Acclaimed San Francisco dance troupe Robert Moses’ Kin opens its 18th home season Friday with a world premiere titled “NEVABAWARLDAPECE (Never Be a World of Peace)” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Despite the name, the piece isn’t pessimistic, Moses says. The choreographer describes it as a call to action for people to avoid complacency about freedom and comfort long after others have done the heavy lifting to make them happen. It’s both a tribute to honor their struggle and a heads-up that things could always slip back to a less desirable past.
“People behind all movements often have a moment of disillusion, a moment when there’s a challenge to their commitment,” Moses says. “At the moment of truth sometimes the smaller things overtake the bigger ones.”
His hope is that the piece will inspire his audience to push through their inertia and meet challenges head-on: “Just don’t give up – oh my God, don’t give up,” he says. “If you give up, what will happen?”
Moses has always taken inspiration from social issues, but never forsakes the purpose of art for the sake of dogma.
“Dance is about imagery,” he says. “It reaches people in a different way. It’s not a speech alone that inspires you, not just words on a paper. It’s about what the thing does to you: it makes you get up and make the change in your life.”
His dancers bring expertise in a variety of movement forms from ballet and ethnic to contemporary dance, as well as martial arts.
The text for the piece comes from Obie and BESSIE award-winning poet, playwright and novelist Carl Hancock Rux, who has written for dance companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
The score, played live, is a rich sampling of roots music. Acoustic guitarist and MacArthur fellow Corey Harris, who contributed to Martin Scorsese’s film “Blues,” offers material ranging from traditional blues to funky reggae to urgent, electrifying jazz. Singer and bass guitarist Laura Love contributes an Afro-Celtic-bluegrass-funk sound, reflecting her own cross-cultural heritage.