Cathleen McCarthy Honored by West Wave Dance

Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Vincent Chavez and Emily Kerr in “Luminaire.”

The Bay Area is a hotbed of innovative dance, and since 1991, the West Wave Dance Festival has been one of the best ways to keep tabs on what artists here are creating. Under the guidance of founder Cathleen McCarthy and longtime director Joan Lazarus, the festival became a highlight of the summer season — until, sadly and suddenly, it folded in 2012.

San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts (a.k.a. the hotel tax) wouldn’t let West Wave go that easily and joined forces with choreographer and presenter Joe Landini to revive it a year later. An active choreographer and performer, Landini, 52, has a notable track record of presenting emerging artists like Alma Esperanza Cunningham and Steamroller Dance Company through the nonprofit SafeHouse for the Performing Arts.

His emphasis on avant-garde work and community involvement has carried West Wave forward to this year’s 25th anniversary. Opening Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Z Space, the five-night festival showcases new works created by 25 local dance makers for the occasion. By phone, Landini caught us up on what’s in store.