Streaming in Stride
Online platforms brim with dance events taking on the virus, racism, isolation, and sometimes just dancing because it is so needed now. This week brings a bumper crop of new additions, encore screenings, a new Dare to Dance in Public opportunity, and the Music Center’s summer dance party goes online. Remember live performance? A new venture sends performers to the streets. On a sad note, this week marks the closure of another performance venue/studio. Here’s what’s happening (mostly on-line) in SoCal dance this week.
One more week!
Originally scheduled to stream only over the July 4 weekend, response to Stories in Jazz was so strong it has been extended another week as part of Dance @ The Holden. Choreographer Pat Taylor and her Jazz Antiqua Dance and Music Ensemble curated nine dances from the company’s repertoire that, as Taylor put it “embody through movement what is at the heart of the jazz music tradition as I experience and interpret it – a language birthed as a distinct expression giving voice to the Black experience in America.” through Wed., July 15, free. Info at http://www.jazzantiqua.org/. Stream at: https://www.ebonyrep.org/.
The latest installment of REDCAT’s social media takeover is dancer/choreographer Austyn Rich with his series LUNCHBOX: A Movement Composition Session. Well received at REDCAT’s 2019 Now Festival, Rich also was seen in two installments of the REDCAT’s quarterly Studio series, including the spring 2020 session just before everything closed down. Sat., July 11, 5 p.m. PDT. Instagram.
Seven minutes for seven dancers
Teaming up for the second time, filmmaker Nathan Kim and Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC) stream BLINK, a seven minute film choreographed by artistic director Genevieve Carson in collaboration with the LACDC dancers. Exploring timely issues of solitude and connection, the film features dancer Hyosun Choi with Christian Beasley, Kate Coleman, Tess Hewlett, Ryan Ruiz, Drea Sobke, and Tiffany Sweat. The short film was an official selection in the Hollyshorts Film Festival 2019, Cucalorus Festival 2019, and the San Francisco Dance Film Festival 2019. Information on other LACDC virtual programming: lacontemporarydance.org. Film on Vimeo.
For the small screen
Among the SoCal artists selected for KCET’s Southland Sessions, Viver Brasil reworked its popular family show Celebrating Samba for the small screen and now it’s online. This version may have company members performing from their homes, but through the power of Afro-Brazilian dance and live music they promise a cultural journey to Salvador, Bahia to explore royal orixá dances, high-flying capoeira, and samba from a Bahian Carnaval. Streaming at KCET.
Move over Arthur Murray!
LA’s dance performance venues are closed, including the Music Center where its plaza usually hosts its popular free summer dance party. While it’s not entirely clear how the partnering moves in styles like tango will work, Music Center Dance DTLA is going virtual. As usual, each week offers a different dance style with an hour-long beginning class followed by dancing under the stars. The online stream provides closed captioning for those with hearing difficulties. The series launches with Bollywood taught by Achinta S. McDaniel, artistic director of LA’s critically praised Blue 13 Dance Company. Upcoming choices include hip hop, line dance, cumbia, K-Pop, salsa, Motown, Argentinean tango, and samba. Do the whole series and be ready for when (and if) dance clubs ever open. A complete schedule and more info at https://www.musiccenter.org/tmc-offstage/. Fridays, July 10 thru Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Coming to a sidewalk near you
With theaters somewhere in stage 4 of that elusive reopening, CAP UCLA paired with the National YoungArts Foundation to bring local performers to where the audience lives with The Sidewalk Sessions. For $50, artists will show up and perform on a sidewalk or driveway for the sponsor and invited and socially distanced friends and neighbors. Sponsors can indicate a preference for type of artist, but organizers will schedule artists based on geographical proximity and availability. The plan is for performances to last approximately 15 minutes and all proceeds will go to the artists. For more information or to schedule for July, August or September: Google Doc.
Striding with pride
The semi-annual The King of Arms Art Ball prides itself with attracting figures from the arts, ballroom, fashion, music, literature and activism. This week the organizer Rashaad Newsome Studios takes the event virtual with several co-sponsors including the LA County Museum of Art. Applicants with past or current video clips are invited to vie for limited slots in Face, Commentator vs. Commentator, Hands Performance, Old Way, and Femme Queen categories by email. Info at http://www.kingofarmsartball.com/. Stream: Fri., July 10, 5 p.m. PDT, free. YouTube
Something to think about
Subtitled “a dance medition,” in Safe and Sound, choreographer Kevin Williamson and his collaborators: Kayla Johnson, Justin Morris, Alexandra Rixx, Kevin Williamson, Anna Luisa Petrisko, Taso Papadakis, Kelsey Vidic, Katelan Braymer stream their recent performance hosted by Stomping Ground LA. The performance was performed at Dixon Place’s Hot! Festival – the NYC Celebration of Queer Performance. Free, but donations accepted. Tickets for the stream are still available, http://dixonplace.org/performances/safe-and-sound-a-meditation-07-07-20/.
