I believe that our energetic bodies convey deeper-rooted messages than any culture or identity can express. My work begins with structured exercises designed to make contact with these messages as they are expressed through the energetic body.
As we refine our kinesthetic perception, we begin to perceive messages—the Morse code of our collective body—in the patterning of energy, tissue, and motility. These messages form stories, and these stories form the “performance”.
Like many artists who have spent a lifetime in the heart of their craft, I have come to believe that the exploration of these stories form a vital collective heritage that transcends the artifact of performance.
My art is of a piece with my healing work and political engagement: it is meant to reveal and transmit the story of our collective humanity—our potential for excellence, our danger—in a time of global change, chaos, and paradigm shift. It is an antidote to fear, doubt, and greed as the face of who we are.
Sara Shelton Mann has been a choreographer, performer, and teacher since 1967. She was a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis in New York City before moving to Canada where she met Andrew Harwood and fell in love with Contact Improvisation.
In 1979 she moved to San Francisco to work with Mangrove, now Mixed Bag Productions, for which she serves as artistic director. One of its early manifestations was the company Contraband, launched as a performance group and research ground combining the principles of contact, systems of the body and spiritual practice into a unified system of research.
Among her awards are a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 7 Isadora Duncan Awards, including a special achievement award for “erasing time: celebrating 30 years a radical dance legend” (Sara Shelton Mann with David Szlasa and Norman Rutherford), Djerassi Artist in Residence Awards, Headlands Center for the Arts Residency 2016, Lifetime Achievement Bay Guardian Award, 10 Women Who Made a Difference, Bay Guardian "Goldie" Award, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2016).
Her Movement Alchemy training is an ongoing teaching project and is influenced by certifications and studies in the metaphysical and healing traditions. Sara’s performance work is a platform for collaboration and research in consciousness.