Summer 2022 program.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Sara Shelton Mann's Summer Solstice, developed during the performance residency, 7 Excavations / at the edge of the shore and the edge of the world

Summer Solstice Program

A master artist of extraordinary innovation and influence, San Francisco Bay Area choreographer, poet, and teacher Sara Shelton Mann brought her expansive vision to FMCAC in this 21-day activation of the campus – which culminated in a summer solstice performance debut of scores in development for 20 years. Mann and her collaborators embarked on an open residency in celebration of nature’s wisdom, experimental dance pedagogy, and physical gathering to find our place in the world at this unprecedented time.

Mann’s residency unfolded through an open process of experimental performance-making as an incredible team of artists – dancers jose e abad, Gabriele Christian, Abby Crain, Clarissa Dyas, Ellie Goudie-Averill, Gizeh Muniz-Vengel, Ainsley Tharp, Jesse Zaritt, and filmmaker Tori Lawrence – collaborated with Mann to develop works across the campus. As the residency progressed, choreographic chalk grids, video, sound, and art installations were constructed on the campus, providing the public with unique insight into the developmental process of making performance. Audiences were invited to witness Mann’s choreographic process via open rehearsals and had opportunities to participate in Mann’s Chi Cultivation practice, her Movement Alchemy physical training, and a writing and movement workshop. There was also a filmmaking class with Tori Lawrence.

On Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 8:00 p.m., the residency culminated in a one-night-only Summer Solstice performance featuring a score of solos, duets, and large ensemble performances created onsite at Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture; including an original score by sound designer Miles Lassi in collaboration with violinist Ira Echo; and film work by Tori Lawrence. The artists performed with the setting sun, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the landscape of San Francisco’s northern waterfront as their backdrop.

FMCAC was pleased to partner with Mixed Bag Productions in presenting 7 Excavations / at the edge of the shore and the edge of the world, a unique performance experiment. Mixed Bag Productions’ residency activities with Sara Shelton Mann and her collaborators were supported in part by California Arts Council Impact Projects and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sara Shelton Mann in collaboration with:
Assistant To The Artist: Jesse Zaritt
Performers: jose e abad, Gabriele Christian, Abby Crain, Clarissa Dyas, Ellie Goudie-Averill, Gizeh Muniz-Vengel, Ainsley Tharp, Jesse Zaritt
Film: Tori Lawrence
Music: Miles Lassi
Sound Design: Ira Echo, violinist
Production: Abby Crain, James Fleming

About The Artist
Sara Shelton Mann has created a substantial body of work over a 55-year career as a dancer and choreographer. From 1979 to 1996, she directed the San Francisco-based company Contraband in a series of unique, immersive performances that came to represent a Bay Area performance aesthetic.

As a process choreographer, her work is deeply collaborative and interdisciplinary with a focus on weaving stories, experiences, and provocations into improvisational movement scores with a deep commitment to experimenting with new methods and mediums for presenting dance. Like many artists who have spent a lifetime in the heart of their craft, Mann has come to believe that the exploration of dance forms a vital collective heritage that transcends the artifact of performance. Through this colorful heritage of training and dance, Mann seeks to facilitate the emergence of the next generation of Bay Area dance voices.

“My art is of a piece with my healing work and political engagement: it is meant to reveal and transmit the story of our collective humanity — our potential for excellence, our danger — in a time of global change, chaos, and paradigm shift. It is an antidote to fear, doubt, and greed as the face of who we are.” – Sara Shelton Mann

All Fort Mason Art Programs are generously supported by San Francisco Grants for The Arts and the FMCAC Board of Directors.

Image Credits: Photos by Robbie Sweeny 

Related Events During The Residency