What an amazing dance weekend it was a few days ago in Los Angeles. On Friday night, I went Downtown to see the Australian Ballet at the Music Center. On Saturday evening I was over on the Westside to see Laura Karlin's impressive Invertigo Dance Theatre at the Odyssey and then on Sunday afternoon, I was over in Santa Monica for a lovely Ate9 performance at the New Roads School.
Australian Ballet ---- Did anyone else totally agree with the LA times review by Lewis Segal, in that Graeme Murphy's remake of Swan Lake wasn't about the swans representing "a poetic, supernatural fantasy but, rather, a symptom of mental illness — a deranged hallucination...." In Fact, in Act II, Scene I, the Santorium, I was reminded of American Horror Story: Asylum (Think Season 2). I still enjoyed the performance however. Some dance aficionados may call it "Blockbuster Ballet" but the Australian Ballet's Swan Lake was certainly worth seeing. The production aspects of the work definitely added a modern feel to the classic work and that's what I really enjoyed about this performance. I wondered however if the children in the audience understood what was going on during the dark moments of the evening's work. From the get go, I walked into the music center with a high expectation of artistic excellence and the Australian Ballet met my expectation. With such a large lavish production like this, one can generally have an idea about what will be presented on the stage.
On the stage at the Odyssey on Saturday night, I saw so many creative ideas and an artistically strong dance theatre company. Invertigo's After it Happened made me think about my relationship to the environment and personal space. There were 3 moments in the work that really caught my attention. The first being how Laura incorporated the musical artists into the work. Unlike, the Swan Lake production, also with live music, Invertigo's musical artists weren't secondary to the work on the stage. Another fresh aspect of the work was a bathtub solo by Cody Wilbourn. I felt a little voureystic and uncomfortable watching the solo because bathing is such a personal and private thing but it made me realize my views on the personal and private that I didn't know I had.... Speaking of the personal, I ran into an old colleague of mine from my days at Dance/USA. Julie Carson was in the house that evening. Julie was the administrator of DUSA's Irvine Dance in California program several years ago. She was there supporting her students from Culver City high during the pre-performance piece. It was a nice touch how Laura incorporated a youth performance prior to the show. This is important on so many levels because not only did the pre-performance show allow young artists to be exposed to professional settings but it also increased accessibility to the arts on so many levels. The work also presented some unique lighting design elements. At one point there was a trio of artists on the stage and two of the 3 artists were using a small light to spotlight the one dancing artist. This moment was very pleasing to my eye. The performance Run of After it Happened still has one more weekend. Click here to get your tickets.
And finally, my weekend rounded out with Ate9. I first heard of Ate9 via word-of-mouth about a year ago and on Sunday, the company performed Mouth to Mouth. The 40 min piece was performed with so much grit and like the last performance I saw by Ate9, the artists and choreography was amazing. I had a moment to chat with a friend post-performance and I got to think what it is about the company that I like so much. Obviously, I like Ate9 because of the artistry and Gaga technique but beyond that, I realize that I'm a fan because the work gives me a glimpse into a different culture and I’m able to learn more about Israeli life. Was the inspiration of Mouth to Mouth based on Sukkot we asked ourselves? The 7 day Jewish holiday that happened to end just yesterday? Hmm… Im curious to know more about this and do some research on my own and see where that takes me next. Till then, Ill be on the lookout to spot more dance around town.