Supporting our local queer culture is important to me, so when I heard about Rocked By Women, a multimedia dance performance by Sarah Bush Dance Project coming to Oakland on May 9 and 10th, I reached out to my friend Sarah Bush to tell us what this show means to her:
“The show is a fruition of years of dedication to my goal of creating a multimedia dance performance that expressed my gratitude to the women who have ROCKED me: my mother, Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway; Women Musicians – especially the lesbian feminists who created the Women’s Music Movement; Judy Delugacz and Olivia Records and Olivia Travel; Page Hodel and Club Q; Lisa Vogel and the Michigan Women’s Music Festival; Krissy Keefer and Dance Brigade.
My goal is to thank these women, celebrate their accomplishments, teach people a bit about their place in history and keep sharing their work with new audiences. I believe in creating dance, art, media, performances and community that upholds the diversity and strengths of women. I love that this mission impacts the young dancers I work with in my company and gives all of us the invitation to talk about feminism, to share openly the stories and music and histories of lesbians.
Sarah Bush Dance Project’s Rocked By Women celebrates the positive impact of lesbian musicians, feminists and activists from the Women’s Music Movement. This moving tribute appeals to fans of music, dance, and theater alike. Sarah Bush’s vivacious, bold, high-energy choreography entertains and inspires audiences. With original composition and sound design by Julie Wolf, the score features music by women from the 70’s to the 00’s, such as Cris Williamson, Tracy Chapman, Joan Jett, Queen Latifah, Bikini Kill, Ani DiFranco and Missy Elliott. The choreography weaves hip hop, modern, ballet and contact improvisation to express the story of a woman’s journey of growing up, coming out, falling in love and experiencing heartbreak.
More from Sarah:
This show is awesome because it follows the story of a girl growing up surrounded by the sounds, songs and support of women. We see her journey through her first crush, through coming out, through love and heartbreak, and finding her voice. The soundtrack is the eclectic mixtape of my life and you’ll love hearing the different selections. Though some details of the story and some pieces of music may not be familiar to audience members, the story is universal. The show offers a beautiful opportunity to laugh, cry, reminisce, learn and celebrate the stories of our lives and to honor the women who’s music and leadership and friendship has ROCKED us. A perfect activity to add to your Mother’s Day weekend plans.
The Saturday show kicks off with a VIP pre-show reception. The Sunday show will offer pre-show mimosas to moms and will be followed by a panel discussion with local women leaders with connection to Oakland and Women’s Music.
My kids have grown up and moved away, so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my Mother’s day this year than with these inspiring women. I hope to see you there!
Check out the trailer below and get your tickets here
Originally commissioned by Queer Cultural Center for National Queer Arts Festival in 2011, Rocked By Women was co-produced at the African-American Art & Culture Complex in San Francisco before a sold-out audience. SBDP organized a panel discussion with featured leaders and artists. Fans have praised the show. Singer/Songwriter Ferron wrote “A huge thank you and great gratitude for sustaining such an emotional legacy through dance and movement.” On October 12th, 2013 at ODC Studio B in San Francisco, SBDP produced Rocked By Women: Panel and Performance Excerpts, where six esteemed female leaders discussed ideas of feminism & art from 1970-today, and responded to several dance pieces choreographed by Sarah Bush. The stories from the guest panelists added context and deepened the meaning of the dance pieces.
In 2014, Sarah began an exciting collaboration with playwright and theater director Becca Wolff to shape a strong dramatic arc for the show. This re-conceived Rocked By Women was produced May 9-11th, 2014 at Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco. Becca notes “Developing the narrative of Rocked By Women with Sarah has been thrilling and enlightening for me. Her love of women’s music is totally infectious, and her ability to express that love through dance and choreography is amazing.”
The current production will include a post-show panel discussion with celebrated local artists & leaders. “One of the gifts of this show is the opportunity to tell stories and engage in dialogue with different generations of women,” reflects Sarah Bush, “having conversations with elders, women leaders and with women younger than me. The process is accomplishing the mission of passing along important histories and important experiences.”