Coming to terms with ‘Fears of Life’ 

"Fears of Your Life" may sound like a perfect name for a Halloween-themed blockbuster, but it actually has nothing to do with ghosts or gore. In fact, it is an interdisciplinary dance performance premiering this weekend at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Intended for all ages, it explores human fears — from big and meaningful to small and silly.

Directed by choreographer Kim Epifano, "Fears of Your Life" is based ona book of the same name written by Michael Bernard Loggins, a Creativity Explored artist with developmental disabilities. The book is a list of the author’s fears, some of which are deeply personal in their reflection of his experience with disability.

Others, however, are so common that we rarely even think about them. How many times have you experienced No. 36, for example — "fear of dropping your soda as it hit the ground and fizzed on you" — or the insightful No. 87, "fear of getting hugged by somebody you don’t like"?

"Everybody’s fears are in that book," says Epifano, who prepared for the show by joining Loggins on bus rides, a source of many of his fears. "He makes the ordinary extraordinary. He makes things precious. You see it but you might not say, and he says it."

What inspired the choreographer was not only the ideas in the book, but its execution, including the author’s "poetic" wording and his cartoons. In "Fears of Your Life," Epifano takes Loggins’ words and pictures and makes them three-dimensional. Literally. Before the beginning of the show, for example, the visitors are greeted by life-size puppets (Loggins’ 3-D cartoons) in a gallerylike setting, where they can write their own fears on panels and create the sets for the performance.

In the actual show, an actor recites Loggins’ book, a dancer plays the guitar as others emerge in and out of the huge puppets, dancing, singing and doing slapstick, all to a background video of animated Loggins’ cartoons.

As if this genre mix is not unusual enough, some of the performers are also in wheelchairs. In fact, six artists in the show are members of AXIS Dance Company, which integrates dancers with and without disabilities. Epifano, who has previously worked with this community, has incorporated the fears of these performers with those of Loggins’ to make for a truly communal experience.

"It crosses the emotional borders," she says."Hopefully it gets people to think about the world and other people than themselves."

Fears of Your Life

Presented by: Kim Epifano, with AXIS Dance and Creativity Explored

Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $21 to $25

Contact: (415) 978-2787 or www.ybca.org

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