Is This How a Marathon Feels?
Danced greeting cards, rooftop ballet, reprise of an aftermath, pandemic yearbook in film, week 8 of global dance films, plus new dance films, online encores, where to submit dance videos, where to take online dance classes, and more SoCal dance this week.
Has it really been a year?
Among those marking a year without live dance performances, choreographer/producer Deborah Brockus and her BrockusRED dance company has assembled a program of dance films contemplating the present, the past year, and history. The films join the company’s efforts including Drive-By Dance performances, helping with food banks, online lessons and workshops. Info at BrockusRED. Streaming starts Thurs., March 11, noon to Sun., March 14, midnight. Free access with reservation at the site.
Getting in a groove
While Los Angeles Ballet isn’t back in theaters, its dancers are popping up in new ventures like Freaks with Lines and now LA Grooves, a collective whose membership closely tracks the LAB dance roster. This virtual performance of new choreography from six female choreographers was filmed on a downtown rooftop. Titled A Love Letter to LA, this event follows up their debut program Nutcracker Sweets this past December which can still be rented. Performance Sat., March 13, 5 p.m. PST. $12. Info and tickets at LA Grooves.
If this is Monday, where are we this week?
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 dance films for the series, Films.Dance. Pandemic restrictions still precludes travel but for 15 weeks that started January 25, a new film takes viewers to a different world destination each Monday until May 3. The films screen for free. Week 8 heads to NYC’s East Park Amphitheater where New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns dances in ANOTHER SERIOUS DANCE FILM. The new addition joins Dadu set in the Dutch hamlet of Spaarnwoude, 正念 – NOW with BeijingDance/LDTX company dancer Li Kehua (Lico), Edging Normal with dancer Desmond Richardson in New York, Match bringing five choreographers and 46 dancers drawn from 20 countries in a scene-shifting world tour, Pássaro Distante from Brasil, Toke spotlighting Danish-born dancer Toke Broni Strandby in London locales, and Kaduna filmed in Nigeria. Mon., 9 a.m., free. New additions each Monday to May 3. Info on the full line-up of 15 films and free subscriptions at Films.Dance, The Wallis, The Soraya.
A good thing going away
What started as a one-time response to Mother’s Day last spring was so successful, Invertigo Dance Theatre extended its Digital Dance Care Packages after inquiries for something similar for graduations, birthdays or just an expression of caring in the isolated quarantine of the pandemic. Created by Invertigo dancers with the choreography inspired by three or four prompts, the trove of 90 short films have been assembled into a four-part, micro film festival series dubbed Care Package Cinema which concludes this week. A highlight in this finale, Holiday Special is a delightful couch-centered Father’s Day tribute. Details at Invertigo Dance. Mar., 10, 7 p.m., free with reservation. Eventbrite.
Is there a sequel
Originally staged in 2016 to sold out audiences, Invertigo Dance Theatre’s After It Happened receives a timely encore presentation. Set in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the work considers how a community rebuilds and scavenges for signs of hope and resilience. When originally presented, the work suggested a natural disaster, maybe an earthquake or flood. A pandemic that has snatched a half million Americans and millions more around the world was not in the thinking. With the current tragedy front and center, not over, but maybe headed toward containment, After It Happened offers a thoughtful consideration through dance that suggests ways to create and build a new normal. The performance gains an additional component of a physical reality from the hillside stage of the open-air Ford Theater where it was filmed. Available as part of its online showcase of prior SoCal dance performances at this beloved venue. Thurs., March 11, 6:30 p.m. PST. Free with reservation at The Ford or Invertigo Dance Theatre.
Dancin’ around LA
In the absence of touring companies inside its theaters, the Music Center is giving a little love and attention to LA’s dance companies as part of the series For The Love Of L.A. filmed in different parts of the city. A recent addition offers Kyoko Takenaka’s martial arts-infused movement. She joins Brianna Mims performing in Leimert Park, Versa-Style Dance Company‘s street dancers at the beach, folkloric troupe Pacifico Dance Company at nine different locations representing different areas of Mexico, the tap group Syncopated Ladies on a downtown rooftop, Rangoli Dance Company celebrating a South Asian goddess, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater with Flamenco fusion duet, and Pat Taylor’s Jazz Antiqua Dance & Music Ensemble in parks, alleys, and an empty business street. Free online at Music Center.
