Review: L-E-V’s “House” of dance invention @ REDCAT

Dance · featured · Reviews

Not since Dawn of the Dead did as stricken a posse of emaciated weirdos tromp before your eyes — all the more disturbing to experience, in real time, at REDCAT performance space. The stalwart black-box theater is rendered even more dark by Avi Yona Bueno’s gorgeously murky lighting design for “House,” choreographer Sharon Eyal’s futuristic ballet for Israeli dance troupe, L-E-V. We highly recommend “House,” which gets two further performances this weekend.

Gadi Dagon1The work’s simple name is misleading; it’s a little house of horrors. It’s the freaky configuring of Eyal, a 23-year veteran of Batsheva Dance Company, along with her collaborator, Gai Bahar, a producer of disco-raves. What a treat to see this Batsheva alum’s work just weeks after viewing the Mother Ship itself at Royce Hall in Ohad Naharin‘s magisterial “Sadeh21″ [review here]. Naharin’s deep-digging Gaga technique gets even further excavation from Eyal’s bone-skinny, highly precise dancers.

This wicked, unforgiving and groundbreaking work, set to sound artist Ori Lichtik’s techno music score mixed on site, receives pinpoint, cult-like interpretation by L-E-V’s dancers. Not only does Eyal stretch her dancers’ physicality to a new level, but she matches our weird universe (the one that lurks outside the theater) beat by beat. “House” is very now, which means it’s very scary; it’s just as harrowing as a click onto NPR news at five pm. And it offers as little comfort. I love watching dance move into that realm, being real, less escapist, reflecting through artful body language the destruction and decay of our society.

When the bearded man saunters on stage clad in designer Odelia Arnold’s leather body stocking and high spike heels, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re in Los Angeles being confronted by our troubled civilization — the woes of which words have failed to assuage– through the power of dance.

photo: thank you New York Times, Gadi Dagon for L-E-V

L-E-V House | REDCAT | thru Sunday Nov 23


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Pre-Thanksgiving ballet weight gain @ Segerstrom Center

Dance · featured


This stunner of a high-attitude position, poised on a set of million-dollar legs comes from Mikhailovsky Ballet ballerina Veronika Ignatyeva, as Cupid, in “Flames of Paris.” The French Revolutionary ballet, first created in Stalinist Russia in 1932, will be on view Nov 28-30 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts over Thanksgiving weekend. The production, in a restaging by Mikhailovsky ballet master Mikhail Messerer (from original choreography by Vasily Vaynonen to music by Boris Asafiev) promises an excursion in a time capsule back to high-Soviet hijinx, if such a thing ever existed.

Critical word from New York is very positive. And an alluring photo features arts·meme darling Ivan Vasiliev waving le drapeau français to spur the troops, or in this case the troupers. (We last saw Vasiliev considerably less costumed.) In short, nothing would keep us from hurtling southward to ‘Moscow on the 405 Freeway,’ Segerstrom Center for the Arts, where The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming.


In separate news, the Segerstrom Center has struck a key strategic alliance with the faraway land of New York City, teaming for teaching with our national ballet company, American Ballet Theatre. It’s the creation of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School on the Segerstrom Center campus in Costa Mesa, to open September 2015. 

The school, which ostensibly will tap a talent pool of young dancers who cannot access New York, carries the name of Orange County philanthropist William J. Gillespie, a generous donor to the Center for much of the institution’s history and a member of ABT’s board of directors since 1999.

It stands as the second recent infusion of New York dance pedogogy into our market, the first, directed by Benjamin Millepied, exists at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles.

The Flames of Paris | Mikhailovsky Ballet | Segerstrom Center for the Arts | Nov 28-30

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High culture at the movies, courtesy of Laemmle Theatres

Dance · Film · Music · Theater · Visual arts

At the other end of the civilization spectrum from AFI Fest’s recent pepper-spray incident (ironic, isn’t it, that fisticuffs broke out at a screening of a new bio-pic about British painter William Turner), is the marvelous roll-out, now in its third month, of Laemmle Theatre’s “Culture Vulture Mondays.”

The series is just one way that the civically and community-minded theater exhibitors are actively working to maintain and upgrade the shared movie-viewing experience for their public. [A similar cultural enhancement is “Free Popcorn Thursdays.]

Laemmle picks the best from the worlds of ballet, opera, stage, and fine art to feature on the big screen Mondays at 7:30pm at every Laemmle location. (Discounted encore presentations run Tuesdays, 1pm.)

Nov 24/25I due FoscariOperaRoyal Opera House
Dec 01/02ManonBalletRoyal Ballet
Dec 08/09The Vatican MuseumExhibitionThe Vatican
Dec 15/16The NutcrackerBalletVienna State Opera House
Dec 22/23L’elisir d’AmoreOperaRoyal Opera House
Dec 05/06Il TrovatoreOperaBerlin Staatsoper
Jan 12/13A Midsummer Night’s DreamStageGlobe
Jan 19/20Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandBalletRoyal Ballet
Jan 26/27Hermitage RevealedExhibitionThe Hermitage
Feb 02/03La Forza del DestinoOperaNational Theatre Munich

The Laemmles continues to add dimension to the theater-going experience in other creative ways. We wish to recommend an in-lobby art exhibit, part of the theater chain’s “Art in the Art House” program overseen by Marc Horowitz and curated by arts·meme friend Joshua Elias. The mission of this alternative gallery concept “reclaims” wall space throughout theaters for the display of fine art, introducing notable and emerging L.A. based visual artists and their work. Through year-end, hanging on Laemmle Playhouse 7 walls is “Mappings,” the works of Chinese-born artist Xi Hou, who subtitles her show, A Dynamic Abstract Language Maps Our World.

xi-hou paintingXi Hou, “Today No Rain” acrylic on canvas 16″x20″  2014


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Dance · featured · Reviews
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Dance · Music
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