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Just a Shadow

Photo by: RJ Muna, of Megan Lowe and Shira Yaziv

Megan Lowe Dances


Just a Shadow
(World Premiere)

A performance journey of duets that celebrate life and honor memories of lost loved one

A featured artist of Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s
27th Annual United States of Asian America Festival

May 31st - June 9th, 2024
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30pm

The Joe Goode Annex

401 Alabama St, San Francisco, CA

AbouT the Project

About The Show

Just a Shadow, by Megan Lowe Dances, is a performance journey in service to artists who have lost loved ones prematurely. With a title inspired by a poem Artistic Director Megan Lowe’s mother wrote shortly before she died, the project stems from Megan’s desire to process the loss of her mother and sister through art, and co-create a space of mutual support with collaborators who are also dealing with recent loss. Just a Shadow brings together 7 powerful artists—AJ Gardner, Sonsherée Giles, Josh Icban, Megan Lowe, Frances Teves Sedayao, Roel Seeber, and Shira Yaziv—to make 6 distinct duets that highlight the unique strengths and creative modalities of each collaborator, including contemporary dance, site-specific dance, vertical dance, turf dance, contact improvisation, and live music.

This project aspires to nourish the soul, support healing, acknowledge resilience, celebrate life, and honor the memories of loved ones. It welcomes diverse perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds, recognizing that the narratives surrounding death and processing grief are multifaceted and deeply personal. Through dance performance, MLD aims to provide a platform for catharsis, empathy, and collective understanding, fostering connections that transcend individual stories and unite us in a shared journey toward solace and healing.

Thank you so much for sharing space with us, and coming to see this show! There are some site-specific elements to this dance, with a unique perspective for each viewer; some of those moments might be up close, and some farther away where you might not see everything all at once. If you can't see a dancer for a moment, there is richness to be found in the experience of seeing the space, and the other people around you. Please feel empowered to express how you are feeling during the performance. There is room for laughter, curiosity, tears, excitement, deep thinking, and smiles. We are honored to share this work with you!

Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Artistic Direction by:

Megan Lowe


Creation & Performance by: AJ Gardner, Sonsherée Giles, Josh Icban, Megan Lowe, Frances Teves Sedayao, Roel Seeber, and Shira Yaziv

Music by:

Megan Lowe and Josh Icban, including songs by Sade, Doris Day, The Meters, Radiohead, Rexx Life Raj, and Loscil

Lighting Design by:

Ray Oppenheimer

Sound Tech by:

Shy Baniani

Rigging Design by:

Dave Freitag

Artistic Director

Megan Lowe Dances - Just a Shadow - Dancers Megan Lowe and Shira Yaziv - Photo by RJ Muna.

Megan Lowe

Megan Lowe (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, performer, aerialist, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, teacher, and administrator of Chinese and Irish descent. In addition to her works via MLD, Megan has performed with Flyaway Productions, Lenora Lee Dance, Dance Brigade, Scott Wells & Dancers, Lizz Roman & Dancers, Epiphany Productions, and more. She teaches for Joe Goode Performance Group, Bandaloop, and Flyaway, as well as for schools/youth programs, contact improvisation gatherings, and her alma mater Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, where she currently works as the Program Associate. Megan recently won an Izzie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance - Ensemble for HOME(in)STEAD, a site-specific dance she created with Johnny Huy Nguyen at the David Ireland House / 500 Capp Street. Art is her heart!

Photo by: RJ Muna


Megan Lowe Dances - Just a Shadow - Dancers AJ Gardner and Megan Lowe - Photo by RJ Muna.j

AJ Gardner

AJ “Dopey Fresh” Gardner (he/him) is a Turf dancer/teacher, born and raised in San Francisco. He’s won many all styles jams and dance tournaments. In the entertainment industry, he’s worked with Mikey Disco from Knuckle Neck Tribe, Sony, Men’s Wearhouse, Trademark Inc, Souls of Mischief, E-40, Kanye West, Schoolboy Q, YG, and H.E.R. Dopey was the first Black Turf dancer to be featured on an SF billboard. Over the years, Dopey Fresh has shared his talents by teaching adult classes at City Dance Studio (first Black Turf dance instructor) and by teaching 1st graders at an all-Black, Oakland after-school program for 4 years under the Ujimaa Foundation. You can find him today throwing dance battles as CEO of UNKNOWN CHAMBERS and with his dance group UNKNOWN. AJ and Megan first worked together in 2023 with Mud Water Turf Theatre. This is his first project with MLD.

