2017 is the 10th anniversary of Hope Mohr Dance. Artistic Director Mohr marks the occasion by responding to the current cultural moment in San Francisco in which gentrification threatens the city’s progressive, inclusive identity. A recent survey by the San Francisco Arts Commission of 600 local artists found that over 70 percent of the respondents had been or were being displaced from their workplace, home, or both. The market forces displacing artists are also pushing out the working class, families with children, and people of color at alarming rates.
To respond to this environment of uncertainty, Mohr is creating Precarious, a work developed not in the safety of a hermetically sealed dance studio, but in vulnerable relationship to one unique place: Klockar’s Blacksmith Shop, the last industrial blacksmith shop in San Francisco. Operating since 1912, the blacksmith shop has a dirt floor and is open to the elements. The building was also home to a visual artist, Tracy Taylor Grubbs, who worked out of the second floor of the old wooden building.
Mohr began developing a site-specific performance at Klockar’s in August 2016. However, the day after the election, Mohr learned that the building would be converted into a cannabis start-up in 2017. Painter Grubbs was evicted in February.
In response to the impending conversion of the building, Mohr has re-framed Precarious into an experience that begins with a labor history walking tour starting at Klockar’s and ends with performances at Counterpulse. The walking tour will feature performances and art installations. (Audiences who choose to do both will have a break for dinner).
During the week of the show, the CounterPulse gallery will host an exhibit of works by Tracy Taylor Grubbs,the artist who had her studio on the top floor of Klockar’s for the past eight years.
Choreography and Direction by Hope Mohr. Collaborators include Theodore Hulsker (sound design); Beth Wilmurt (vocal direction); Gabe Maxson (lighting design), and David Szlasa (film). Performers include Jane Selna, Tara McArthur, Wiley Naman Strasser, Karla Quintero, Suzette Sagisi, and Patrick Barnes.
[Cover photo by Margo Moritz]