Drawing its title and subject matter from Clint Smith’s poem How to Raise a Son, the poet gives voice to his words as the camera follows dancer Dennzyl Green. A current member of the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, Green performs and shares choreography credit with Brodie. The film is the latest contribution from NBDT and the South Coast Dance Alliance. Free online on Vimeo.
Finding a new platform
Choreographer Shenendoah Harris and her contemporary troupe Psychopomp have taken up residence on Patreon, a platform where supporters can join at four different levels, each with its own set of perks including a variety of classes and invitations to rehearsals. Those joining at the top two tiers before March 12 get an invitation for the Sat., March 13 screening of Sylkies plus the artist Q & A. https://www.patreon.com/psychopompdance
Last chance for romance
The young contemporary company Freaks With Lines streams Trilogy of Relations, three pas de deux with observations on three different types of love. Hannah Keene with AJ Abrams, Sadie Black and Ottavio Taddei and creative director/choreographer Susan Vishmid paired with Adam Bloodgood, portray the three couples. Since the premiere on Valentine’s Day access is available to March 16. $17.95-$24.95. https://linktr.ee/FWL
Taking to the air(waves)
The SoCal contemporary ballet and aerial company Luminario Ballet has posted links to recent performances and also announced it has a new dance film coming sooon. The films are free at https://luminarioballet.org/,
Over the past year, choreographer Melissa Barak and her contemporary Barak Ballet shifted online several fine filmed performances, a virtual gala, and its own instagram channel. Some of the films are free at https://barakballet.org/and https://www.instagram.com/barakballet/
A show of force
One of the most powerful filmed efforts from last year remains This is Me – Letters from the Front Lines from Diavolo Architecture in Motion and its Veterans Project. The film’s insights remain painfully true as military veterans who now are first responders confront what it means to be a warrior on the front lines of a pandemic as they gymnastically inhabit a world of pipes and moving structures while articulating the personal and professional realities of being on the front line of Covid-19. https://www.diavolo.org/thisismefilm
Locking it up
Early in the pandemic, the street dance troupe Versa-Style Dance Company displayed a natural affinity to online streaming of performances and classes. The most recent film, Ending The Year With Hope, continues online and the company has a video filmed at the beach as part of the Music Center’s For the Love of LA series. The company’s YouTube channel hosts performance videos and videos on a range of life-skills subjects geared to young adults, but with pointers for all ages. Info at https://versastyledance.org/. Videos on YouTube and https://versastyledance.org/media/
Performances by Santa Monica College’s two resident companies, Synapse Contemporary Dance Theater and Global Motion World Dance Company, stream for free at SMC.
The past comes present
While the theatre itself remains closed, the Ford continues several online series showcasing past dance and music performances. The array of local dance companies in the line up reflects how the beloved al fresco venue functioned as an informal summer dance festival showcasing the energy and diversity in SoCal dance. Look for contemporary from Lula Washington Dance Theatre, street dance from Versa-Style Dance, Brazilian from Viver Brasil, plus traditional and contemporary folkloric dance from Grandeza Mexicano Folk Ballet Company, Pacifico Dance Company, the LA Phil’s exploration of Tovaangar Today with dancer Ba’ac Garcia, and contemporary South Asian, Bollywood and Bhangra dance from Achinta S. McDaniel and her Blue13. All free. Complete calendar and information at The Ford.
An international dozen
A dozen dancers working remotely from three continents developed a series of short videos presented by Nancy Evans Dance Theatre under the banner The Channels. The company also added a new installment of Figures of Speech, new dance works inspired by literature. Free at Nancy Evans Dance Theatre
The pandemic caught Pasadena’s Lineage Dance Company in the midst of construction of its new Lineage Performing Arts Center as well as figuring out how to offer classes and performance in a pandemic. The construction is finished and the dance company has scored with several videos including its most recent staged in Pasadena’s iconic Gamble House. Videos free online at Lineage.
