Mission & History

The mission of ABD Productions/Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers is to inspire social change through the arts.  Based in San Francisco, our women- and queer-centered multi-ethnic company is committed to the production of new dance works created in collaboration with diverse communities.  Our dances grow from deep investigations into the language of movement, using that vocabulary in eloquent, bold, and subversive acts of art.  We endeavor to awaken our collective humanity by injecting the possibility of transformation and beauty into complex and challenging subjects, from globalization and genocide to global warming and gender fluidity.

Since its founding in 1984, ABD has contributed greatly to the cultural life of the Bay Area. Artistic Director Anne Bluethenthal has been widely recognized for her choreography, including SF Chronicle’s Best of the Year, SF Weekly’s Black Box, Bay Guardian’s Goldie Award for Achievement in Dance, and Curve Magazine’s Best Choreographer Award, among other honors. Our ensemble is a highly accomplished and diverse group of dancers and collaborating artists. ABD presents performances and community collaborations that take on difficult issues with eloquence and passion, creating work on such subjects as Israel and Palestine, globalization, climate change, and genocide. Our community partners for the creation of this kind of issues-oriented new work have included Global Women’s Strike, the Breast Cancer Fund, Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, Women Against War, Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Disease, Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment, Community Housing Partnership: Solutions to Homelessness, OASIS for Girls, and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Toward Women and Girls, among others. ABD performs regularly at home in the Bay Area and on tour. Recent engagements include the International Festival of Movement & Dance on the Volga in Russia; SF Trolley Dances; the International Conference of Expressive Arts Therapy; the 92nd Street Y, American Dance Guild Festival, and Wave Rising Festival in NYC; and Ohio State University.

ABD also has a long history of Community Arts Practice, Community partnership, and art-making that arises from communities of spirit. In addition to the formal performances, festivals, concerts, artistic collaborations, and benefit performances, ABD has consistently combined their artistic work with community partnerships around issues of social justice and global politics. Bluethenthal’s community arts projects ranged widely and include work with:

  • Formerly homeless residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood
  • Palestinian and Jewish artists/activists
  • Breast Cancer organizations
  • Young women and girls
  • Women with HIV and Women on issues of gender-based violence
  • Organizations working on valuing women’s work.

Borrowing from words by Celeste Miller and Arlene Goldbard, we believe that Community Arts Practice is based on the understanding that cultural meaning, expression, and creativity reside within a community and that the artist is an integral part of community life.