Sept. 24 2013 10:01 PM

Dance company interprets edgy UCSD venue's past

Patricia Rincon Dance Company member Sarah Norwood performs in front of a Che Cafe mural.
Photo by Jim Carmody

Anyone who's spent time at The Che Café, UCSD's radical, volunteer-driven, underground art-and-performance space, knows that highbrow dance isn't the kind of thing you see there—that is, unless you consider vegan-lentil-fueled moshing to 14 hardcore bands to be highbrow dancing.

Patricia Rincon Dance Company has undertaken the task of transforming the Che into a space filled with movement, color and San Diego history with The Myth Project: Altar, an original dance piece performed as part of La Jolla Playhouse's inaugural WOW (WithOut Walls) Festival, which brings site-specific theater and dance to locations around the city.

For the dance piece, Rincon teamed up with the Che Café Collective and muralist Mario Acevedo Torero—who created the murals at the Che in 1993 as a gift to political activist Angela Davis, as well as some of the murals in Chicano Park—to create a dance that tells the lively history of the scrappy venue.

"I've been going to UCSD a long time as a student and as a teacher," says Rincon, who's currently the head of UCSD's Dance Department. "The Che Café has always been in my life. It's the only radical, youth-driven collective that is independent from the university, which is very, very rare."

For Rincon, the Che provides a great deal of inspiration. She says that by simply walking around and looking at the literature left out for visitors, she feels the energy of the space.

"I've been going to Che Collective meetings, and meeting the collective themselves, and telling them I was interested in the spirit of the history, in terms of what the Che has been," she adds. "They are really a hotbed of asking questions about activism. It can be gay rights, animal rights; it can be security, government. The activism is very strong. So, I told them I would like to embody this work—'I'd like to do a dance theatre work about what you believe in'—and they were really excited by it."

Fifteen dancers, both students and professionals from the Rincon company, will tell the tale of the Che by taking over the entire space, both indoors and outdoors, with the audience following along on foot. Projected text taken from pamphlets found at the Che and sections of spoken word from Torero will drive the story. Torero will also refurbish and update his murals as a "re-birth" throughout the concert's run. They'll honor the space's political ethos with music from Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, Fat Freddy's Drop, an original soundscape score and live violin. 

There'll also be sideshows happening throughout the event, with musicians playing live music, altar building and other surprises.

The audience, Rincon says, "is going to be taken on a little ride, an adventure."

The concert will be filmed for a documentary about The Che Café that Rincon is currently working on. Performances will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 3 and 4, and Sunday, Oct. 6, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Tickets ($25) can be purchased at

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More dance: 

Next stop, dance: Trolley Dances are back, bringing six debut pieces to stops along the MTS trolley line. Each site-specific piece is performed by members of Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theatre, starting at 1950 Main St. in Barrio Logan, so bring some walking shoes. Two tours will leave every hour from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays, on Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 5 and 6. $15-$35. That's six tours daily.

Move locally, think globally: San Diego Dances is back with new works bythe PGK Project, run by choreographer Peter G. Kalivas. This year, Kalivas, along with Faith Jensen-Ismay, Viviana Alcazar, Michael Nickerson-Rossi and Heather Dale-Wentworth, will produce original pieces. Performances happen on Oct. 4 and 5, at Spanish Village in Balboa Park (1770 Village Place). Tickets are $10-$20, with $5 added if you purchase at the door.

How's the weather?: Australian dance company Lucy Guerin Inc. will come to UCSD's Mandeville Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Guerin and Co. will perform her latest show, Weather, which explores, via seven dancers moving in different forms of weather, the Earth's changing climate and its effect on humans. $28-$46.

Crikey! More Aussies!: ArtPower will welcome another Aussie dance company on Oct. 19 with a performance from the Sydney Dance Company. The company's known for mixing movement with exuberant sound and lighting design. They'll perform artistic director Rafael Bonachela's "2 One Another," an energetic piece featuring 16 dancers exploring human relationships, backed by a baroque, electronic soundtrack. $28-$46.

Shock value: Malashock Dance Company will bring another raw performance with Malashock / RAW 4. Expect all-new, boundary-pushing dance pieces from John Malashock, Michael Mizerany and guest choreographer Andy Noble. Performances run Nov. 14 through 18. $25. 


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