Dancer, Director, Dreamer: The Work and Life of Ann Marie Garvin

SF Examiner, 20 Dec 1981. Photo: Chris Hardy for the Examiner.

Sunnyside Resident Ann Marie Garvin passed away recently at the age of 82.

“Dance is all that’s left that’s real. It’s another world, all yours, and no one can take away the thrill of it.”

Ann Marie Garvin spoke those words to a reporter in 1976, shortly after she had founded her studio on Monterey Boulevard, Dancer’s Synectics Group. They were words she lived by over the course of her long working life–performing, teaching, directing, and choreographing, in San Francisco and beyond.

For 45 years, in the pink-striped building, she taught thousands of dancers, from near and far, her particular fast-paced jazz style and much else as well. Many Bay Area dancers studied with her, such as Ed Mock, Snowy Winter, Greg de Silva, and Craig Innes. Jazz dancer and instructor Ann Barrett noted in an artist’s bio how performing in Ann Marie Garvin’s ‘Dance Between the Lines’ had been invaluable to her understanding of choreography and theater, and for that she was “eternally grateful.”[1]

In assembling and choreographing her own companies of dancers, Ann Marie Garvin rode the crests of several trends, including the push for a greater diversity of body shapes and skin colors in dance that happened in the Bay Area the late 1970s.[2]

“The distinctive thing about Ann Marie is her disregard for height, or color of skin. She is unaware of anything except this: Can they dance? So [her] company has tall and short, plumpish, tan, black, white, but all marvelous dancers.”[3]

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Some photos from ‘Raise Your Gladsome Voices’ at SF History Association

1908. Johanna Pinther (left of banner) and Jeanette Pinther (right of banner). Photo: California Historical Society.

On Tuesday 29 January 2019, at the meeting of the San Francisco History Association, Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project reprised our blended presentation ‘America’s First Suffrage March & the Glen Park Women Behind It,’ which traces the women of Glen Park who were instrumental in the first suffrage march in the United States. After Evelyn Rose’s talk about the background of the event and the women’s involvement with this under-documented historic event, the evening concluded with the short play ‘Raise Your Gladsome Voices,’ written by Amy O’Hair and performed by Valerie Fachman and Haley Roth-Brown, and introducing Christine Konkol.

'Raise Your Gladsome Voices' playwright Amy O'Hair (left) with actors (left to right) Valerie Fachman, Haley Roth-Brown, and Christine Konkol. Photo: Josephine Coffey.
Taking bows. ‘Raise Your Gladsome Voices’ playwright Amy O’Hair (far left) with actors (left to right) Valerie Fachman, Haley Roth-Brown, and Christine Konkol. Photo: Josephine Coffey.
'My husband Theodore Pinther is not so keen on that.' Raise Your Gladsome Voices. Photo: Sharon Nadeau.
‘My husband Theodore Pinther is not so keen on that.’ Photo: Sharon Nadeau.

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“Raise Your Gladsome Voices’ this Tuesday at SF History Association meeting

Come to the meeting the SF History Association, Tuesday 29 January 2019, and hear about the first suffrage march in the US, and the Glen Park women at the heart of it.

Presentation by Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project includes 20-minute dramatic vignette ‘Raise Your Gladsome Voices’ — starring local actors as the heroes of this little-known chapter in the fight for California women’s suffrage. Details: https://sanfrancisco.carpe-diem.events/calendar/9366347-america-s-first-suffrage-march-the-glen-park-women-behind-it-at-congregation-sherith-israel/

“Do I look like Christabel Pankhurst?” Photo from the Dec 2017 performance of Raise Your Gladsome Voices at Sunnyside Conservatory.

More photos from previous performances here.

Sunnyside’s other park and the legacy of Dorothy Erskine

View from Dorothy Erskine Park. Photo: Amy O'Hair

Although Sunnyside Playground is a favorite destination for families, little known to even locals is our other park, Dorothy Erskine Park, located at the top of Baden Street. Poised on the edge of a rocky outcropping, the small park affords great views of the southeast of San Francisco, from among a grove of eucalyptus trees—though without even the amenity of a bench from which to enjoy the vista.

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2018. View from Dorothy Erskine Park.
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2018. A nearby neighbor enjoys the view after just discovering the park for the first time.

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Laws, Lies, and Lace Frills: San Francisco’s First Woman Prosecutor

1917 Feb 04 Oakland Tribune.

In the course of researching a house in Sunnyside I happened onto a woman named Jean E. de Greayer, whose story turned out to lead me into some interesting corners of San Francisco history, including the establishment of the women’s court during the Progressive Era. Although she was only tangentially connected with this neighborhood, her photo in the newspaper in 1913 captured my imagination.

Jean de Greayer appointed bond and warrant clerk. SF Call, 29 Dec 1913, p.9.
Jean de Greayer appointed bond and warrant clerk. SF Call, 29 Dec 1913, p.9.

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