Allyssa Bross, Prinicpal Dancer with Los Angeles Ballet, and I attended the Center for Art and Performance's evening of Lucy Guerin Weather last week. Here are her thoughts about the fantastic performance. Isn't it so refreshing to hear one artist talk about another artist's work? Shout out to H-Art Management and CAP staff for bringing a great company our way. Also, don't forget to check out Allyssa's Blog. Enjoy!
A gasp spread across the audience in Royce Hall on Friday night, as a display of paper bags fell onto the stage. The North American tour of Lucy Guerin Inc, a dance company established in Melbourne, Australia in 2002, started off with a performance that had Angelenos on their feet. The athleticism of the dancers, and the unique concepts behind Lucy Guerin's choreography, make this a show worth seeing.
Have you ever felt sad for no obvious reason, and blamed your emotions on the fact that it was gloomy outside? Has a sunny day ever made you feel more energetic, and alive? Often times one's emotions correlate with the condition in the atmosphere. Guerin plays with this concept in her piece titled, "Weather". The dancers' bodies reflect the same type of movement that would often be associated with gusts of wind, or water. There is an invisible force that drives every movement. The constant changes in weather patterns, are displayed in the unpredictable movement and sporadic changes of speed. Dancers walking in simple patterns are thrown into a disarray as another dancer runs rapidly by. One can see a balance is tried to be reached again, only to be disrupted by more movement coming from another direction on the stage. I couldn't help but think that the movement was not only reflecting the weather, but also demonstrating our emotional imbalance as humans. The enthusiasm ebbed half way through, as the dancers mulled around the stage to the monotonous beat in the music by Oren Ambarchi. The enormous display of plastic bags falling from the rafters, definitely woke the audience up. There was a silence on the stage that followed the gasp, almost like the calm after a thunderstorm. They then became a part of the performance, being picked up by the artists, shuffled around, and tossed into the air.
Plastic bags were an interesting choice for a prop, but Ms. Guerin managed to show the damaging effect that this object has on our environment, and still make it seem like a beautiful part of the set. At one point, a bag is wrapped around a dancer's head and there is a struggle for air. Whether this was meant to show the danger of plastic to our society, or the struggles we are fighting every day to find peace, the point was made.
Sometimes modern can be so physical that it falls out of the category of an art and is more like a sport. "Weather" had a great balance of athleticism while still keeping the aesthetic of an art form. The show was approximately 60 minutes and the dancers kept moving almost the entire time. Their heavy breathing became a part of their movement in symbolizing sounds of wind. The limits of technique were tested when the dancers threw their bodies into off balance positions, but maintained control of their movement. The artist that stood out the most, was the male dancer who started the show off completely embodying wind. He not only showed it in his dancing, but also with the noises that were coming from his mouth. His movement was so fluid it seemed as if he had no bones, but yet there was a weight behind everything he did. He matched power and grace.
Hopping off the plane, having to cancel a show due to visa issues, only having a day to rehearse in a foreign country's theater, and delivering a performance to a new audience, were all factors that proved the professionalism of this Australian company. Lucy Guerin Inc. continues their North American tour on October 9, in San Diego. This is a very unique and inspiring show that is worth checking out!
Allyssa Bross, born and raised in Charlotte, started her ballet training at North Carolina Dance Theatre under the direction of Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. At the age of 16 she was accepted into the School of American Ballet's winter term. While at SAB, Allyssa had the chance to dance with New York City Ballet's corps de ballet in Balanchine's Nutcracker. She also worked with several choreographers including Darius Barnes, Robert Fairchild, and Matthew Renko. After finishing high school, Allyssa accepted a contract with the Los Angeles Ballet. Within her first year there, she was promoted to the company's first ever principle dancer. Allyssa has been leading lady in Thordal Christensen's World Premiers of Swan Lake and Giselle, as well as numerous Balanchine ballets. She has worked with acclaimed choreographers, Stacey Tookey and Sonya Tayeh, and been featured on several Television commercials and shows. Along with dancing, Allyssa teaches dance classes at the Los Angeles Ballet School. Watch for Allyssa in Los Angeles Ballet's upcoming season and follow her new blog allyssabross.blogspot.com.