Unexpected curriculum addition
The dance department at Cal State University Long Beach is among those shifting online videos to new dance channels on You Tube while also streaming two performances with dancers observing strict Covid-19 protocols. Those performances and more are free at https://www.youtube.com/user/CSULBDance
Alone with others watching
Not content to simply be online with filmed dance, the site specific performance ensemble Heidi Duckler Dance launched its 35th anniversary with live walk-up or drive performances at sites throughout L.A. An array of projects can be found at https://heididuckler.org and films at https://heididuckler.org/reelsfilms/.
The movement and the music
Choreographer Pat Taylor’s work for her JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble ranges from pure celebration of the music to thoughtful considerations of the fight against racism and injustice. Videos stream for free at. http://www.jazzantiqua.org/javideoclips.html and https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jazz+antiqua+dance+ensemble
Silver screen shifting
The year of the pandemic has brought several filmed dance ventures and a recent change of leadership for LA Contemporary Dance Company. The films plus info on the new artistic director, classes, and other activities at their website.
Feel like screaming?
Its award-winning film Screaming Shapes! is just one of several videos from choreographer Sophia and the dancers of Iris Company continuing for free online at. Iris Company.
With a new weekly online broadcast of a past performance, classes, workshops, and conversations, Viver Brasil was among the earliest LA dance companies to shift online and continues as one of the most active with videos, classes, workshops and more. https://www.viverbrasil.com/covid19-update The troupe also is part of KCET’s Southland Sessions streaming at KCET.
Is it a question?
During the initial Covid–19 shutdown, 15 dancemakers created 90-second solos reflecting the range of reactions to the shelter-in-place order last spring. All 15 are collected in Emily Mast and Yehuda Duenyas’ project HOW ARE WE . Stream for free on Vimeo.
More in the lunchbox
Live streamed performances continue intermittently but REDCAT’s instagram channel offers a collection of prior dance performances including Genna Moroni, Tzong-Han Wu, and Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. Free at Instagram Channel.
The Music Center Offstage continues to stream new and encore video clips and performances. Visitors include Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, local troupes include Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, and Infinite Flow. https://www.musiccenter.org/tmc-offstage/.
When one was not enough
Last June’s four-part BlakTinx Dance Festival presented choreography from 20 Black and Latino dancemakers. All four programs continue for free online at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYY0tD7m1o6IY3H8V7YbjIw
Knock twice & tell them Jacob sent you
One of the first SoCal companies to offer a live performance in a parking lot, Jacob Jonas and his eponymous Jacob Jonas The Company performed Parked with vehicles encircling the “stage,” their headlights illuminating the socially spaced dancers performing to live music by Anibal Sandoval. A short film documenting the one-night only event continues to stream.Info at http://jacobjonas.com/. Film on Vimeo.
Live music, virtual dance
Dance continues to be part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 20-21 online season, including dancer/choreographer Shauna Davis in the premiere of composer/musician Derrick Spiva Jr.’s two part work Mind The Rhythm. LACO’s music director Jaime Martin conducts. Link to free performance at https://www.laco.org/close-quarters/
Dance just can’t quit them
Part panel discussion, part video clips and photos, part cross pollination of ideas–the Musco Center’s Ever a Dancer surveys different dance worlds in a livestreamed format. This installment assembles a quartet of familiar faces who contribute Asian and South Asian viewpoints to the discussion including Tomas Tamayo, Hiroko Hojo, Dulce Capadocia, and Malathi Iyengar. Free with registration and more info at the Musco Center.
Platforms to Submit Video Dance
With cautions about staying safe while filming, organizers Sarah Elgart and Cultural Weekly announced round 4 of Dare to Dance in Public with the theme of Pandemania, meaning a hyper energized state. Info on the judges, prior winners, plus rules and regulations for submission at Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival. The group’s other film endeavor Six Foot Dances is still accepting one-minute films. Current submissions on Dare to Dance in Public.
Online Dance Classes
Pandemic exhaustion? 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.