project agora promotes creative dialogue among artists and community members through interdisciplinary collaborations, workshops, and public events. Co-founded in May 2006 by San Francisco dancers/choreographers Bliss Kohlmyer and Kara Davis, the organization draws its mission from its Greek name – agora – a public forum, a place designated specifically for open debate and the exchange of ideas. Reimagining new models of creating and presenting work outside traditional studio and proscenium environments is central to the organization’s advocacy. By engaging artists and community members to exchange their particular influences and aesthetic values, project agora celebrates differences as a vital sources of information and inspiration. Gathering different perspectives around central themes, project agora effectively fosters the expansion of possibilities for creative expression.
project agora presented its first home season, Threshold, to sold-out audiences in May 2006. Along with remounting repertory works, each co-director presented premieres that featured original music scored and performed by local composers Charles Dowman V and Sarah Jo Zaharako. In September 2008 and March 2009 project agora collaborated with Singer/Composer Katy Stephan to present With (& Without) Words, an evening-length arrangement of original songs and dances, real-time Valentines that overlapped, intersected, and stood alone. In 2010 project agora partnered with music ensemble Gojogo to produce Symbiosis, a shared evening of music and dance at Dance Mission Theater. This concert featured two collaborations between composer Sarah Jo Zaharako and project agora as well as repertory work and original compositions.
In 2012 Ms Davis received generous support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Theater Bay Area’s CA$H grant, and the Zellerbach Family Fund to develop Mother Tongue, a modality practicum that trains musicians, visual artists, and dancers towards a heightened sensitivity and legibility of each discipline’s compositional elements and terminologies. Mother Tongue also refers to an evening-length interdisciplinary improvisation performance informed by the practicum carrying the same title. Mother Tongue was commissioned by the 24 Days of Central Market Arts Festival and premiered in September 2012. The work has subsequently been performed in 2013 and 2014 at The Museum of Performance + Design. Additionally, Ms Davis has taught Mother Tongue’s modality practicum at the Cairo Opera House, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet BFA and Training Programs, and Mills College. In November 2014 Ms Kohlmyer and Ms Davis were invited to teach elements of Mother Tongue’s practicum at the National Dance Educators Organization conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Ms Davis and Ms Kohlmyer were invited as guest artists for sjDANCEco’s ChoreoProjects in San Jose, California to premiere their duet Convers(at)tions in March 2014. Ms Davis and Ms Kohlmyer were invited as Artists-in-Residence at the prestigious Bates Dance Festival during the summer of 2015. Their evening length work, Threshold, Suspended… in collaboration with composers Katy Stephan and Karl Digerness premiered at the San Francisco International Arts Festival June 2015. Recently, Bliss and Kara performed Convers(at)tions for one week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. project agora has received support from The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the University of South Florida, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Theater Bay Area’s CA$H grant.
As faculty members of prestigious universities, Co-Artistic Directors, Kohlmyer (University of South Florida) and Davis (Mills College, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet BFA and Training Programs), are sought after as master teachers and guest artists throughout the nation.