Dance is sometimes so interpretative that it doesn’t always have mass appeal.
Joe Goode knows that and his works have relatable elements, making room for a wider audience of fans of esoteric dance as well as less savvy theatregoers who need more of a plot to understand a show.
Goode’s latest work, running Sept. 25-Oct. 4 at San Francisco’s Z Space, is the perfect blend for audiences of all kinds.
“Wonderboy/29 Effeminate Gestures” is two pieces worked into one great night at the theatre.
Goode says that “Wonderboy” is a dance about a gay puppet based upon a Paula Vogel play that once played San Francisco’s Magic Theatre. Even though he’s “puppetphobic,” Goode liked the story and decided to turn it into a dance piece with puppeteer Basil Twist. The story of a queer child who has fears of his sexuality hit a chord with Goode and he’s turned its relatable theme into a dance that is plot driven and features a cast of seven wonderful dancers as well as three people operating Wonderboy.
The evening also contains landmark dance of “29 Effeminate Gestures,” which has toured the world and has even been used as a teaching tool among dance schools. “The dance has been in places from Africa to the Middle East but hasn’t been in San Francisco since I created it in the 1980s,” Goode says. “I thought it was the perfect time to bring it home.”
While less plot driven, this solo piece will “definitely strike a chord in people,” Goode says. “It makes a statement about gender and sexuality,” he says. “Some people are troubled by lavish feminine physicality in men,” Goode adds, recalling when he was younger and his hands might have been too animated in his stride, so he trained himself to keep them still and by his side when he walked down streets to avoid bullying.
So he’s taken that idea, added many other gestures to the show and mixed them in with more macho imagery including scenes with chainsaws and drills. So the pieces is all about the gestures and Goode “finds the risk in the material” and tries to make it interesting and personal and in some ways pays tribute to the “lavish sissy boy” inside of Goode and all of us.
Friday, Sept. 26 is gay night for the performance. While both pieces make each performance technically gay night, but Friday offers another short piece entitled “Too Bad You’re Not Invited,” a parody and statement made by Goode in 2010 about the Prop. 8 gay marriage debate.
To get tickets and showtimes to any performances, go to www.joegoode.org.
Z Space is at 450 Florida Street, San Francisco.