Count on them
The acrobatic performance troupe The 7 Fingers is scheduled to return to perform live next February, but in the meantime, Santa Monica’s Broad Stage is streaming the group’s Cuisine & Confessions until July 14. Filmed in Montreal, the 2014 video is in French with subtitles available by clicking on the “CC” (closed caption) YouTube feature on the link. Register.
Organized by performance/butoh artist Josie J (divinebrick), Tuesday Night Stream, is a two part event. The second portion belongs to specific performers, but the opening portion is dedicated to women identified, BIPOC, or otherwise underrepresented avant garde artists. This week’s act 2 is performance artist LROD from Mexico. Tues,, 7 p.m. PDT thru Aug. 4. free ($10-$23 donation suggested). For info and event: www.razethewhitebox.com or email. For tickets.
Maybe think about December
Known for its eclectic assemblage of youth, adult, community and professional performers in a spectrum of dance genres (not to mention music and choral groups), the annual LA County Holiday Celebration is accepting applications for the December 24, 2020 performance which traditionally is broadcast and streamed on SoCal PBS stations. The deadline for electronic applications is August 2, 2020 at midnight. Guidelines and applications.
The ever-innovative Pieter announced the closure of its studio with its much-admired floor and distinctive admission policy of donated items to the free boutique or refreshment bar. For the many with memories of the space, Pieter is holding visiting hours (masks required), and opportunities to post memories and photos. Details at https://pieterpasd.com/. But fear not, there may be a phoenix rumbling with a scheduled August 1 zoom confab to discuss a future Pieter studio. Email for information for Aug. 1 and reservation.
SoCal Encore Streaming
Two events from the all-male contemporary troupe Pony Box Dance Theatre and the artistic director Jamie Carbetta continue on-line. The Muticultural Festival Best Foot Forward page has an intro from Raymond Ejiofor and the two dance excerpts are introduced by choreographer/performer Elijah Laurant. Another example of how the City of LA, Department of Cultural Affairs is funding and supporting LA dance. Info at https://www.ponyboxdance.org/. Stream on Facebook.
Instead of its usual annual live performances from Black and Latinx choreographers at the Bootleg Theater, the BlakTinx Dance Festival returned with a viral format in late June. For those who missed that live stream of Dancing on the Edge, the show now continues on-line in four parts with works from Nancy Rivera Gomez, Shantel Ureña, Anthony Aceves, Bernard Brown, Joshua Estrada-Romero, Keilah Lomotey, Michelle Funderburk, Primera Generación, Vannia Ibargüen, Marina Magalhães, Regina Ferguson, Rubi Morales, Amber Morales, Alan Perez, Dorcas Román, Yarrow Perea, Andrea Ordaz, Eluza Santos, Briseyda Zárate, and Sadie Yarrington. With many of the works recently created, the pandemic and the streets were subjects and five pieces from earlier festivals that focused on Black Lives Matter were last minute additions. More info at https://www.blaktinafestival.com/. Program One, Program Two, Program Three, Program Four.
Reminiscent of what one did to enter a speakeasy in the 1920s or a Cold War spy meet-up, six weeks ago a select, paying audience was given the address of a Santa Monica airport parking lot with strict instructions on arriving in their cars, remaining in the cars wearing face masks, and turning on their headlights when cued. In perhaps the first “drive in” dance event, Jacob Jonas and his eponymous Jacob Jonas The Company performed Parked with those vehicles encircling the “stage,” their headlights illuminating the socially spaced dancers performing to live music by Anibal Sandoval. The one-night only event was filmed by Ivan Cash and Daniel Addelson. The five minute final cut debuted this week. With the film covering interviews with the choreographer and dancers, the actual performance footage is brief, but if the cars flashing their headlights at bows was a kind of applause, the experiment garnered a vehicular standing ovation from the audience. Hopefully, the performance itself will have a separate streaming life. Info at http://jacobjonas.com/. Film on Vimeo.
Despite an extensive career in dance here and abroad, Sean Greene locally will always be identified with his decade with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. With her career based mostly in New York, notably with Laura Dean, Liz Maxwell is less well know in SoCal, but both Greene and Maxwell are on the Chapman College dance faculty and were the focus of Always a Dancer. The live interview included several clips of Maxwell dancing and then commenting on the roll, the choreography, and the choreographer. Sadly, only still photos were available for Greene’s work for Lewitzky. The conversation and visuals are facilitated gently by Napoleon W. Gladney quietly demonstrating his own background as a performer and arts administrator (he’s now audience development administrator for the Musco Center for the Arts which hosted the program). The live-streamed interview is now up and available for viewing. Info on Musco Online. Stream on YouTube.
