The Uncertainty of Getting Out and About
Live dance inspired by a chandelier in Beverly Hills, out-of-town visitors on a downtown outdoor stage, uncertainty considered Santa Monica, site specific dance in Santa Ana, and new architectural steps in Culver City, plus online dance inspired by veterans’ letters, Covid vaccines, the samba, a prior pandemic, and more SoCal dance this week.
An outdoor, pop-up stage hosts the premiere of Heidi Duckler Dance’s The Chandelier. Technically, this is the world premiere of the site-specific performance that originally was scheduled last year. That live performance was cancelled with the pandemic, but undeterred, choreographer Duckler and her band of dancers, musicians, and actors transformed the work into a filmed adaptation. The work draws its inspiration from Brazilian author Clarice Lispector’s novel with the same title that focused on a family grappling with a world of unalterable impermanence. At The Wallis, Promenade Terrace, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, Thurs-Sun., Aug. 12–15, 8 p.m., $50. The Wallis.
Those site specific masters from Heidi Duckler Dance are popping up all over. They step up, down, around and over the new Culver Steps in Honest Purpose. Two days of multiple live performances inaugurate this public space with equally live music from a four-piece band led by Dwight Trible. Choreographer Duckler and her troupe have a history with dance theater explorations in this city including the historic Helm’s Bakery, a hillside park, and even a technicolor parking lot which explains why the ensemble was the logical choice to introduce a new site likely to become a Culver City destination. Shows run less than an hour, leaving time to explore the site and surrounding area. The Culver Steps, 9300 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Fri., July 8–9, 8 & 9 p.m., $40, $20 students, seniors & Culver City residents. Eventbrite
One reward in whatever seemingly disparate elements choreographer Rosanna Gamson turns her attention to is how what finally emerges is artistically interwoven in often revelatory ways. From grim histories of famine underlying the sweet-toothed Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel to starvation in deadly Revolutionary War prisons, Gamson and her ensemble Rosanna Gamson/WorldWide have been developing and showing pieces of Sugar Houses for several years. This live performance of Sugar Houses with six dancers/singers/actors attacks this dark subject with a gothic horror story approach it merits. Sunday offers a live-streamed performance. REDCAT, Thurs.-Fri., July 8–9, 8:30 p.m. Sat., July 10, 3 & 8:30 p.m. $25, $20 students. OvationTix. Livestreamed on Sun., July 11, 4 p.m., $15, $12 students. REDCAT
The fourth and final offering in the Music Center’s al fresco Dance at Dusk series brings San Francisco-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet for its first visit in eight years. The choreographer always finds an extraordinary group of dancers who understand his distinctive approach that moves through movement, not just striking a pose. For this visit, guest artists Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia from New York City Ballet offer a duet and a solo for Peck, both created by the choreographer. As of press time, tickets for socially distanced pods (each seats four) are still available. The Sunday show is live-streamed for free with reservations at the website. Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Wed.-Sun., June 14-18, 7:30 p.m., $150 & $200 (for pod for four). Livestream, Sun., June 18, 7:30 p.m., free. Tickets and livestream reservation at Music Center.
Embracing the indecision
Projections, art, and movement are part of LEFT/ RIGHT/ HERE: An Outdoor Art Experience exploring the feelings and issues of emerging from the pandemic and a year of tumultuous events. Part of the 18th Street Arts Center’s ongoing Recovery, Justice: Being Well. Organized by Lionel Popkin, the event includes several live performances and other installations and projections. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., July 10, 7:30-9:30 p.m., free with reservation. Info at 18th Street Arts Center. Reservations at Eventbrite.
Santa Barbara’s enjoyable Fiesta in the Grove offers an evening of live dance from Zermeño Dance Academy with music, drinks and dining. Announced artists include Yiyi Orozco, Diego Alvarez Muñoz, Jose Tanaka and director Daniela Zermeño. Godric Grove, Elings Park, 1298 Las Positas Rd., Santa Barbara; Sun., 4 p.m., $40-$60. Eventbrite
Getting back on the floor
After a year of dancing remotely, the students of The Wooden Floor recently returned for in-person rehearsals with choreographer Stephan Koplowitz who created a new site specific work for the dancers. The result premieres at the organization’s 38th Annual Concert performances. The Wooden Floor Main Street Location, 1810 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Thurs., July 15, 7 p.m., Fri.-Sat., July 16-17 & 23-24, 6 & 8:30 p.m., $20, $10 students & children under 13. The Wooden Floor
Vets’ letters from the front
One of the most powerful dance videos to emerge during the pandemic came out of Diavolo Architecture in Motion‘s Veterans Project with the stories and insights of military veterans currently front line medical workers during the pandemic. The veterans went toe to toe in bravura movement with some of Diavolo’s astonishing athletes and signature structures. The Veterans Project most recent video is an equally mesmerizing endeavor, the product of an eight day workshop with writings by the veterans interpreted by dancers from around the world. The final product of S.O.S. Veterans Project 2021 premiered appropriately on July 4 and streams until August 4 on Diavolo’s YouTube page at YouTube.
