Perhaps a hopeful sign of life as two dance events cancelled early in the Covid–19 lockdown reopen this week in reinvented ways. Not so hopeful, scheduled events continue to be cancelled or postponed, including the cancelled debut of a new ballet collective in Orange County and Los Angeles Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty postponed to June 2021. Semi-hopeful, more announcements are for postponement, not outright cancellation. Here’s what’s happening in SoCal dance this week.
THIS WEEK’S PERFORMANCES
On the stage, onto the screen
Coming off last year’s successful Los Angeles Dance Festival, producer/choreographer Deborah Brockus was ready with another series of shared performances throughout April that promised to again gather SoCal choreographers, dancers, and dance lovers. Then Covid–19 shut everything down and the LA Dance Festival, like so much else was cancelled. About the same time, Dance Camera West director Kelly Hargraves shifted that dance film festival online. The two have now joined forces for a new online event with some DCW films and some of the dancer/choreographers scheduled for LADF. Under the banner: Off the Stage & Onto the Screen, what would have been live stage performances have been recrafted and at the same time documented. Hargraves selected six films while Brockus chose five works performed by Raymond Ejofor, Julienne Mackey, Olivia Perez, Charlotte Smith, and Hailey Transue, with those five shown in both stage and film format. Funded in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, access is free for the seven-day run. More info at https://ladancefest.org/ and http://www.dancecamerawest.org/. Tues.-Tues., June 23–30, 12 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. PDT., free. Access at Eventbrite
Live! In the park!
Most of the site-specific events from Heidi Duckler Dance are one time only. An exception is the intermittently recurring series Ebb & Flow focused on climate change and its environmental impacts to the great outdoors. Prior editions involved live performance and interactive events centered on a signature oversized fish sculpture at a scenic Baldwin Hills overlook and downtown’s Chinatown. With the gradual reopening underway, the fourth edition of the festival returns with inventive live programming and virtual exhibits for Ebb & Flow: Chinatown 2020 incorporating Covid–19 health concerns. With the cooperation of the LA State Historica Park, the festival will encourage visitors to come to the park and enjoy the interactive installations in a self-guided, socially distant experience. In the park section designated “Ebb” visitors explore five static artworks representing the earth’s elements. With help from an “augmented reality app,” those static images come to life as HDD dancers Himerria Wortham, Keva Walker, Heidi Duckler, Lenin Fernandez, and Luke Dakota Zender perform. The “Flow” section of the park is devoted to Collateral Damage, an immersive installation from Snezana Petrovic. The show runs for four days and is free thanks to City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs funding. Info at https://heididuckler.org/. Event at Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., downtown; Sat.-Tues., June 27–30, 8am–7pm., free. Reservation at Eventbrite.
In other HDD activities: Duckler released a new, five-minute video drawn from the live performance of The Chandelier based on a work by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector about a woman experiencing isolation and trying to connect. Choreographed by Duckler, the performers include Himerria Wortham, Rafael Quintas, Myles Lavallee, Nicole Flores, Maureen Asic, Magdalena Edwards, Jessica Emmanuel, Jaeme Velez, David Guerra, and Paula Rebelo. Vimeo. Video of the full zoomed performance is also on Vimeo.
Not Happening…for now
Skylar Campbell Dance Collective brought together dancers from National Ballet of Canada, New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet. The scheduled debut this week was cancelled when the venue on the UC Irvine campus closed, Campbell promises streamed studio performances and the official debut in 2021. Info at https://skylarcampbelldancecollective.org. Cancelled.
Los Angeles Ballet Sleeping Beauty at The Alex, Glendale; Sat., June 27. Postponed to June 2021.
SoCal Encore Streaming
Barak Ballet. The scheduled premiere of choreographer Melissa Barak’s first full length contemporary ballet Memoryhouse was cancelled when the statewide coronavirus shutdown orders closed Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. On what would have been the closing night, Barak Ballet instead went online with the premiere of Breathe In, a short ballet filmed at the grounds at the Holocaust Museum in what formerly was known as Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax district. The film features Peter Chursin with Andrew Brader, Lucia Connolly, Jessica Gadzinski, Chasen Greenwood, and Stephanie Kim, with choreography by Barak. Also, there’s an opportunity to sign up for the company’s new YouTube channel. Info at https://barakballet.org/. Streaming on Facebook.
Paying tribute to Don Campbellock, the creator of the Locking dance style, the street dance troupe Versa Style and its youth organization Versa-Style Next Generation unveil Finding Creativity and Fun in Our Personal Space. The streamed performance gets help from musician Cody “CoFlo” Ferreira’s Playground Samba. YouTube, Facebook: @versastylela, YouTube: @versastylela. Info at http://versastyledance.org/events/.
After Covid–19 shelter at home caused cancellation, the Orange County Dance Festival was among the first to shift to streaming. Throughout April and May, a recorded version of the work each company or artist was scheduled to perform was streamed for three days in show order. Bonuses included company photos, artistic statements, and links to websites and social media platforms. Now the OCDF website has collected the individual events from AkomiDance, Contempo Ballet, 7th Street Dance Company, ISSA Dance Company, Animus Dance Co., Jazz Spectrum Dance Company, Emergent Dance Company, Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, Louise Reichlin & Dancers, The Hubbard Collective, Kairos Dance Co., and Fuse Dance Company. Event website.
A concentrated taste of choreographer Rosanna Gamson’s consideration of a legendary storyteller is performed on-line in Layla Means Night. Drawn from her company Rosanna Gamson/World Wide’s performance, the work is inspired by The Persian tale of Shahrzad or Scheherazade who entranced her husband and kept herself alive telling stories for 1001 nights. Vimeo.
Ballet and non-classical dance were two of the categories as the Music Center Spotlight final performance showcasing SoCal high school performers went viral last week. The performances continue to stream with this year’s high school-age ballet dancers Jacob Jovanni Alvarado from San Diego and Ashley Lew from San Juan Capistrano plus Maya Alvarez-Coyne from Santa Ana and Bergundi Loyd from Riverside in non-classical dance. The event is free, but donations to support this scholarship program are invited by texting TMCSPOTLIGHT to 44–321 or at the website https://www.musiccenter.org/spotlightfinale.
Earlier this spring, the Music Center’s annual Children’s Festival was cancelled, but its live-streamed return last week with a celebration of tap dance headlined by Dorrance Dance led by tap’s “it girl” Michelle Dorrance is still on view for a limited time. Also on view for a limited time, the family-friendly performance by Cuba’s contemporary Malpaso Dance Company. https://www.musiccenter.org/tmc-offstage/
Other Platforms to Find Video Dance and Dance Classes
Companies are streaming past performances to compensate for cancelled spring seasons, and dance videos have gained more prominence whether a thread of solo dancers tag teaming a movement sequence, dancing on the roof, the backyard or their kitchen. The popular long-running video competition Dare to Dance in Public curated by Sarah Elgart has been joined by her new challenge, Six Foot Distance Dances (details on how to submit).
Over the next few months, the Palm Springs International Dance Festival is accepting submissions for an October performance under the title MERDE! A Dance Makers Moment. Six submissions will be selected for presentation on October 23 with by the voting audience and an expert panel. The winner of the voting will be presented as part of the Festival’s gala in March 2021. No fee to apply. More details on submission.
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.