Tag Archives: the body is beautiful

From the Center: Delfos Danza Contemporanea–Royce Hall April 14, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

The Body is Beautiful. Get Used to It.

For one final time in the 2014-2015 we will rally around this idea as the impeccable dancers from Delfos Danza Contemporanea take the stage. Tonight they invite us to examine the masks we wear when looking at one another, at the world or even at ourselves.
Art in all its possibilities, permutations and reverberations can varyingly strip away a disguise, reveal new or forgotten truths, or grant us with a perfect costume that somehow serves the same purpose.

The body itself can be both a disguise and an unveiling, as it glides and stretches into new shapes, new possibilities.

The performers we welcome here tonight are unmasked and open, willing to share themselves, the beauty of their individual bodies, the stories and ideas and heritage embedded into each line, each syllable of movement. Cuando los Disfraces se Cuelgan (When the Disguises Are Hung Up) is a reflection on appearances, the loss and rediscovery of the self, told through a performance that combines multimedia and dance. You’ll find the lyrical aesthetic marked by intense physicality.

Delfos is one of the leading companies in Latin America, and one of the artistic imperatives of all involved is to see their vision as Mexicans transcend the local and connect with the universal from a humanist, ethical, political and social standpoint.

They are led by two incredible co-artistic directors Claudia Lavista and Víctor Manuel Ruiz who are committed to the ongoing exploration of possibility and purpose that is inherent in dance forms.

We count ourselves fortunate to have them with us tonight.
Thank you for being here.

 

From the Center: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion Royce Hall Feb 12-13, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes.

Inspiration comes in many forms. As often as it seemingly arrives unbidden or unexpected it also can thoughtfully manifest from a deep well of understanding, of artistry, of commitment to craft and integrity of purpose.

You’ll read more in these pages about Kyle Abraham’s profound inspiration for the two new works we are extremely proud to debut in Los Angeles this weekend. Working with Kyle has been inspirational. We greet him here at an incredibly potent point in his arc as an artist and collaborative visionary. His voice is strong and true and sings out phrases and ideas that deserve to be remembered, pondered, spoken, sung, writ large and flung into the world in motion.

Abraham is indeed in motion. And we are all fortunate to be moving alongside him, to be able to grasp this moment in which we can align ourselves with his ideas and inspirations and instigations and ongoing evolution. In particular this weekend’s performance of The Watershed is a creative achievement. Kyle says the piece has continued to change and evolve since its premiere in New York this past September. And now, here in Los Angeles, it has come to its fullest expression. He’s pleased and excited, and so are we.

And hopefully, so are you.

Tonight is about motion and emotion. About taking an idea and setting it on a course of expression. About bringing ourselves to a space of understanding and experience and setting ourselves on a (potentially new) course of thought. It’s a powerful thing to thoughtfully rally around issues that evoke emotions similar to the times when Max Roach was writing his seminal “Freedom Now” suite. Those issues and emotions are obviously still with us today. The art of performance unleashes a certain kind of articulation that allows us to simultaneously embody these emotions and also
to free them to weave new spells on our psyche, our culture and our dreams for a better world.

Thank you for being in motion with us tonight. Thank you for dreaming with us.

Thank you for helping us welcome Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion.

Little Explosions

“I’m very excessive. I move and move and move.”

Louise Lecavalier told us this with a laugh this during her post-performance Q&A January 16.

We had just witnessed this fact for ourselves as we watched her perform So Blue–half solo/half duet and all energy. It was only her second performance in the states in 20 years.  The first was in 2011 at Jacob’s pillow performing “A Few Minutes of Locke,” recalling her past iconic days as lead dancer for La La La Human Steps.

That’s not nearly enough Louise for us, nor obviously for the rapt audience who attended her performance and stayed after to hear the incredible performer talk about So Blue, her first piece of choreography in its U.S. debut.

Like onstage, she held nothing back, talking about the curiosities and challenges she encountered as she developed the work, learning quickly that it would be “too stressful to improvise an entire performance on stage”—which was an early idea.

She talked about the evolution of the work to include her solo element and then add a partner Frédéric Tavernini whose  energy she describes as much calmer than her own, which made them an excellent match for the piece.

There is an intensity to Louise as performer that belies her delightful rapid-fire and playfully lighthearted spoken demeanor, accentuated by a lilting Québécois accent. She often looks directly at the audience when she dances. “I like to address people,”she said.

She begins So Blue by sitting on stage in warm up clothes, observing the audience enter, creating a sort of “backstage moment” as the audience “enters my world,” she said. “I like this moment very much,” she said. “It’s very precious.”

And then she begins, her body, and movement as she described it, and as we certainly witnessed) is full of “little explosions” of sometimes wild repetitive movements that seems to burst forth from her form, simultaneously propelling her along and yet somehow also perfectly at her command.

At one point, the explosions stop completely and Louise, facing the audience, languidly draws her legs into the air for an extended headstand. It is completely silent except for the sound of her breathing. I felt my own heart rate pace itself to the heavy rise and fall of her rib cage.

Someone asked how she keeps such strength and calm during that epic headstand.

“Well,” she said. “It’s…..practice,” drawing laughter and laughing herself.

“In this moment, this calm happens,” she continued. “Although I am very tired, the calm always happens. I don’t know if I am making it happen or the audience is, but I am suspended in it”

An incredibly generous artist, Louise wrought a ripple of little explosions in the UCLA community during her time here. She worked with a groups of dance students in master class and inspired a large class of non-arts majors in a lecture-workshop that invited them to move their own bodies.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this rare U.S. appearance from this extraordinary performer. Hopefully we will see much more of her in the future.

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