Photo by: RJ Muna

Sonsherée Giles

Sonsherée Giles (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and costume designer. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she moved to the SF Bay Area to attend Mills College and received an MFA in performance/choreography. She enjoys making dances based on observations of animals, landscapes, art history, and daily life. From 2005-2021, she worked for AXIS Dance Company as a performing/ teaching artist, rehearsal director and associate director. She has shared her choreography, taught dance and performed for audiences in the United States, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Russia, Scotland, Canada, China, and Japan. Sonsherée received an Izzie Award for ensemble performance, and a Homer Avila Award for Excellence in the field of integrated dance. Sonsherée and Megan have been co-creating dances together since 2016.

Photo by: RJ Muna

Joshua Icban

Josh Icban (he/him) is a proud son of Vallejo, CA, and has had the privilege to work with a wide array of prestigious talents and organizations such as Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito, the San Francisco Symphony orchestra with Micheal Tilson Thomas, KULARTS under the direction of SFAC Legacy Artist Alleluia Panis, and Oakland Hip Hop Collective Grand Nationxl. Josh's original works have been showcased in spaces such as CounterPulse, the Asian Art Museum, Bindlestiff Studios, Dance Mission, and Fringe Manila Arts Festival in the Philippines. Josh was a recent artist in the 2023 United States of Asian America festival and is currently a California Arts Council and Youth Speaks Emerging Artist Fellow. Josh and Megan first worked together in 2022 for HOME(in)STEAD. This is his first project with Megan Lowe Dances.

Photo by: RJ Muna

Megan Lowe Dances - Just a Shadow - Dancers Frances Teves Sedayao and Megan Lowe - Photo b

Frances Teves Sedayao

Frances Teves Sedayao (sya/she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist and performer. She has performed with many Bay Area notables in the US and abroad over the past 25 years. Frances was an SF APAture Featured Artist, an Art resident of NY OMI International, a Serpent Source Grantee, and a recipient of the distinguished Jefferson Awards. She has presented original works for SF Queer Arts Festival, Shawl Anderson’s Frolic, Bindlestiff Studios with Kreatibo, and Vancouver Asian American Theater Festival. She is currently in collaboration with San San Kwan, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Moon Rope, and Crescent Moon Theater Productions. Frances first worked with Megan Lowe Dances in 2022, and is grateful to be working again with MLD.

Photo by: RJ Muna

Roel Seeber

Roel Seeber (he/they/any) is an Oakland based artist who graduated cum Laude from Purchase College, State University of New York, and holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington. From 2008-2020, Roel was a company member of vertical dance organization BANDALOOP, dancing, performing, stage directing, and teaching with them. Roel currently works with BANDALOOP in performance projects and as Lead Teacher. As a solo artist, Roel collaborates with other vertical dance artists, including a creative partnership with Magalie Lanriot in Lisbon Portugal. He has taught workshops for Il Posto, Vuela, Danza Area, Dimegaz, Sparrow Dance, and Gravity & Levity. From 2001 to 2008, Roel danced with The Límon Dance Company. Roel first fell in love with dancing through contact improvisation. Roel and Megan started exploring vertical dance partnering together in 2023, and this is his first collaboration with Megan Lowe Dances.

Photo by: RJ Muna

Megan Lowe Dances - Just a Shadow - Dancers Shira Yaziv and Megan Lowe - Photo by RJ Muna.

ShirA Yaziv

Shira Yaziv (she/her) is a dancer, teacher, bodyworker, facilitator, and mother. She enjoys encouraging people to connect with their bodies, learn new skills, be creative, and listen/adapt to the changing present moment. Shira co-founded Athletic Playground ( in 2008, a dynamic indoor space that inspires physical play through a variety of movement classes. She offers private lessons, group classes, workshops, bodywork sessions, and retreats. Her dance journey began in 2010 with Scott Wells and Dancers (SW&D), where Megan and Shira started dancing together. Shira has been dancing with MLD since 2018.

