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FRESH Festival sounds like something that might attract foodies. In fact you do need an appetite — for thinking way outside of the box. The participating dancers, musicians, designers, and writers feed on each other’s disciplines to stretch their own thinking about who they are and what they want to do. If sometimes the “how” intrigues more than the “what,” so be it. Watching new modes emerging can be such an upper. – Rita Felciano


FRESH Festival 2017

January 2-22, 2017
Experimental Dance | Performance | Practice | Music | Exchange

ALTERNATIVA is thrilled to launch FRESH 2017 – the 8th annual Festival of Experimental Dance + Performance in San Francisco – celebrating and showcasing the abundance of embodied art, action, innovation and inclusion in the Bay Area with 3 immersive weeks of cutting-edge Performances, intensive Practices and interactive Exchanges from January 2-22. The theme of FRESH 2017 is empathy/disruption.

FRESH 2017 gathers 50+ local, national and international dance, music and performance makers, masters, upstarts and treasures to transmit their interests through a multifaceted context of meeting ground, main stage event, training arena, research lab and think tank. Open to all interested bodies and attracting participants, audiences and fans from around the world, FRESH Festival ignites the new year with an extravaganza of activity, while instigating new research and projects, encouraging potent artistry and cultivating community collaboration in new perspectives on embodiment, art, agency and culture.

The 2017 Festival is produced by ALTERNATIVA, curated by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Abby Crain and José Navarrete and hosted by Joe Goode Annex, Red Poppy Art House and F8 Nightclub in San Francisco and CTRL+SHFT in Oakland. FRESH 2017 is made possible with support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, CA$H Grant, Dancers’ Group and many generous individuals.

FRESH FESTIVAL 2017 – Theme/Focus




The theme of FRESH 2017 is empathy/disruption. Used as frames and filters throughout the Festival, these subtle and brutal reckonings with permeability, disorientation and coexistence push and pull us out of our comfort zones, transforming relationships – to ourselves, each other, the world – and disarming paradigms into shapes and directions where more into taken into account and more accountability is taken. Contemporary evolution requires empathy and disruption, perhaps in equal measure, especially in these divisive and decisive times. Within 21 days [the time it takes to make or break a habit] of empathetic practices and disruptive processes, FRESH 2017 encourages compassionate integrity and radical expression, implying that all involved will become more responsive and responsible.

FRESH Festival 2017

We are exited to be returning to our home, the Joe Goode Annex.  This unique space is located in San Francisco’s Project Artaud.  In easy reach of public transportation, it boasts an amazing sprung floor with radiant heat.

Joe Goode Annex – Photo Credits: Alex Schoenfeldt Photography


FRESH 2017 Curatorial Team

Abby Crain

Abby Crain

Abby Crain/LOOK

Abby Crain is an Oakland based artist who makes dances, teaches, performs, writes, and curates.   Her solo and collaborative work has been shown in the Bay Area, NYC, and LA.  She has taught at Kunst -Stoff Arts, The FRESH Festival, ODC, Movement Research NYC, Sonoma State, Hunter College, NYC, Dance New Amsterdam, NYC, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Connecticut College, and teaches an annual retreat at Dos Rios California with Sara Shelton Mann.  Most recently Abby has been seen performing with Guillermo Gomez Pena and Sara Shelton Mann, as well as with Jess Curtis Gravity. She performed in NYC and internationally with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful people from 2001-2009,  and with David Dorfman Dance from 2001-2004.  Her writing and interviews have been published by Itch Performance Journal (LA), PAPER FRONT (Portland), Critical Correspondence (NYC), and the Off Center (SF). Her curatorial projects include the NO THANK YOU SHOW, which asked artists to represent or stage work that has been rejected by granting organizations, theaters, collaborators, or the artist herself, as well as the NON MAJOR SHOW, which asked artists to show work was not in their primary medium. Her work is influenced by an ongoing polymorphous teaching and research project with Margit Galanter called Art Workouts, and a collaborative dialog around language and performances with Oakland poet, David Buuck. She is a certified teacher of Open Source Forms as developed by Stephanie Skura, and raises her two children in her free time.www.abbycrain.net

