Formed in 2004, RAWdance is an award-winning contemporary dance company based in San Francisco. Through the unique partnership of Co-Artistic Directors Ryan Smith and Wendy Rein, the company has earned a reputation for its nuanced, crafted performances that consistently push into exciting new territory.
RAWdance champions the power of movement as an indispensable source of connection and a visceral medium to illuminate the issues of our time. We commit to creating adventurous, thoughtful, and welcoming programming that challenges what contemporary dance is, where it happens, who it includes, and its role in our lives.
RAWdance is an award-winning contemporary dance company known for transforming theaters and public spaces through performance, curation, and collaboration. Under Smith and Rein’s artistic direction, the company’s nuanced, charged dances pose questions ranging from the broadly social to the intimately personal. SF Chronicle described the company as ”witty, whip-smart, and beautiful to watch.” Critical Dance called RAWdance a “rare treasure” that “combines choreographic excellence, innovative structures, groundbreaking concepts, and impeccable performances.” Founded in San Francisco in 2004, the company expanded bicoastally in 2019, maintaining its home in San Francisco while cultivating new programming in New York’s Hudson Valley. RAWdance also grew its leadership to three Co-Artistic Directors from 2019 to early 2023, with Katerina Wong joining Rein and Smith at the organization’s helm and creating many notable performances.
At its core, RAWdance’s work centers around human interactions – our needs, desires, connections, and conflict – and reveals our basest and most beautiful instincts. The company has been presented by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Joyce Theater, ODC Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Dance St. Louis, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, and others. RAWdance also presents work in nontraditional venues, bringing dance directly into the public sphere to increase access to the art. The company has performed in art galleries, parks, civic spaces, restaurants, libraries, and malls. Its short dance films have been screened in festivals on four continents. RAWdance was honored with a 2014 SFBG GOLDIE Award and a 2017 “Izzies” nomination and was voted “Best Dance Company” by 48 Hills and the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay 2019, 2020, 2021, & 2022.
Residency opportunities have been central to the company’s artistic development. RAWdance has been supported by the National Center for Choreography in Akron, Marble House, Ucross, Djerassi, Zaccho Dance Theatre, CounterPulse, and more.