Photo by: RJ Muna


Ray OppenHeimer

Ray Oppenheimer is a San Francisco Bay Area based lighting designer, educator, scenographer, technologist, and creator who has been bringing his boundless curiosity, chimerical aesthetic, and Sisyphean perseverance to performance design and education since 2005. Ray graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in lighting design from San Francisco State University in the Fall of 2017. He also is an active company member with Mugwumpin and Shotgun Players. As a lighting designer, Ray has worked with Word For Word, Z Space, piecebypiece productions, ACT, The Magic Theatre, Mugwumpin, Shotgun Players, Center Rep, New Conservatory Theatre Company, Crowded Fire, Santa Cruz Shakespeare Company, Debutants and Vagabonds, David Herrera's Dance Company, and Red Rooster. He has created the original lighting designs for the world premieres of A Tale of Autumn by Christopher Chen, Grandeur by Han Ong, Pen Man Ship by Christina Anderson, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The Virgin with 10k Arrows by Jason Tremblay, Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World by Yussef El Guindi, and Blockbuster Season and In Event of Moon Disaster by Mugwumpin.

Dave Freitag

David Freitag is an aerial rigging designer who is somehow lucky enough to still be based in San Francisco. Dave has spent the past 20 years (and hopefully the next 20 more) striving to perfect his craft as a rigger, and making his peace with Sir Isaac Newton. Along the way, he has held the honor of being one of the lead riggers on a wide range of site specific dance productions performing on walls and theaters both internationally and across the Bay Area, including Sens Productions, Zaccho, Capacitor, Flyaway, and Printz Dance Project. Dave spent 8 years touring internationally as lead rigger for Cirque Mechanics USA, and currently bides his time between aerial gigs as the house rigger at the Masonic Auditorium on Nob Hill. A master's graduate of UC Santa Barbara and SFSU, Dave holds rigging certifications in SPRAT, ETCP, and is a journeyman member of IATSE Local 16. When not holding the other end of the circus ropes, on dark days he can be found pursuing his habits of of off-beat adventure, exploring new places to climb, sea kayak, camp, fish, build treehouses, or soak in a remote hot spring. Currently, Dave is looking up, and always stands under his work.

About MLD

About MLD

With an affinity for dynamic places and partners, Megan Lowe Dances (MLD) shifts your perspective. Directed by a choreographer of Chinese and Irish descent, MLD explores complex identities and experiences by tackling unusual physical situations and inventing compelling solutions, opening up the imagination to what is possible. Since 2013, MLD has been creating dances that demonstrate the "intensely-physical, curiously-playful, delightfully-weighty rigor of physicality” (Life as a Modern Dancer) in the San Francisco Bay Area, situated on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land. MLD’s recent choreographic works and commissions have been seen at de Young Museum, Legion of Honor Museum, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, the David Ireland House/500 Capp Street Foundation, the Joe Goode Annex, Kapwa Gardens, Eastside Arts Alliance, CounterPulse, as well as in SF Trolley Dances, CAAMFest, United States of Asian America Festival, and on KQED Live. MLD deepens connections with their Asian American Pacific Islander communities through relationships with organizations such as API Cultural Center; the creation of public art in SF/Oakland Chinatown as part of efforts to revitalize these communities during the pandemic; and choreographic commissions celebrating Asian influences on American culture/s.


Led by a choreographer of color, MLD empowers movers of color, and we’re committed to making creative spaces with a BIPOC majority, in both our hiring practices and the participants of movement classes we lead. With specific outreach, discounts, and scholarships to our workshops, we create a space of dance study where BIPOC aren’t the minority, de-centering normative white/eurocentric experiences and cultivating diversity in Bay Area dance. A previous workshop participant wrote, “The safe container empowered me to try new things and go beyond my usual notions of what I can and can't do. I appreciated the presence of many POC helping me feel less like an outlier.” Our artistic process thrives via collaboration, prioritizing creating relationships of respect, generosity, and gratitude. This culture of magnanimity is harnessed in the dance classes/workshops MLD leads for movers of all different ages, experience levels, body types, races, cultures, and socio-economic statuses—building community and connection.

