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Dos Rios Retreat: Drop your City Armor.

Dos Rios Retreat: Drop your City Armor.
July 20st-26th, 2013.
with Sara Shelton Mann and Abby Crain

*Dos Rios Retreat: Drop your City Armor is supported by Dance Brigade’s Dance Mission Theater.

Please click on the tabs below to get detailed information about this offering.


Drop your City Armor

Cultivate a rigorous artistic practice on the banks of the incomparable Eel River in Dos Rios California.

Join long time practitioners Sara Shelton Mann and Abby Crain in this inaugural workshop retreat in the nature of Northern California.  Strengthen your physical practice, build energy and release patterns, dialogue with your personal archetypes, and be guided into techniques of improvisation and composition with your inner muse.   Time will be available to also participate in peer-led activities, use individual studio time and swim in the river.   Come dance in the barn and discover something unexpected.

Give yourself this special opportunity to go deep in this amazing place.  The land and the river are generous and they hold a truly unique peace for us to work in.  Even if you sleep for a week you will receive you as you.  Join us in this first gathering of what promises to become an annual retreat.

Class Description

Cultivating the Responsive Body and the Creative Mind. – Morning Practice with Abby Crain

We want to have options; we want to dance a long time; we want to feel good in our bodies; so we will start with the body in mind and work thoroughly and mindfully in the first half of class through new and old body based practices (some shaking, some fascial release,  ball work, some downward dogs and lunges,  maybe some pilates, and some hands on partner work).  We also want to enrich our creative palette and expand our minds, so in the second half of class,  we work with images and prompts from releasing and other sources to blow the container open  and move like eyeballs, aliens,  tubes, wind, smoke, sponges, and god knows what else.  We will dance and then we will write.  It will be fun and the weather will be warm, so lets do it.

Solos as Archetypes – Evening Sessions with Sara Shelton Mann

Sitting within the Solo/template for exploration, self –inquiry and creation Each of us holds a pandora’s box of personalities having a meal together called life.

Some we brought in, some formed from parental influences, peers, teachers, etc and some are activated seemingly without a reason.  They just show up. Imagine a mall or playground with all kinds of antics going on simultaneously.  One kid walks in and says “hey I’ve done it all, what haven’t you told me?” We will spend a week together in dialogue with the emotional body playing in field of these personalities.

There will be amply time to read, dream, explore movement, create images,  write a script, and  invite your muse to collaborate. It is very possible you will come home with a sketch for a piece, if that is your intent.


SAT JULY 20TH 1 – 5 PM – Arrival and Registration, Opening Dinner


9 – 11:30 AM – Morning Practice with Abby Crain – Cultivating the Responsive Body and the Creative Mind

12 – 3 PM – Lunch, library time, peer led activities, swimming

3 – 5:30 PM – Facilitation in and Composing with Sara Shelton Mann Dialoguing with your personal Archetypes

5:30-6:30 PM – “Hot Air” – Community Conversation/Think Tank Open discussions about issues in Contemporary Art Making!

8:00 PM – Dinner

THURS. 25TH – Open performance sharing and closing circle.

FRI. 26TH – Breakfast and pack up. Leave land by 2:00 p.m.


Abby Crain

Abby Crain is a dancemaker and performer. She has presented work in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Performer credits includes extensive work with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, David Dorfman Dance, and Sara Shelton Mann. She teaches “ARTWORKOUTS” with Margit Galanter, and is engaged in an ongoing collaboration around movement, language and performance with Bay Area poet, David Buuck.

Sara Shelton Mann

Sara Shelton Mann has developed interdisciplinary teaching and performance methods that work with the person as the vehicle of transformation. Her company Contraband appeared on stages, in warehouses, abandoned buildings and outdoors from 1979-1996.

She collaborated and toured internationally with Guillermo Gomez-Pena 96-99. She was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography for the creation of “Monk at the Met” which was presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Oct. I2-5 2003. She presented “SKY” funded by The James Irvine Foundation/Dance USA in the SFIARTS Festival 2005.

