Founder Kim Epifano
”Epifano is a long time city performance investigater, ground breaker, flyer in the air, roller on the ground, singer of songs. Epifano has a gift for seduction-a way of fusing unlikely combinations of music, movement and imagery into a lovely and often vivid organic whole.San Diego Union Tribune
Founder, Kim Epifano is an international performer, choreographer, director, curator, producer, educator and community arts organizer who has been a member of the Bay Area’s dance community since 1981. Epifano’s contribution to the field and to San Francisco’s artistic sphere has been widely recognized. A daughter of Italian immigrants, Epifano was raised on the vibrancy and richness of her Italian heritage and a strong work ethic. Epifano trail blazed her own path, learning about many cultures, sharing her own, and collaborating with communities.
At the University of Utah, Epifano was mentored by Anne Riordan, who introduced her to working with developmentally and physically disabled dancers as a way of communicating and healing. In 1979 she performed throughout Guatemala with the Peace Corps. These experiences bridged the gap between performance, education, and community.
In 1981 Epifano moved to San Francisco, creating and performing with Corpo Santo, where she won first place in the Women’s International Capoeira Competition in Brazil in 1983. She was a main collaborator and performer with Dance Brigade, and with Contraband when it received 2 Izzie’s for Best Company Performances. Epifano co-founded Mudd Butt International in 1993, a cross-cultural immersion and artistic exchange program for teenagers across the world for which she was master teacher and director in villages in Morocco, Galapagos, Bali, Turkey, Indonesia, Slovakia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, India, Vietnam and Ethiopia.
In 1998 she was commissioned by the US/Mexico Fund for Culture, Universidad de Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico. Calida Fornax (received an Izzie for sound score and 1st place in the Mexican Bi-National Competition), Deseos Desnudos (Izzie nominated for choreography and sound score) both toured to San Diego and ODC Theater.
Epifano created a mentorship arts program in SF with Refugee Transitions’ program for teens from Liberia, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, which showcased at ODC. For 10 years she’s been an Artist in Residence in the SoMa at Bessie Carmichael School grade school and now online. She has been teaching in person with Mission Graduates for K-2nd graders for youth without technology or consistant housing.
In 1997 Epifano founded Epiphany Dance Theater. Her work has been commissioned/presented by YBCA, ODC Theater, Theater Artaud, Switzerland’s TanzOlten Festival, Mad’Art Carthage in Tunis, Tunisia, Ireland’s Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company, Mexicali, Mexico, Köln & Hamburg, Germany. She has received an ODC Sandbox Residency, Paul Dresher ARC Residency, Djerassi Residency, MJDC’s CHIME mentorship (with Antione Hunter), Bogliasco Fellowship, Studio 124 Theater Artaud. Epifano received a Gerbode Choreographer Commissioning Award for Last Blue Couch in the Sky, which was nominated for an Izzie in Choreography. She was awarded a Wattis foundation and CCI Investing in Artist grants for Rock & Mortar, she collaborated with multimedia/installation designer Shaghayegh Cyrous, performed by an intergenerational women’s ensemble in 2019 co-presented by Z Space.
In 2004 Epifano partnered with MUNI to launch the celebrated San Francisco Trolley Dances annual outdoor free event featuring site-specific dances by local choreographers along a MUNI line. It’s Educational Program Kids on Track has grown annually for grade school to College aged students. Now one of the city’s largest cultural events, SFTD is credited with diversifying Bay Area dance audiences and supporting the development of Bay Area choreographers. Kim received her MFA from UC Davis in Choreography.
Epifano’s work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, CCI Investing in Artists, California Arts Council, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Irvine Foundation, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Creative Work Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission, Bernard Osher Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Creative Work Fun, Puffin Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Wattis Foundation and others.
”In Kim Epifano’s hands the abstract becomes personal and the intellectual, physical… the passion – which sometimes approaches ecstasy – sets her works soaring.SF Bay Guardian
Epiphany Dance Theater’s programs include year-round performances and collaborations; San Francisco Trolley Dances (SFTD), a free annual festival presented since 2004 along the City’s Muni lines, which features new site-specific works by Bay Area choreographers; and educational outreach activities in the Bay Area and around the world. The company’s artistic focus is on large-scale multi-disciplinary collaborations, and since its inception, Epiphany Dance Theater has produced well over 20 major large-scale works of this nature.
The company’s work has been seen all over the world, including a U.S. State Department-supported tour to Tunisia, North Africa in March 2010 to be the featured performers at an international dance festival hosted by Mad’Art Carthage. Epiphany Dance work has been recognized by several Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (IZZIES) and nominations, received the SF Weekly’s Black Box Award for Best Dance Ensemble, and placed first in Mexico’s Bi-National Competition. Epiphany Dance Theater has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Rainin Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, California Arts Council, and others.
Cross-cultural collaboration has been an important factor in many of the 20 major works that Epiphany Dance Theater has created over the years. Examples include Speaking Chinese, which brought together a team of internationally-renowned Chinese and American artists, developed in Shanghai, Beijing, and San Francisco, and premiered in the San Francisco International Arts Festival at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and Fears of Your Life, a two-year collaboration with the developmentally disabled community and Creativity Explored, author Michael Bernard Loggins, and the physically integrated AXIS Dance Company, which was supported by the Irvine Foundation and Dance/USA’s Dance: Creation to Performance program and a prestigious Creative Work Fund grant.
Awarded Residencies & Fellowships
Kim Epifano has taught throughout the United States and internationally, such as the following institutions:
University of California at Berkeley
University of California at Davis
University of San Francisco
California Institute of Integral Studies
Impulse Dance Festival, St. Louis, Missouri
Velocity Dance Center, Seattle, WA
University of California at Santa Barbara
University of Montana
University of California at Los Angeles Department of World Arts and Cultures
Colorado Dance Festival
University of California at San Diego
San Diego Dance Theater Festival
San Diego State University
Sonoma State University
City College of San Diego
Movement Research (New York)
Moving On Center – School for Participatory Arts
Telluride Theater Festival
Fresno Dance Festival
TanzOlten Festival in Switzerland
San Diego Dance Theater Festival
Seattle Festival of Improvisation
KulturMix Festival in San Diego
San Francisco Dance Center
Dancers’ Group Studio Theater
Margaret Wingrove Dance Company
ODC Dance Commons
Marsh Youth Theater
Dance Mission Theater
Le Murate PAC