Music Notes

Program Notes

  1. Silhouette by Frances Teves Sedayao and Megan Lowe
    - Just a Shadow (by Megan, inspired by a poem by Kathy Lowe)

    - Silhouette (by Megan Lowe)
    - The Sweetest Gift (original song by Sade; cover arranged/sung by Megan Lowe)
    - Que Sera, Sera (original song by Doris Day; sung live by Frances Sedayao and Megan Lowe)
    A Note from Frances: The soundscore is a lullaby that tells my deep love, appreciation, longing, and protection dedicated to my loved ones who passed. Within 8 years my mother, best friend, cousin, aunt, and partner (last year) passed - in that order. I grieve for them and the parts of me that left. Days before they passed, Mickey sang to me 'whatever will be, will be.' This was when glioblastoma took their ability to speak; yet in that moment, out of nowhere, they not only said words in completion but sang. That was the last I heard their voice. This duet expresses that none is lost. I can choose to dance the connection and presence of those I hold. I can remind myself that the sorrows and joys of remembering co-exist. They all ebb and flow in the same dimensions I traverse, with new intersections I visit and cross as often as I am genuinely called.


  2. There’s a Storm Inside by Sonsherée Giles and Megan Lowe
    Stormy (by The Meters)

    After the Storm (by Megan Lowe)
    There, There (original song by Radiohead; sung live by Megan Lowe)
    A Note from Sonsherée: Working on Just a Shadow with Megan is a safe and creative container to reflect on loss and the beauty of impermanence. Grief has become a ghost that accompanies me wherever I go. This process allows for reflection on how transformation is inevitable and making friends with your shadow is possible. We laugh and cry and continue to move—death is only for the living.


  3. Living in the Now by AJ Gardner and Megan Lowe
    Conversation with Dark Self (poem by AJ Garder; song arranged by Megan Lowe)
    New Normal (by Rexx Life Raj)
    A Note from AJ: This whole process has been very fun. I really appreciate Megan walking me through this experience—working with both my strengths and my growth interests. This def helps me heal during my grief, and feels like therapy for it. I hope this piece can bring peace in its presence and strength. I dedicate this to Wanda Phillips Gardner, Arthur V. Gardner Sr., and Sandra Philips.


  4. Us by Shira Yaziv and Megan Lowe
    - Grounded in Silence (by Megan Lowe)
    - Before Flight (by Megan Lowe)
    A Note from Shira: When we started our rehearsals, we had plenty of wild ideas we wanted to explore. As we continued, we found that what truly fascinates us is sharing the unfiltered, spontaneous moments of the present. This is who we are, right here, right now. Using masks enhances our listening and deepens our trust, encouraging risk-taking without knowing the outcome. Despite what we have lost or may lose in the future, how do we continue to move? We are finding joy in "failing," and we are embracing giggles as a potent medicine.


  5. A Quiet Space to Dance With by Roel Seeber and Megan Lowe
    Monument Destroyers (by Loscil)
    A Note from Roel
    “Give up all fear of being WRONG.
    Give up all desire of being RIGHT.
    Give up showing what you know.
    Give up knowing what you know.

    And give yourself over to Orchesis
    Curiosity is the antidote to Fear
    Use your Enthusiasm to wash away doubt.
    And Clean your upper stories daily.
    To make way for Imagination and artistry.”

    - A poem by Roel’s mother, Sarah Stackhouse


  6. Vendor of Dreams by Josh Icban and Megan Lowe
    Vendor of Dreams (by Josh Icban and Megan Lowe)

    - Because (original song by The Beatles; arranged and performed by Josh Icban and Megan Lowe)
    - Just a Shadow (original song by Megan; arranged and performed by Josh Icban and Megan Lowe)
    A Note from Josh: There is a way that grief lives in the body. And in the voice. The spirit. The land. Throughout generations it becomes renewed, transformed. I was told once by a teacher that dance and music are the original forms of prayer. And I’d like to offer this music and movement that Megan and I created as exactly that. It’s been a joy to discover these moments together.

    I dedicate these performances in memory to my father, Elviro Bamba Icban, who passed in 2020. He introduced me to my musical voice. "Because" by the Beatles was a song we often played together, and I haven't played it with anyone else since he passed. Also to my mother and brother and myself who cared for him into his final days. And I would like to acknowledge the grief and hope for transformation that accompanies unlocking the freedom of oppressed people around the world, as in Palestine, the Philippines and in Sudan and in the Congo and even the United States of America.

    “Let us cross the river, as wide as it seems”


  7. Not Alone by AJ Gardner, Sonsherée Giles, Josh Icban, Megan, Frances Teves Sedayao, Roel Seeber, and Shira Yaziv
    - Not Alone (by Josh Icban)
    A Note from Megan: This endeavor aims to recognize and celebrate our individual and collective resilience, acknowledging the inevitable challenges of death, while embracing the miracle and beauty of life.


