SF Symphony & Post:ballet stream ‘Playing Changes’

Post:ballet’s Landes Dixon and SF Symphony violinist Helen Kim

An interesting aspect of online streaming is the creativity which it has inspired, as demonstrated by this partnership between the San Francisco Symphony and local contemporary dance company, Post:ballet.

Last year, SF Symphony violinist Helen Kim and Post:ballet’s Artistic Director Robert Dekkers were “…. both craving a project to sink our artistic teeth into ….” says Dekkers, and in May they came up with the concept of setting dances to seven pieces of music for solo violin – three of which were commissioned for this project.

Dekkers and his dancers rehearsed in the open air at various locations around the Bay Area – such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Sutro Heights, and Lake Merritt in Oakland – his inspiration enhanced by these different locations, as well as the different surfaces on which the dancers were working.

He says that he and the dancers found these rehearsals liberating, compared with the studio environment to which they were accustomed. “No mirrors, no expectations, just pure joy and gratitude for the opportunity to connect with one another in a safe, creatively charged, curious space,” he says. The dancers, too, contributed their own experiences of the unusual times in which the world found itself, which also served as a catalyst for creativity.

San Francisco Symphony violinist Helen Kim

The pieces of music featured in this program are Samuel Adams Playing Changes from Violin Diptych, Philip Glass’ Knee Play 2 from his opera Einstein on the Beach, Filter by Daniel Bernard Roumain, and fly into the light … by LJ White, with world premieres of Elizabeth Ogonek’s Cradle Dance, Mary Kouyoumdjian’s Water and Dust, and Ambrose Akinmusire’s kodo. All are performed by Helen Kim.

Another interesting aspect of the project is the location of the filming, by Ben Tarquin – West Oakland’s historic 16th Street station – which, apart from forming a dramatic backdrop to a most unusual program – also has a fascinating history. An abandoned Southern Pacific Railroad station in the Prescott neighborhood of Oakland, the Beaux-Arts building was designed by Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt, and was the last Western stop for the trans-continental railway after its opening in 1921. It ceased operating as a railway station in 1994.

Post:ballet’s Jenna Marie

San Francisco Symphony violinist Helen Kim, and Robert Dekkers, Artistic Director of Post:ballet, present Playing Changes which is available for free streaming on the SFSymphony+ website.

Information sourced from:

SFSymphony+ program notes

and websites of:


16th Street Station

All photographs courtesy of Post:ballet

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