Kathleen Hermesdorf

Kathleen Hermesdorf

ALTERNATIVA, Artistic Director

Kathleen Hermesdorf is a San Francisco-based dance artist.  She directs ALTERNATIVA, an apparatus for deeply integrated contemporary dance and music via creative projects, improvisation, production and education, with musician Albert Mathias.  Hermesdorf has been at work in the Bay Area since 1991, directing her company since 1998, and actively instigating and producing artist-oriented and artist-run projects since 2005.  Hermesdorf was a member of Bebe Miller Company, Contraband/Sara Shelton Mann and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and co-director of Hermesdorf & Wells Dance Company with Scott Wells and Collusion with Stephanie Maher.  She has received a BFA and MFA in Dance, and professional recognition, including San Francisco GOLDIE and IZZIE Awards, and a New York BESSIE Award.  Hermesdorf teaches, creates, performs, organizes and produces in the United States and Europe, and has been a guest artist in Mexico, Senegal and Hong Kong.  Her work has been supported by the Zellerbach Family Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CA$H/Theatre Bay Area, CHIME/MJDC, the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Suitcase Fund and the American and French Embassies in Dakar, Senegal.  ALTERNATIVA is a fiscally sponsored project of Dancers’s Group.  la-alternativa.us

Jose Navarrette

José Navarrete

NAKA Dance Theater

José Navarrete is a native of México City where he was first exposed to theater and dance, choreographing and performing in parks, hospitals, and children’s parties as a clown and dancer. He studied dance at the National Institute of Fine Arts in México, and has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and M.F.A in Dance from Mills College. He has studied dance with Sara Shelton Mann, Taiko with Hiroyuki Nakagawa and Argentine Tango with Nora Dinzelbacher. In 2004, José was the recipient of a Bessie Schönberg residency at The Yard, and a Djerassi residency. José is the recipient of a CHIME Mentorship with Jess Curtis, and a CHIME Across Borders fellowship with Ralph Lemon. Navarrete has taught dance and performance to youth and adults in Mexico, and in the San Francisco Bay Area at Berkeley High School, Marin Academy, Cal State East Bay, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He currently curates and produces the Live Arts in Resistance (LAIR) initiative at Eastside Arts Alliance, which provides residencies and performing opportunities for artists of color in East Oakland. NAKA Dance Theater


FRESH 2017 features experimental dance, music and performance makers, masters, upstarts and treasures from the Bay Area and beyond, including ALTERNATIVA [Kathleen Hermesdorf + Albert Mathias] | Mary Armentrout | Larry Arrington | Amelia Uzategui Bonilla | Cat Brooks | Sherwood Chen | Abby Crain | Jess Curtis | Dance Studies Working Group | Shree Shyam Das | Dia Dear | Rachael Dichter | Hana Erdman | Chris Evans | McKay Garner | Cookie Harrist | Keith Hennessy | Sebastian Hernandez | Jesse Hewit | Xandra Ibarra | J Jha | Violeta Luna | Stephanie Maher | NAKA Dance Theater [José Navarrete x Debby Kajiyama] | Chrysa Parkinson | Brontez Purnell | Sara Shelton Mann | David Molina | Kevin O’Connor | Adria Otte | SALTA | Amara Tabor-Smith | The Younger Lovers | Keisha Turner | Vagittarius Rising | Roberto Varea | Sophia Wang | Hannah Wasielewski | Tessa Wills | Anna Martine Whitehead | Ian Winters.



Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 10.11.47 PMALTERNATIVA, directed by dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf with musician Albert Mathias, is an apparatus for deeply integrated contemporary dance and music via collaboration, creation, improvisation, performance, production, curation and education. Active in San Francisco since 1998, the organization supports the creative work of the directors, known for research, practice and performance pieces that explore human behaviors and conditions, corporeality and other ineffabilities. Activities, including an annual FRESH Festival, workshops in the Bay Area, residencies at universities, festivals and studios worldwide and PORCH/Ponderosa/POSSE in Germany, engage an extensive population of artists, audiences and participants. ALTERNATIVA is fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group and has received support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, CA$H Grant, CHIME/MJDC, San Francisco Arts Commission and The Suitcase Fund. / la-alternativa.us


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