Appearing at the beautiful MiModDa Dance Theater on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, C. Eule Dance made its west coast debut in Summer Soirée: An Evening of Dance and Live Music. C. Eule Dance relocated to Los Angeles in 2014 after being based in New York City for 13 years.
Nestled in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Jacob’s Pillow is one for the most respected dance festivals in America. It was founded by Ted Shawn in the 1940s and has been going strong ever since. Clive Barnes of the New York Times wrote “Shawn did not merely enrich American dance – He was one of the people who created it.” Each year hundreds of dancers from all over the world travel there to study dance and to see major dance companies perform; often premiering new works.
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg is concluding their tour of North America with performances of “Up and Down” (Segerstrom Center for the Arts last week) and “Rodin” in three performances this week at the Los Angeles Music Center. “Up and Down” is an American jazz age story. It was originally based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “Tender is the Night”. Of the two, “Rodin” (2011) makes a better impression both for its music (a more or less unified assemblage of French music by Ravel, Satie, and others roughly contemporaneous with the life of the sculptor himself) but also for a more clearly articulated storyline. “Up and Down” draws on excerpted music from wildly disparate sources such as Gershwin, Alban Berg, and Schubert. “Rodin” still looks like dance. “Up and Down”, though charged with the same outsized attention to theatrically and staging, felt overwhelmed by Mr. Eifman’s brand of expressionistic movement and mime. The dancing seemed aimed at creating novel effects rather than an honest communication of intimate details.
Labels are an often used but unfortunate barrier in the art world. Minimalism is one that has been regularly applied to concert music, dance, and opera, but it tends to put any work in a box. Lucinda Childs and John Adams, the principal collaborators for “Available Light” fall into this category. But by the time Childs’ revival of her “Available Light” concluded on Saturday evening at Disney Hall the label seemed mostly irrelevant.
The Los Angeles Ballet is approaching its 10th year and ended this season with three master works by choreographers George Balanchine, José Limón and Jiři Kylián. The company has grown since making its Los Angeles debut, and the dancers have become stronger; a testament to Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary. This reviewer hopes that in the near future the company will be able to afford live music for its productions; especially for the more classical ballets. This, of course, speaks to the issue of the need for more local support in Los Angeles for its artists and dance companies. I would also like to see the Los Angeles Ballet produce the works of more current and, dare I say, local choreographers.