GOLDIES 2012 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Frank Shawl and Victor Anderson, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center - Page 2
Most remarkably, the building still feels like a home. Walking up the small pathway from the street and the few steps that invite stoop-sitting, it uncannily feels like the rest of the Arts and Crafts residences that stretch toward the Berkeley hills. The wooden floors in the entry are well-worn, and the bench on the side looks like it has been there forever.
No doubt its funky charm and good usable studios have helped make what Shawl-Anderson has become. But it's these two remarkable men who have given the place its soul. The minute you walk in, you pick up its sense of generosity of spirit, a commitment to craft and creativity, and a welcoming embrace of diversity in all its manifestations.
It's what Paufve, whose company now is in residence, experienced when she first stepped through the door in 1986. "I don't remember not ever having felt at home here," she says. After moving from New York, she heard about the place the first week she was here. She also found teachers with whom she wanted to work. Over the years, she says, "People here have been incredibly generous. I honestly don't know if I would still have Paufve Dance if it was not for Shawl-Anderson."
Fog Beast, one of San Francisco's newest dance companies (formed by Joe Goode dancers Melecio Estrella and Andrew Ward), recently paid tribute to "the decades of dance art cultivation at Shawl-Anderson." Move Here, created when the duo was in residence, was a site-specific work using the building's architectural space. It allowed the choreographers "to step into the role of host, exploring the aesthetics of hospitality, the art of friendliness and warmth." Shawl enjoyed the performance. "They had pictures of the two of us on the walls — it was so nice," he smiles.
Both men are now in their 80s. Anderson is semi-retired, but Shawl still takes class every day and substitute teaches when needed. Looking back over more than 50 years, is there something that they would have changed? "It is the way it was [meant] to be," Shawl says. "I believe in the right path. We didn't do it for the ego, we did it for love."
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