Addressing the jab
Among the innovative vaccination efforts against Covid-19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital Campus (MLK) teamed with site specific dance company Heidi Duckler Dance to create a short, public service announcement film Ages Take Action. The film includes a score produced by LAUSD’s Young Producers Group comprised of students enrolled in music production classes. The video continues HDD’s ongoing partnership with MLK and its Watts/Willowbrook neighborhood. The video will be part of community outreach efforts by hospital personnel and other health professionals to disseminate information about the vaccination effort and address the disproportionate pandemic toll on BIPOC communities. Viewable online at Vimeo.
Presented as a webinar, Kybele Dance Theater offers an online live performance of insan, a word that may mean “human” or “to forget.” Choreographed by artistic director Seda Aybay, the live performance blends with film, helped by cinematographer Carl Owens. Performers include Rachel Walton, Morgan Goodfellow, Karlo Ramirez, Nick Albuja, and Aybay. Thurs., July 15, 7 p.m.,$10 registration fee. https://www.kybeledance.com/upcoming.
L.A. dance gets a little love
The third season of the Music Center’s digital series For the Love of L.A. keeps adding new videos filled with curated dance, music, and visual arts. The season includes South Asian-American dance with Shalini Bathina and 17-year old Shreya Patel, Japanese influenced dance in a film directed and performed by Kyoko Takenaka, contemporary dance set in Leimert Park from Brianna Mims, an excursion between beach and backyard from Maya Alvarez-Coyne, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater, and more. Online free, at Music Center.
She does like a good book
Choreographer Rosanna Gamson has drawn some of her most compelling work from literature ranging from Scheherazade in Tales of the Arabian Nights to the Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, and lectures by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. Other than Albert Camus’ The Plague, what could be more appropriate pandemic source material than Boccaccio’s Decameron with tales from ten strangers sheltering from the bubonic plague? Just as the tales of the ten travelers unfold one at a time, Gamson’s The Decameron Project rolls out ten films, each made by a different artist. All ten episodes are now live and viewable for free on RGWW and on Instagram.
Adding to the trove
For its 20th anniversary show in 2017, Vera Passos created Para Onde O Samba Me Leva in memory of the ensemble’s beloved Zelita Moreira da Cruz Silva. The work s the newest addition to Viver Brasil’s weekly online rebroadcast of a past performance. The company’s rich repertoire reflects the company’s efforts to preserve Brasil’s African culture in dance and music. Free at Viver Brasil. The troupe also is part of KCET’s Southland Sessions streaming at KCET>.
Dance continues to be part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s digital series CLOSE QUARTERS. Choreographer Rebecca Steinberg along with dancers Layne Paradis Willis and Joe Davis collaborated with stage director George Miller in two scheduled works, Ellen Reid’s Lumee’s Aria from the Pulitzer-winning opera p r i s m and Benjamin Britten’s musical setting of Rimbaud poems, Illuminations. The program also includes the premiere of Peter S. Shin’s Hyo. Free (donations are welcome) at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s YouTube channel.
Dances with cars
Over three Saturdays, Suárez Dance Theater rolled out three short films under the banner Mapping Our Stories. Inspired by the histories of Black, Native and LatinX people, each film is set in a Santa Monica public space with often overlooked cultural significance (the city provided funding). Choreographer/performer Bernard Brown of bbmoves takes the audience from the landmark Phillips Chapel CME Church (the 1909 church was the first serving the African American Community) to the site of “Inkwell Beach” where Blacks and Browns were restricted in segregated California beaches. Acknowledging her Chumash and Tongva Nations heritage, poet/songwriter Jessa Calderon’s film starts overlooking the ocean from Tongva Park. The history of the Westside Classics Car Club in Santa Monica is the focus of the film from Primera Generación Dance Collective (PGDC) and its members Alfonso Cervera, Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Irvin Manuel Gonzalez, and Patricia “Patty” Huerta. Each film has resources for further exploration and continue to screen for free at Bernard Brown/bbmoves’s “…at leisure…,” Jessa Calderon’s “Before the Noise,” Primera Generación Dance Colletive’s “low riting”
Oh, the places we have been
With support from three theaters, The Wallis and The Soraya in SoCal and The Harris in Chicago, Jacob Jonas The Company worked with more than 150 artists all over the globe to produce short dance films for the series, Films.Dance. Just as vaccination and pandemic restrictions start to allow travel, the 15-week dance film world tour that began in January concluded earlier this month with Emma Rosenzweig-Bock in a film co-directed by Jonas and Ireland-based Kevin McGloughlin. It joins the other 14 short films still viewable at Films.Dance.
Online Dance Classes
Pandemic exhaustion? Post-pandemic fitness promise? Get thee to a dance class!
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. LA Dance Chronicle.
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.
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