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The 3 in T3THERING represents the third annual collaboration between Rebecca Lemme, Artistic Director of Acts of Matter and Andrea Gise, Artistic Director of DANCE AEGIS. The concert at Live Arts Los Angeles also included dancers from Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company and The Assembly Dance, an Orange County based company. In addition, the evening included live music by the dynamic LA based group Stan Taylor, headed by lead singer Stan Carrizosa. Their music, which included covering songs of other artists, filled the space before, during intermission and following the concert.

DANCE AEGIS – Photo by Scott Groller

This was the premiere of Persist, choreographed by Lemme and performed powerfully by Nicholas Heitzberg, Tess Hewlett and Tiffany Sweat of LACDC. At first Persist appeared to be about a love triangle, but it soon developed into a complex and provocative statement on struggle, support and survival in this current atmosphere of injustice. Lemme’s use of duets with a single person mimicking the person being lifted or supported, helped demonstrate how interwoven our lives are. Composers Jodie Landau and Andrew Tholl have joined forces with Lemme to create a harrowing sense of urgency and, perhaps, approaching revolution. The earth tone costumes by Sami Martin Sarmiento unified the dancers and provided a sense of intensifying heat.

Future Memory is a quartet with four women costumed in gray. There are accents of red, green or blue lines along a forehead, an ear, a chin, down a spine or forming a triangle on an arm. It is an intriguing work that investigates how one’s thoughts influence what we do and how we remember certain events differently than others involved. At times, I wondered if these memories belonged to just one woman who is figuring out all the possibilities to a single problem, or whether they were a single memory remembered differently by all four. Maybe both readings were true. Lea Sands’ costumes added a rusty gray matter element, as if the memories were left unclear by the passage of time. Bryanna Brock, Amy Chihara, Diana Lasso and Yanina Orrelano gave very strong performances and the music of J.C. Scheid helped to create the desired tension. Although I understood the intention of Bryanna Brock’s lighting for Future Memory, the cues were often abrupt and intrusive to the point of becoming a light show rather than a lighting design to reflect the shifting of internal thoughts.

CalArts School of Dance Last Dance Concert 5-15-2013

The Assembly Dance was co-founded by Lara Wilson and Delyer Anderson and based in Orange County. HER, which I first saw performed at the Howl Event Space in Long Beach, felt unfamiliar until I remembered that at the Howl, the dance was performed in a small room that constricted the dancers’ movements. Of the two dances presented by Gise, HER is the stronger piece, but it is also somewhat of a mind bender. Is this one woman’s struggle with her need to be different? Is it four women competing for dominance or both. The answer is not important. The struggle to fit in or to out shine is made clear through the choreography and the text which is layered throughout the original score by Andreas Levisianos. The text is from the well-known 1949 book The Second Sex by the French existentialist Simone De Beauvoir. Gise’s movement is combative and fierce, with moments of tempting comradery that only end in deceit. Partnerships are formed, but always broken. The performers danced this work with great clarity and without fear. They were Mallory Fabian, Hannah Frankel, Kalynn Marin and Lara Wilson.

Jobel Medina in “Love Letter” – Acts of Matter – Photo by Rebecca Green

Lemme’s Love Letter just gets better and better. The relationships have become clearer, the dancers have embodied their characters and Lemme continues to listen to her muses and allows the work to reinvent itself. Subtle changes have given Love Letter deeper meaning and clarity. Some of the highlights were Taylor Worden’s amazing solo at the beginning of the dance and the heart wrenching solo by Jobel Medina to a song by Elvis Presley. The addition of Lenin Fernandez performing on a saxophone that descends from above, is a very nice touch that conveys a sense of sadness to the action behind him. Katie Istvan and Worden’s powerful duet that ends in a surprised lovers’ kiss, and Montay Romero’s solo at the end of Love Letter have both grow even more memorable, as has Joan Holly Padeo’s wispy version of Love Me Tender. Haihua Chiang and Shane Raiford also gave wonderful performances. Love Letter is filled with classic love songs by Richie Valens, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and others. The elegant costumes are by Liz Carpenter.

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Jeff Slayton

Jeff Slayton has had a long and influential career as a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Born in Virginia in 1945, Slayton began dancing as a child in order to correct his condition of hip dysplasia. He enjoyed a performance career in New York dancing for Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber and others. In 1978 he moved to Long Beach, CA. where began teaching at California State University, Long Beach as a part time faculty member. He became a full time faculty member in 1986 and continued to teach at CSULB until 1999. Jeff Slayton was one of the faculty members that helped design the Dance Center at CSULB as well as develop and implement the BFA, MFA and MA degree programs. While in Long Beach, he formed his own company, Jeff Slayton & Dancers, that operated from 1978 to 1983. He continues to stage works in the Southern California area. He is also the author of two books, “The Prickly Rose: A Biography of Viola Farber” and “Dancing Toward Sanity”. For more information on Jeff Slayton please go to www.jeffslayton.org.

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