The site specific performance ensemble Heidi Duckler Dance has been actively exploring the possibilities in combining live and virtual performance. Last week’s Ebb & Flow: Chinatown 2020 allowed audiences to stroll about installations with dance projected into some of the constructs. Other ongoing streamed projects include a five-minute video drawn from the live performance of The Chandelierbased on a work by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector about a woman experiencing isolation and trying to connect. Choreographed by Duckler, the performers include Himerria Wortham, Rafael Quintas, Myles Lavallee, Nicole Flores, Maureen Asic, Magdalena Edwards, Jessica Emmanuel, Jaeme Velez, David Guerra, and Paula Rebelo. Vimeo. Video of the full zoomed performance.
The scheduled premiere of choreographer Melissa Barak’s first full length contemporary ballet Memoryhouse for her Barak Ballet was cancelled when the statewide coronavirus shutdown closed Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. On what would have been the closing night, Barak Ballet instead went online with the premiere of Breathe In, a short ballet filmed at the grounds at the Holocaust Museum in what formerly was known as Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax district. The film features Peter Chursin with Andrew Brader, Lucia Connolly, Jessica Gadzinski, Chasen Greenwood, Stephanie Kim, and with choreography by Barak. Also, there’s an opportunity to sign up for the company’s new YouTube channel. Info at https://barakballet.org/. Streaming on Facebook.
Paying tribute to Don Campbellock, the creator of the Locking dance style, the street dance troupe Versa Style and its youth organization Versa-Style Next Generation unveil Finding Creativity and Fun in Our Personal Space. The streamed performance gets help from musician Cody “CoFlo” Ferreira’s Playground Samba. YouTube, Facebook. Info at http://versastyledance.org/events/.
After Covid–19 shelter at home caused cancellation, the Orange County Dance Festival was among the first to shift to streaming. Throughout April and May, a recorded version of the work each company or artist was scheduled to perform was streamed for three days in show order. Bonuses included company photos, artistic statements, and links to websites and social media platforms. Now the OCDF website has collected the individual events from AkomiDance, Contempo Ballet, 7th Street Dance Company, ISSA Dance Company, Animus Dance Co., Jazz Spectrum Dance Company, Emergent Dance Company, Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, Louise Reichlin & Dancers, The Hubbard Collective, Kairos Dance Co., and Fuse Dance Company. AkomiDance.
A concentrated taste of choreographer Rosanna Gamson’s consideration of a legendary storyteller is performed on-line in Layla Means Night. Drawn from her company Rosanna Gamson/World Wide’s performance, the work is inspired by The Persian tale of Shahrzad or Scheherazade who entranced her husband and kept herself alive telling stories for 1001 nights. Vimeo.
Dance is well represented in the ongoing Music Center Offstage series, including the Spotlight final performance with this year’s high school-age ballet dancers Jacob Jovanni Alvarado from San Diego and Ashley Lew from San Juan Capistrano plus Maya Alvarez-Coyne from Santa Ana and Bergundi Loyd from Riverside in non-classical dance. The event is free, but donations to support this scholarship program are invited by texting TMCSPOTLIGHT to 44–321 or at the website.
Other Platforms to Find Video Dance and Dance Classes
Companies are streaming past performances to compensate for cancelled spring seasons, and dance videos have gained more prominence whether a thread of solo dancers tag teaming a movement sequence, dancing on the roof, the backyard or their kitchen. The popular long-running video competition Dare to Dance in Public curated by Sarah Elgart has been joined by her new challenge, Six Foot Distance Dances (details on how to submit).
Over the next few months, the Palm Springs International Dance Festival is accepting submissions for an October performance under the title MERDE! A Dance Makers Moment. Six submissions will be selected for presentation on October 23 with by the voting audience and an expert panel. The winner of the voting will be presented as part of the Festival’s gala in March 2021. No fee to apply. More details on submission at https://www.nickersonrossidance.com/.
On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram and other on-line platforms, many classes free, low cost or suggesting a donation. One central, constantly updated source on dance classes and in-depth reporting on SoCal dance, LA Dance Chronicle, lists on-line dance classes including any cost and contact info. Grab a chair or clear off a corner of the room and use this time to dance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Haskins has written about dance for L.A. Weekly since shortly after it began publishing. She also has written about local and national dance for Pointe Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. View, Coast Magazine, the Daily News, and the Herald Examiner. Among her broadcast projects, Ann hosted Inside Theater on KCRW-FM and contributed dance and theater features to both KLON-FM and KUSC-FM. She has received two Horton Awards from the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center for her coverage of dance in Los Angeles.