Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), the Bay Area’s most innovative arts institution, announces Transform, a two-week showcase of dance, music, theater, and public convenings

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Presents
Transform, a New Performance Festival
Two weeks. Twice a year.

Launching Fall 2017, Transform Is the Bay Area’s First Major Multidisciplinary Festival
Highlighting Performances, New Ideas, and Provocative Actions That Can Shift Culture

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94103

September 14—23, 2017

(SAN FRANCISCO) – (May 10, 2017) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), the Bay Area’s most innovative arts institution, announces Transform, a two-week showcase of dance, music, theater, and public convenings. Occurring each fall and spring, Transform places YBCA’s curatorial voice front and center and builds on its nearly 25-year history as the Bay Area’s cornerstone organization for presenting cutting-edge contemporary art. Taking place September 14 through September 23, 2017, the inaugural festival presents newly commissioned works by nine groundbreaking Bay Area artists, including dance artists Jesse Hewit and Larry Arrington, contemporary ballet company Amy Seiwert Imagery, contemporary dance company RAWdance, and more. They have been invited to devise world-premiere works in response to the provocation, “Why Citizenship?”

Emphasizing art, inquiry, and collaboration, Transform creates a space for visionary artists to tackle, from diverse perspectives and disciplines, the urgent questions facing our society, and in the process transform performance. Tickets for the festival are available now for YBCA members, and on May 23 to the general public. Individual tickets start at $25 and festival packages start at $45. For more information visit

“From Sankai Juku to Bill T. Jones, Bay Area audiences can rest assured that something excellent is always happening at YBCA. But what may be a little less clear is which performances are actually brought to you by YBCA. The Transform festival will help to clearly clarify YBCA’s curatorial voice,” says Marc Bamuthi Joseph, YBCA’s Curator and Chief of Program and Pedagogy. “Given YBCA’s role as a social catalyst, Transform will hold a unique place in the Bay Area by connecting the vitality of performance to the fundamental charge of our public imagination.”

Adds Isabel Yrigoyen, Associate Director of Performing Arts at YBCA: “Transform isn’t just a series of performances. We are intentionally activating artists, communities, and space around specific inquiry and looking at it from all angles. Transform can mean many things, which could include how the artists are transforming and evolving through the inquiry, and how the audience evolves over the duration of the performance and after. Ultimately the festival serves as a catalyst for an opportunity at transformation.”

YBCA has commissioned the Mexico-based architect Giacomo Castagnola to create a one-of-kind set design for the choreographers, who will create and stage their new works in this unique built environment. Castagnola’s design will also respond to the same question of “Why Citizenship?” The set will adapt to the variety of dance styles featured throughout the festival, serving as a completely immersive environment for audiences and performers alike. Castagnola’s site-specific installation will open one hour prior to each performance as a stand-alone pop-up exhibition in its own right.

Transform will continue in spring 2018 with nine more new transformative performances by lauded international artists who are exploring the most critical issues of our time through their work. Running May 8 through May 19, 2018, headliners will include music wiz DJ Spooky; the visually stunning dance-cirque company Capacitor; the inventive Campo Santo theater ensemble with actor Roger Guenveur Smith; plus the stunning West Coast theatrical debuts of Bessie Award–winning Okwui Okpokwasili’s Poor People’s TV Room; writer, director, and visual artist Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera: The Institute of Memory (TIMe), and more to be announced.

Program A
Embodiment Project & Jesse Hewit
September 14 & September 22, 2017 @ 8PM
Visual and performance artist Jesse Hewit performs a physical conversation about imagining a new concept of citizenship. Hewit will share the stage with the street-dance theater company Embodiment Project, who will explore through dance the school-to-prison pipeline and how it undermines citizenship.

Program B
RAWdance & Fauxnique
September 15 & September 23, 2017 @ 8PM
Drag queen Fauxnique–the alter ego of multi-genre performance artist Monique Jenkinson–presents a performance digging into questions around citizenship and belonging, artifice and authenticity. Contemporary dance company RAWdance performs a piece about the recurring history of clashes between power structures and society’s intellectuals and culture makers.

Program C
Amy Seiwert Imagery & Larry Arrington / Sandra Lawson-Ndu / Minoosh Zomorodinia & Fogbeast
September 16 & September 21, 2017 @ 8PM
In this triple bill, dance artist Larry Arrington collaborates with Iranian-born multimedia and performance artist Minoosh Zomorodinia and Oakland-based musician Sandra Lawson-Ndu to explore citizenship and belonging. Dancer and choreographer Amy Seiwert will present immigrant stories performed as solos and duets by five artists from Amy Seiwert Imagery. The live-art organization Fogbeast considers citizenship through movement and song.

Reflecting YBCA’s deep investment in the local community, this signature performance festival, given its focus on the intersection of art and civic action, creates tremendous opportunities to activate the YBCA campus. “Aesthetic excellence is YBCA’s legacy, but cultural movement is our mission, and our programs should suggest both the speed of the urban fray and the time-stopping courage of inspired creativity. Transform is a deliberate response to these impulses,” observes Joseph.

YBCA Programs in 17–18 are made possible in part by: The James Irvine Foundation. Additional funding for YBCA programs 17–18: National Endowment for the Arts, Abundance Foundation, Grosvenor, and members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The 17–18 Performance Season is made possible in part by: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Panta Rhea Foundation.

Additional funding for YBCA performances 17–18: Surdna Foundation,, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Zellerbach Family Foundation. YBCA exhibitions 17–18 are made possible in part by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Meridee Moore and Kevin King. Engagement and education programs in 17–18 are made possible in part by: Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, The Kimball Foundation, and The Sato Foundation.

Regular: $25–$30
Senior, teacher, student: $22–$27

Individual level+: $20–$24
All Access level+: FREE


For more information visit:

About Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is one of the nation’s most innovative contemporary arts centers. Founded in 1993, YBCA’s mission is to generate culture that moves people. Through powerful art experiences, thoughtful and provocative content, and deep opportunities for participation, YBCA is committed to creating an inclusive culture that awakens personal and societal transformation. YBCA presents a wide variety of programming year-round, including performing arts, visual arts, film/video, and civic engagement. For tickets and information, call 415.978.ARTS (2787). For more information, visit

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