Classically trained dancers. Klezmer, Ladino, and jazz music. A man lip-syncing to an Ella Fitzgerald song. High school students from all over Los Angeles. This amazing mix came together on Wednesday, October 29, during a performance at the Skirball by local dance company BODYTRAFFIC.
BODYTRAFFIC was founded in Los Angeles in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett. It was recently named the “Best up-and-coming dance company” by LA Weekly, “the company of the future” by The Joyce Theater Foundation, one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch in 2013,” and “Best of Culture” by the Los Angeles Times.
This performance was typical of our school performance series in which we offer music, theater, dance performances, and film screenings that bring diverse groups of students together to explore culture, history, and identity with world-class performing artists.
In order to whet their appetite for the performance, we asked students to respond to some questions about dance. These questions got them thinking about dance as a mode of expression and how it factors into their own lives. Here is a sampling of the students’ responses:
|What does dance mean to you?||When was the last time you danced?||What types of dance do you know?|
|Dance is a way to express yourself||In the morning||Tango|
|Feelings||When I was little||Ballroom|
|Everything||I twerk when I can||Cumbia|
The first piece, an excerpt from and at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square… choreographed by Barak Marshall, explored gender roles and the push-and-pull dynamics of romantic relationships.
In the second piece, dancers wowed the audience with a mash-up of disparate dance styles—breakdancing, ballet, and contemporary—in a selection from their newest work: once more before you go by choreographer Victor Quijada.
The final dance included selections from a suite of dances called o2Joy, an exuberant homage to American jazz standards, by choreographer Richard Siegal. In it, the dancers spun, swayed in pairs, and proved that it is possible to fly in our Ahmanson ballroom! Continue reading