At the beginning of June, Hope Mohr Dance will present a work that pays tribute to the passing of the last industrial blacksmith shop in San Francisco. Precarious began as a site-specific piece that was originally going to be performed at Klockars Blacksmith & Metalworks, but while the dancers were rehearsing and creating material based on improvisation, they learned that with the legalization of marijuana in San Francisco, the shop was going to become a pot dispensary, and so the performance has been moved to Counterpulse.
There’s more information about the performance and the walk that comes before at the Hope Mohr Dance website.
Hope Mohr became aware of the shop because a friend who is a painter had a studio on the top floor of the building. “And she and I had an ongoing improvisation practice in the building. And I decided that for my company’s 10th anniversary, I wanted to make a performance that was not… did not come from the studio. I didn’t want to make something in a hermetically sealed environment. I wanted to make something that was site-specific, and I fell in love with the building, and decided I wanted to make a performance there.” So she and the dancers began the process. “The whole company spent several months improvising there on site, and developing material very much in response to the tactile environment, the visual environment, and the sound environment.” She hopes that unique atmosphere will carry over into the performances at Counterpulse. “The material that people will see at the theater very much is based in their sensory memory of being in that unique environment. Which was quite hazardous, and often cold. The blacksmith shop has a dirt floor, it’s open to the elements. We were there in the winter, so when it rained, it would be raining in the building.” (Photo credit: Margo Moritz)