Four dancers across a stage with a dark background.
Gathering Pieces of Peace - Megan Lowe Dances - Malia Hatico Byrne, Clarissa Dyas, Melissa Lewis Wong, Megan Lowe - Photo by RJ Muna

For East Bay choreographer and dancer Megan Lowe, movement is connection, a vehicle for revealing thoughts, feelings and experiences that might otherwise go unexpressed. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her company, Megan Lowe Dances, she’s presenting a run of performances at ODC Theater with a sliding-scale admission price that starts at zero.

The program features the world premiere of “Gathering Pieces of Peace,” a dance theater work created with three other bi-cultural Asian-American dancers. Encompassing spoken-word passages, songs, and kinetic dancing, her collaboration with Clarissa Rivera Dyas, Malia Hatico-Byrne, and Melissa Lewis Wong explores the ways in which mixed heritage has shaped their lives and identities.

Creating the work together required real self-exposure, right down to the skin. “The name of the piece stems from the tattoo I have on my back,” Lowe said from her home in Richmond, California. “In Chinese, ‘peace’ is two symbols, but I only got one, because I’m half Chinese. It turned out the other dancers have their own tattoo stories, and that ended up being a through-line in our storytelling.”

For Lowe, the collaboration wasn’t just about creating a new work. “The relationship-building is a huge part of the process,” she said. “It’s not like we come and go right to work. There are a lot of conversations, and some writing prompts that developed into some stories we tell on stage.”

Creating “Gathering Pieces of Peace” was an act of putting pieces together, “and came out of a desire to connect with other mixed-race Asian folk, sharing our experiences growing up and where we’re at now. We talked about the challenges or beautiful moments, seeing where there are similarities and differences, while ultimately all sharing the desire to bring our communities closer together.”

YouTube video

Deeply ensconced in the Mission’s dance scene, Lowe teaches at Joe Goode Performance Group, and spent a good chunk of last year in residency at 500 Capp St., performing regularly at the David Ireland House with Johnny Nguyen. Their site-specific work, HOME(in)STEAD ran from March through July, “with 13 lovely performances for small audiences of up to 15 people,” she said.

“Some of our dance happened outside, and a favorite memory is a group of high school students walking by. They could see everything in the window, and when we were dancing on the roof. So we see them and start performing for them, too. Afterwards, we invited them in for snacks.”

YouTube video

Dance Mission

Salvador da Bahia’s legendary Afro-Bloco Ilê Aiyê kicks off nearly a dozen workshops and performances around the Bay Area at Dance Mission on Sept. 5 and 6. A leading force in Brazil’s Black consciousness movement since the 1970s, the percussion and dance troupe has been uplifting Afro-Brazilian culture at Salvador’s Carnival and Lavagem do Bonfim festivals.

Sumin Contemporary Ballet

Generational change at Smuin Contemporary Ballet has reached the playground demographic. A few weeks ago, the Mission District-based company announced that the company’s last founding member, Celia Fushille, will be stepping down as artistic director after Smuin’s 30th season. The company simultaneously revealed that choreographer Amy Seiwert will be stepping into Fushille’s role next year. And perhaps Seiwert’s replacement is learning to tie her shoes right now, ready to start dance classes.

The company is offering free Monday afternoon classes at the Smuin Center for Dance for children ages 6 to 9. The first 10-week session runs Sept. 11 to Nov 13, 2023. Registration is available at For further information, contact

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Francisco, ConfiDANCE! “aims to help students build self-confidence and self-esteem through exciting dance-based exercises,” the company said. Fushille tapped Amy London, Smuin’s rehearsal director for 16 seasons, to launch the progressive curriculum, which incorporates a wide range of styles and techniques.

YouTube video

The Roxie

“What’s playing at the Roxie?” asks Nicely-Nicely Johnson. I’ll tell you what’s playing at the Roxie. Park Chan-Wook’s hair-raising Korean neo-noir “Old Boy” screens daily Sept. 1 to 7 to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. Many happy returns? I don’t think so, as this deeply disquieting tale follows the plight of Oh Dae-Su, who’s kidnapped and held without human contact for 15 years. Released without explanation, he has five days to track down his captors and seek revenge.

Radio Habana and Bissap Baobab

Watch this space in coming weeks for a story on Cuban pianist Eduardo Corzo, who’s made the Mission his musical home. He’s playing Thursdays at Ivory & Vine with percussionist Fidel Hernández. They also play Friday, Sept. 1, at Radio Habana, where they’ll be joined by several friends. And on Saturday, Sept. 2, the excellent flamenco gypsy jazz combo Barrio Manouche plays Bissap Baobab.

Other happenings

Thursday, Aug. 31

Yolanda M. López’s show “Women’s Work is Never Done,” opens with a reception Thursday, Aug. 31, from 5 to 7 at the Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco.  The collection’s curators — Angelica Rodriguez, Lopez’s archivist, and Rio Yañez, her son — will be there.  

Friday, Sept. 1

At the Gray Area Grand Theater: “Difference Machines” special closing event, featuring Paul Vanouse and Skawennati,  6 to 9 p.m. at 2665 Mission St. 

At the Verdi Club: The Spirit of Earth Wind and Fire, 2424 Mariposa St. 6 to 10 p.m. at 2424 Mariposa St.  

At Public Works: Dreamstate presents Craig Connelly & Factor B, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m at 161 Erie St. 

Sat, Sept. 2 

Atlas Cafe: Titans of Comedy by Mutiny Radio, 2 to 4 p.m. at 3049 20th St. 

SFPL: History of The Bay with Dregs One, 3 to 4 p.m at the SFPL, 100 Larkin St.  

Z Space: Drunk Theatre, 8 to 10 p.m., 450 Florida St. 

For more, check out our calendar.

Follow Us

Leave a comment

Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *