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Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers with Melanie DeMore

Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers: pictured–Anne Bluethenthal, Melanie DeMore. Photo by Edward CasatiAnne Bluethenthal is renowned in the Bay Area as a dancers dancer and a dancers choreographer, her work respected for its for its formal sophistication, its eloquence, and its rare ability to effortlessly bridge the worlds of formal concert dance, political art, and ritual. Singer-songwriter Melanie DeMore has a remarkable voice, weaving the fibers of African American folk music with soulful ballads, spirituals, and her own original music. The two have collaborated on many projects over the past decade and are coming together for Old First Concerts to weave dance, song, and spoken word into a show that promises to honor the plurality of culture and thought that has been the theme of their work. The group will present four World Premiere dance works, with the centerpiece of the show a site-specific work on Bluethenthals seven-member ensemble created specifically for this performance. Titled Traces of Grace, the work features music written for Old Firsts organ composed by local musical gem Sean Feit. Traces of Grace emerges from the architecture of the Old First Church, from the images and feelings evoked by the sanctuary, and by the multiple meanings these images and feelings conjure for the performers, each of whom brings a diversity of culture, spirituality, and geography to the work. “… [Anne Bluethenthals] work is brainy, her own, and full of soul … She seems to dig from the earth, or the human body whatever rapture and harmony we are capable of.” – Rita Felciano “When [Melanie DeMore] turns her direct gaze to the audience, it feels like she was born to bring a powerful message through her songs. The combination of her gentle spirit and her deep resounding voice stopped me in my tracks.” – Barbara Price

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