The weather was dark and dismal last Sunday evening for the opening of Stephanie Zaletel‘s spooky site-specific “ghosts,” a dance performance that took place in one of L.A.’s most happening art lofts. While the rain fell on York Avenue in Highland Park, a nice crowd found cozy respite by cramming into moryork gallery’s many nooks and crannies to make way for Zaletel’s new dance-cluster, Szalt.
The loft houses the curios and assemblage-sculptures of tchotchke-king Clare Graham (we have written admiringly about Graham here), who crafts excellent art works and off-beat furniture from found objects and materials — most famously shrink-wrapped teddybears, buttons, beer can snaptabs, tin cans and scrabble tiles, all bound by bundles of glue and string.
Clad in a sexy version of your grandpas’s long underwear, the Szaltists jumped up on cabinets and counters, gave out zombie stares, and hand-held audience members in forays out of their chairs.The whole thing, lasting less than an hour, was nicely matched with sound and enjoyed a resilient structure … it was a surprise to learn the company numbered only five so rapidly did they scooch and scurry around in surprising ways. The dancers port the kind of super-stretchy dance technique that looks like they sleep in yoga positions. “ghosts” was nice, comfortable and excellent, a fun immersion-tour around a strange visual planet. It was doubly fun for the presence of Stephan Koplowitz, himself a pioneer of the site-specific genre who must have exerted influence on the proceedings; several of szalt’s dancers emanate from his degree program at California Institute of the Arts, aka CalArts. Also putting her soulful gaze on ‘ghosts’ was choreographer Danielle Agami of whose troupe, Ate8Dance Szalatel is an alum. The high-priestess influence of Agami, herself such a great dancer as well as one of our best choreographers, was in evidence.
ghosts by szalt | moryork gallery, highland park | march 8
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