Goldies 2014 Lifetime Achievement: Sara Shelton Mann - Page 2

An iconoclast who has performed to great acclaim and inspired others for decades

Guardian photo by Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

"When you've trained with Sara, and you've worked with Sara, your idea of dance really explodes," says Jesse Hewit. "You identify what your dance is in your body." Hewit explains the difference as distinct from a focus on mere technical perfection. "The dancing is crazy virtuosic," he notes, "but not virtuosic in the high-kick, pointed-toe sense; virtuosic in that it's infused with an intense energetic focus."

Shelton Mann celebrated her 70th birthday in December, and her work shows no signs of dimming. Even in the smaller, minimalist dances of recent months she proves riveting: a lovingly rowdy duet with Hewit at Z Space during the 2013 West Wave Dance Festival; a reading at Kunst-Stoff in January for Fresh Festival — delivering a slipstream rumination on time, decay, and memory in the body, the body social, the body politic. More recently still, she had a cameo during a comic-chaotic conversation about contemporary dance in Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Saul Garcia Lopez, and Esther Baker Tarpaga's Part 1: Dancing with Fear at Galería de la Raza.

In the last two years, Shelton Mann has been at work on a set of extraordinary solos, a series she calls The Eye of Leo. Each has been made on a different dancer, and each one thus far has premiered in the plain white box of the Joe Goode Annex.

In October 2012, the first, featuring Jorge De Hoyos, was a revelation. The limpidness of these works, their spare quality — in contrast to the exuberant sumptuousness of Contraband or even recent Shelton Mann work like 2011's Zeropoint, made with regular collaborator David Szlasa — combined with a quivering field of contact between dancer and choreographer, represents a powerful shift in focus.

The Leo series culminates outdoors and downtown this April, in a simultaneous unfolding she calls a "mandala of magic," The Eye of Horus. The project is more proof that Shelton Mann is working at the height of her powers. One of the country's supreme artists, she continues to evolve — moving more than the land she adopted back in 1979, and more sensitive to the tremors beneath our feet than a Richter scale.

"She's a very strong conduit now. A very strong conduit. I mean, I think she's a goddess," says Kathleen Hermesdorf, another Contraband veteran who has gone onto a formidable career of her own. "I can't help but deify her a bit. I can't pigeonhole her. She's still an iconoclast; she's still part of the avant-garde. And it still comes from so deep inside her."

Comments beautiful to see you recognized so
Beautifully!!! Shine on.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 7:17 am

Also being from the wilds of Tennessee I can truly appreciate you for your wonderful talent and your ability to touch people with that talent. Your "Goldie" is greatly deserved. Congratulation sweet girl! Hope to see you back in "these hills" soon.
Love, Glo & Joe

Posted by Gloria Carter on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 5:03 pm

invite me - i come

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

Wonderful article. Infused with life. Brought back vivid memories of Halifax dance in 1977-78. Photos are fantastic.

Posted by John Burns on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

My name is Harriet, i want to share this great testimony of my life to
every one. I was married to my husband wilson melott, i love him so much we
have been married for 8 years now with two kids.He went on vacation to
England were he met a lady called Jenny, he told me that he is no longer
interested in our marriage any more. i became so confused and started
seeking for help, all effort to bring him back failed until i met an old
friend called Clara and i told her about my problem then she introduce me
to a man called Dr usun williams who caste a spell for her that brought her ex
back to her within 3days. I contacted Dr osun to help me bring back my
husband and he ask me not to worry that the gods of his fore-fathers will
fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband
together. After three days my husband called and told me he is coming back
to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started
begging for forgiveness.if you need his help you can contact him via: or call +4470583863649

Posted by spell caster on May. 03, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Related articles

  • Goldies 2014 Performance: SALTA

    Unique performance group driven by collaboration and a creative sense of place

  • Goldies 2014 Dance: RAWdance

    "Abstract" choreography meets audience engagement

  • Goldies 2014 Visual Art: Michelle Ramin

    Up from Etsy, and beyond the masks we paint with social media

  • Also from this author

  • Spring into arts

    Guardian writers select the season's most-anticipated performances, exhibits, film events, and more

  • Sm/Art car

    With their prototype mobile artist's workstation, Studio 1, David Szlasa and Katrina Rodabaugh are off to the races

  • Democracy wow!

    STAGE: An inside take on Aaron Landsman, Mallory Catlett, and Jim Findlay's interactive 'City Council Meeting'