Less than ten years old and named “The company of the future” by the Joyce Theater Foundation, BODYTRAFFIC is already at the top of their game. Artistic Directors and Co-Founders Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett made a choice early on not to run the company in the traditional way, singularly imposing their own choreographic vision from the top down. Instead, BODYTRAFFIC successfully engages leading edge, internationally known choreographers to set works that then become part of the company’s repertoire – talents like Hofesch Schechter, Victor Quijada, and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham amongst others. It was a smart move that garnered the company a lot of notice out of the gate, but only because they were more than capable of delivering the goods. Their success has been instrumental in representing the warm culture of LA and helping put it rightly on the dance map. I am honored to have been included amongst their commissioned choreographers.
Having performed to accolades at the Joyce Theater in New York, BODYTRAFFIC continues to tour and play to sold out audiences around the world. Last year the company was selected by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the State Department to represent the United States, sending them to Israel and Jordan where they facilitated exchange and taught workshops and classes on communication through dance. In September, BODYTRAFFIC performed at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Ludovic Morlot, conductor) along with other prominent Los Angeles dance companies, bringing to life the works of three outstanding Los Angeles composers, Schoenberg, Wohl and Salonen in a completely unprecedented evening of dance for the venue. This upcoming week the company is once again on home turf at the Broad Stage with performances featuring all new works.
I had a chance to ask Lillian Barbeito what excited her about these upcoming performances:
“I am ecstatic for BODYTRAFFIC’s run at The Broad Stage this weekend. This will be our third engagement at The Broad, which is an ideal venue for dance that feels like home. And we are showing all new work. The first piece on the program is 3 Preludes choreographed by Richard Siegal. It’s special for us because its sultry blues and brilliant syncopations will be played live by celebrated pianist Inna Faliks. The second piece on the program is a preview of Private Games: Chapter One, choreographed by Anton Lachky. It is unanimously, without question, the hardest piece that any of our company members have ever danced. Apropos for gearing up for Halloween, the work has high-octane movement and haunting imagery. We are eager to receive feedback from our local audience before BODYTRAFFIC premieres the work at The Joyce Theater in January.
The third and final piece on the program is the World Premiere of Death Defying Dances choreographed by Arthur Pita, who is considered the David Lynch of dance and known for his work with the Royal Ballet. The work is a tribute to singer/song writer Judy Henske, “The Queen of the Beatniks.” BODYTRAFFIC was fortunate enough to meet and visit with Judy during the creation and is deeply honored that she will attend the unveiling of this work in Santa Monica. With vivacious set and costume design by Yann Seabra, Death Defying Dances is poetic and heart wrenching; it’s about loving too much.”
While the company has a beautiful performance trailer to accompany their engagement, I love seeing companies in the rehearsal process. If the trailer below, directed and edited by long time company member (and talented filmmaker in his own right) Guzman Rosado, is any indication, it looks to be a pretty raw and uncompromising performance. And I mean this in the best way possible. Go and enjoy.
You can see BODYTRAFFIC at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica October 27 -29 at 7:30 pm. For tickets and info go to: www.thebroadstage.com or call 310.434.3200.
Photos by Joshua Sugiyama