After the show, if you are curious to see transcripts of the lyrics sung and text spoken during Just a Shadow click the button below. We would recommend doing this post show, vs. before/during the show.

Audience Survey

Thank you for attending Megan Lowe Dances presents Just a Shadow at the Joe Goode Annex, May 31 - June 9, 2024. We had such a wonderful time dancing and sharing this performance, and we are so grateful for each and every one of you.

Surveys like this help us apply for grants, better understand who our art is serving, and improve our future programming. We are excited to hear from you!

You could choose to remain anonymous if you wish, and all sections are optional. If you are able to forward this survey to others in your party that attended Just a Shadow with you, that would be so appreciated. We want to hear from everyone!

If you would like to share your responses in a more free form way, you can also send an email over to

Thanks for your time and consideration!

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

Finnish Hall and Sense Object: for additional lighting equipment,

Nicole Carlos Watson and Robert Merino: for ASL Interpretation.

Just a Shadow Supporters (for generous assistance in various meaningful ways): Gary/Donna/Madeline/Jackson Lowe, Paul/Mike/Susan Dier, Melanie Elvena, Philip Gotanda, Jo Kreiter, SanSan Kwan, David Latulippe, Joan Lazarus Dobkowski, Colin Johnson, RJ Muna, Aja Randall, Jill Randall, Sami Schilf, Miriam Wolodarski-Lundberg.


Just a Shadow Community Partners: API Cultural Center, Athletic Playground, AXIS Dance Company, Bandaloop, Bay Area POC CI Community, CounterPulse, Dance Mission Theater, David Herrera Performance Company, Detour Dance, Dragons Dance, Emily Hansel and Collaborators, Epiphany Production, FACT/SF, Flyaway Productions, Funsch Dance, Gregangelo Museum, Joe Goode Performance Group, Kambara + Dancers, KALW, Kristin Damrow Company, KULARTS, Life as A Modern Dancer, Melissa Lewis Wong/flowers & fog, Mission Local, NAKA Dance Theater, Pangalay Circle, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, SF Chinatown Today, SF Chronicle, SF Fine Arts Museums,  Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, and Velocity Circus.


Megan Lowe Dances is the featured artist of Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s 27th Annual United States of Asian America Festival. Just a Shadow is made possible with support from California Arts CouncilSan Francisco Grants for the ArtsZellerbach Family Foundation, and generous individual donors. MLD is fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group.

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Upcoming in the Community

AJ "Dopey Fresh" Gardner

Soul Unveiled

June 21st, 2024

Friday, 6:00pm-8:00pm


Bayview Opera House

4705 3rd St, San Francisco, CA

A free creative showcase centered around vulnerability created for black men, by black men.

Drinks | Live Performance | Music

Shira Yaziv + Sebastian Grubb

Spiral Camp (Canada Retreat)

June 30th - July 6th, 2024

Sunday-Saturday, all day


Rhizome Springs

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Drawing from acrobatics, dance, martial arts, Axis Syllabus and functional movement, Spiral Camp is a unique gathering and workshop, blending multiple physical modalities and training strategies. Improve your movement quality, learn new skills and meet others who love expressive, dynamic movement.

Berkeley Finnish Hall

Help Finnish Hall Stay Open & Accessible


The Berkeley Finnish Hall is a historical building with lots of quirky features. Improving accessibility is not easy. It took ten years of work to find the right architect, navigate city building codes, get a plan that makes the building ADA compliant, secure the right contractor, and get an actual start date. Help support one of Megan's favorite spaces to dance in!

Megan Lowe + Roel Seeber

From the Clouds to the Earth

As part of San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival

August 17th-18th, 2024

Saturday and Sunday (stay tuned for exact time)

Fort Mason Center for the Arts

San Francisco, CA

From the Clouds to the Earth is a site-specific vertical dance created by Roel Seeber and Megan Lowe–that explores the life cycle of the intensely complex creatures that we are. From wide-eyed simplicity to the sometimes overwhelming complexity of life, we seek to bridge the extremes of our bewilderingly enigmatic humanity by way of a creative journey through the beautiful architecture of the historic Herbst pavilion. 

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