LA CONTEMPORARY DANCE PROJECT - FORCE MAJEURE A Guest Post by Ashlee Blosser

by Spot LA


 Photo Credit Ruben Contreras

Photo Credit Ruben Contreras

Atwater Village Theatre's small, intimate black box theatre, overfilled with audience members Nov. 11 for LA contemporary Dance Company's world premiere of their fall repertory concert, "FORCE MAJEURE."  The room was foggy with mysterious down pools of light illuminating the stage.  With a sold out show audience members had to resort to sitting on the stairs, standing, or crouching by the seats.  Out of courtesy to older audience members, I gave my seat away and joined those crouching by seats.

As time went on the theatre became more crammed with excitement bubbling to the ceiling.  Announcers took the floor to welcome the guest and and asked everyone to squeeze in tight na get cozy.  This allowed for an opening on the stairs, which I was grateful for because my legs were falling asleep.

LACDC's Fall Repertory Concert, "FORCE MAJEURE," featured new works by LA choreographers Christian Denice, Micaela Taylor, and Artistic Director Genevieve Carson.  The company also welcomed NY choreographer Gregory Dolbashian, along with LA composer Robert Amjarv whose original music was featured in this premiere.  

"EBBA" choreographed by Genevieve Carson opened the concert with a driving beat originally composed by Robert Amjarv.  Immediately the audience was immersed into a world of stron, dynamic women whose physicality was almost primal.. Carson's choreography was powerfully unstable as the performers were united but individual.

"EBBA" was an intimate, bold, and unapologetic investigation of hte many layers that exist in the psyche of girls and women, and how they can ultimately find strength and ownership in that.  The performers took the audience on a journey through feeling alone, criticized, violated, and vulnerable.

During the final atmosphere change the women guided each other through parterning and unison of sustained, gestural movement, released spirals and sporadic breakouts.  "EBBA," a work in progress, did feel unfinished, but left me eater to see the full product in the future.

Choreographer Gregory Dolbashian debuted a quartet in "Beautyfear," who set an enviornment with pulsing music and an essence of struggle.  Focusing on four character in the didst of discover, Beautyfear" explores the moment of realization in a person's life where they come face to face with the habits and behaviors that stand in the way of their progress.

The quartet flowed through manipulated, arching movement, and moved in and out of static and momentous moments.  Dolbashian's use of mirroring, progression, and regression was successful as the performers were hypnotized and burdened by one another.  "Beautyfear" ended like a gust of wind without any resolution, which speaks to the truth of how old habits die hard.

When asking fellow audience members katelyn Black and Ana Cardenas about the concert, they had a difficult time finding words to describe their admiration for LACDC's performance.

"If you could get our [opinion] physically it would be great," laughs Cardenas as her and Black squirmed and fidgeted from excitement and astoundment.

"It was beautiful.  I loved it," continues Black.  "Even during the five-minute break I couldn't talk because I was so taken aback at how beautiful it was."

Staticky, buzzing music revealed another quartet in "Sporty" choreographed by Micaela Taylor.  Decked out in all white attire the performers had dynamic timing with pulsing, staccato movement.  Their determined focus was constant throughout the sudden environment changes.

"Sporty," was a loot at a group of hip, young millennials fighting to stay relevant in a society defined by quickly changing trends.  Through back and core initiation the dancers executed chunky, sequential movement.  Never breaking character the performers ended on a strong, dramatic note.

Closing the show Christian Denice's "Delicate Skins" captivated the audience with the performer's tactility and full embodiment.  The performers explored the sensations of touch, intimacy, and sensitivity within the physical and emotional realms.  Witnessing each other as they itched with sensory overload, the performers seamlessly transitioned from individual moments to momentous, trusting partner work.

"Touch and connectivity were very important [themes] and the driving force to f the piece," says Denice.  "I wanted to remain authentic from the beginning with natural responses to touch and connectivity and speaking to the vulnerability of connecting to someone.  [the piece] also speaks to the painful process of bringing yourself back to that point after you've closed yourself off again."

Each dancer had a purpose with each partner interchange and every unpredictable redirection.  The performers were breathtaking with their expressive limbs and expanding spance throughout their bodies.

Denice's use of repetition was successful as the dancers molded, felt, and manipulated a male soloist.  With his heart on his sleeve, the male soloist ended "Delicate Skins" by removing his shirt and baring himself physically and emotionally to the ensemble and audience.

Concluding the show Carson, the performers and Denice gave their gratitude to the audience with a humbling bow and introduction of names.  Carson thanked the audience and the art donors for all they do for LACDC.

 Photo Credit Ruben Contreras

Photo Credit Ruben Contreras

"FORCE MAJEURE" won the admiration for the Friday night audience as they stormed the performance space to engage with Carson, Denice, and the performers.  As I walked around Atwater Village Theatre's courtyard, I observed applause, engrossing conversations and congratulatory embraces.    

"The fluidity of the dancers was encapsulating." says audience member Megan Seagren.  "The way that [the performers] moved and their transition were enthralling to me."

After this past week of the aftermath of the presidential election results, it was refreshing to witness the unity, happiness, and acceptance that the LA dance community has to offer.  A striking comment of Carson's left me feeling inspired and hopeful, "We create in these empty spaces to share with you.  This is what we live for."  There is no art without humanity and those who live for it.