This is the 30th anniversary season for the Joe Goode Performance Group, and the eponymous choreographer is celebrating with a new work that tackles the way things are lost and evolve as time goes on. Nobody Lives Here Now (accompanied with a score by the Thalea String Quartet) is on a program at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with other selections pulled from the company’s three decades of pieces, many of which combine dance with the spoken word.
“As we get older, things disappear and change, and there’s an evolution that’s in process that is inevitable, and yet totally surprising and incomprehensible,” Joe Goode says. “I’ve lived in this city for over thirty years, and watched it change, and in some ways disappear, the city that I knew, the kind of bohemian little alternative lifestyle center of the universe feels very different now.” The idea for the work came from a town in France that was entirely destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, but after visiting the site, and researching it, decided to take the idea of complete loss and transformation to a more individual scale. “As an aging dancer, I’m in my 60s, I’m not the physical kind of paragon that I used to be. And I had a lot of my identity in that person. And so how do you kind of reform your identity or adjust to this thing that is really changing?” Goode’s use of text, pulling the dancers’ individual stories out of them with prompts that are then workshopped and edited, led the piece to explore gender fluidity as well. Having dancers speak has been something that he’s done from the beginning. “I never understood why dance was a mute art form, or why you couldn’t encounter language and even narrative with the kind of beautiful abstraction of the moving body. I don’t think those things have to live in separate boxes.”