Sara is a 2 time participating member of Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME), a project of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and she has received 6 Isadora Duncan Dance Awards. Her last “Izzie” Award was for Outstanding Choreography for “tribes/dominion” created with David Szlasa, Media Artist through a Gerbode in Collaboration Award presented at YBCA, SFCA, 2010. . In 2012 she toured Russia creating a site specific work for a 51 meter trampoline at the Archstoyanie Festival, “Out of the Box” at Doc 11 in Berlin and was in residence at Ponderosa, Stolzenhagen and SPAZIO at ICK in Amsterdam. l Sara’s work has been supported by Djerassi Artist in Residence Programs, ODC commissions, NEA,NEFA, SFAC, SFF, Zellerbach and Gerbode Foundation and the Rainin Foundation.

Sara teaches and creates work in San Francisco and internationally. Her training consists of: Movement Alchemy Level I, The Energetic Body, Deep Touch, Writing for Scenario and Advanced Practices. Her process has come from personal research and many years of study in various spiritual traditions, shamanic practices, and healing trainings. She is a Master NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) Practitioner, certified Reconnection Healer(TM), TheReconnection(TM). and a continual student of dowsing.

Mark Growden [Music] 

Mark is a singer, writer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer, visual artist, and workshop leader.  He was raised in small mountain community in Northeast California where he spent lots of time alone in nature; this is reflected in his earthy, soulful and poetic work. Growden has released several critically acclaimed albums, including Saint Judas, which was awarded “2010 Rekkid of the Year” by music blog Stash Dauber and ranked in the 2010 Village Voice Critics Poll.  Growden has toured the the US extensively, performing at venues such as the The Fillmore, Cowell Theater, and Great American Music Hall in San Francisco; Snug Harbor in New Orleans; and The Knitting Factory and Tonic in New York. Growden’s one man show “Spare the Rod” – directed and co-written by Remy Charlip – played to sold-out audiences at Dancer’s Group/Footworks in San Francisco. Mark has composed original musical scores for a number of Dance and Theater companies, including Joe Goode Performance Group and Alonzo King’s Lines Contemporary Ballet, with whom he and his collaborators won the Isadora Duncan Award for Best Original Score for a New Dance Piece. He has scored several films, including Blood Tea and Red String, which won Best Animation at both the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.  Growden has performed and collaborated with numerous musicians including Hamza el Din, The San Francisco Opera, Remy Charlip, Kid Congo Powers, Wendell Brunious, Stan Ridgeway, John Santos, Omar Sosa, Ralph Carney, Rising Star Drum & Fife Band, James Singleton, Baby Gramps, Eric McFadden, Larry Sieberth, Extra Action Marching Band, Faun Fables, and Carla Kihlsted from Tin Hat Trio. Mark has devoted his life to making music for other people, and to helping other people make music for themselves. He leads community sings and singing workshops across the country.

Ernesto Sopprani, Art Advocate, Performance Producer – [Community Conversations]

As Director of THEOFFCENTER, Ernesto has overseen the production, curation and execution of dozens of site-specific, research-based art interventions, 2 large scale performance festivals, multiple performer centered art programs both at presenting houses (YBCA, Mission Cultural Center, Mission Dance, The Magic Theatre, SOMArts and others) as well as public spaces (BART trains, city streets, and a privately owned boxing ring).  Ernesto was participant of the 2011 YBCA’s Bay Area Now 6 program and is currently part of the leadership team for the SF/Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals


Early Registration:

May 1st – $480, June 1st – $500, on or after July 1st – $550. (price includes five hours of class time daily with three meals a day and space for tent camping) Space is limited and early discounts end soon – SIGN UP NOW!

To register online visit  the event’s EventBrite Page. If you wish to pay via check  Email Abby to secure your spot and send a non-refundable deposit of $150 to: Mixed Bag Productions – 499 Alabama St. #202, San Francisco, CA 94110.

After securing your spot we kindly ask you to also fill in the following form.

Dos Rios Retreat: Drop your City Armor.

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Tenting – Bring your own or borrow one. There is limited bunking and very limited private accommodations with beds, available at an extra charge. Please inquire if you are interested.

Food: Will be delicious and nourishing, and cooked by the amazing ASIA WONG!

Nearest Airports: Nearest Airports are San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK). Carpools from the Bay Area are encouraged and will be arranged as needed.


What to Bring

What to Bring

Here’s a general list of things you may want to pack for the weekend:

  • Water: please bring lots of water and any other beverages you might want during your stay.
  • Cooler: please bring a cooler for your personal drinks. The refrigerator will be stuffed wtih all the good food we’re serving.
  • Tent: this is probably a no-brainer, camping = tent.
  • Sleeping bags and air mattresses, and anything else that keeps you warm and comfy as you sleep under the stars.
  • Bedding, pillows, your favorite blanket.
  • Lawn chairs and folding chairs
  • Flashlights and other battery operated light sources
  • Confortable clothes
  • mats and props if you have them
  • Mosquito/bug repellent
  • Sunscreen/sun block
  • Hats, visors and other sun deflectors
  • Swim wear
  • Water toys: inner tubes, flotation devices
  • Walking/hiking shoes
  • Warm clothes for the evening and long pants
  • Backpack
  • Board games, dominoes and cards
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Extra camping gear to share (Please let us know if yo u are bringing extra gear.)



Getting to the Retreat

From the East Bay

Enter highway 580/80 West toward San Francisco– drive ≈ 0.8 miles
Merge onto 80 East toward Emeryville/Berkeley– drive ≈ 5.2 miles
Merge onto 580 West toward Marin/San Rafael – drive ≈ 13 miles
Go over the San Rafael Bridge/Toll booth at end of bridge
Exit 101 North/Redwood Hwy toward Santa Rosa– drive ≈ 143 miles

Follow the “shared directions” below from here on

From SF & South Bay:

Take 101 North into San Francisco
Veer left at the 101 North/80 East split
Hwy 101 goes through the city via Van Ness/Lombard
Ride Van Ness Northbound to Lombard Street
Left on Lombard
Remain on Lombard until it turns back into a highway
Go over the Golden Gate Bridge
Continue on 101 North towards Santa Rosa– drive ≈ 143 miles

Shared Directions:

While riding north on 101, you will drive through Healdsburg, Cloverdale,  Ukiah, and Willets (to name a few towns)
Set your odometer to zero after leaving Willets – drive ≈ 11 miles north
Pass through Arnold and look for Hwy 162
Turn right onto Hwy 162 toward Covello
Set your odometer to zero again and remain on Hwy 162 ≈ 15 miles

Turn left into Dos Rios and onto Laytonville Rd after crossing the bridge.
The sign will say “Dos Rios no services.”
Take the LOW road and cross a second bridge.
Pass a cluster of houses and continue to drive for about a mile.

Look for the Drop Your City Armor Retreat Signs.
(It’s difficult to see addresses — so look for the signage! Please, do not turn into any property that does not have an AltarSpace sign on it .)

Please pull in and park immediately to the right.
Please do not attempt to drive down the road pass this lot without 4 wheel drive.
Leave your things where you park and we will transport it to the campsite.

If you are arriving after dark, please call us from Willets so we can meet you at the top of the road. Again, please do not drive onto property that is not marked for Elemental Retreat.

Contact Information

Retreat Landline- 707.983.6977
You can call us from Willets to give us a sense of  your arrival time.

Please note that your cell may not work outside of Willets.

Carpool: Give a Ride & Get a Ride

Please use the comment section below to coordinate rides. While we are keeping track of who needs a ride and who can provide rides through our registration portal, we are leaving it up to all of you to coordinate this effort. If you are unable to secure a ride, please contact Abby  for assistance.