Duckler dancers to scale tall ships of Port of Los Angeles


Full immersion is the typical call to action of a Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre site-specific happening. That’s what attracts her adventure-seeking audience. But next Saturday night, when we attend Beyond the Waterfront, Duckler’s latest site-specific work, we hope it does not require a plunge into the deep dark sea at the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro.

At least not for viewers.

The dancers, on the other hand, can be expected to serve Duckler’s mission. For she is the droll dance-dominatrix-of-all-destinations-Los-Angeles.

The one-night-only public performance marks a collaboration between unusual partners: the Duckler company, LA Opera and the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s Tall Ships in San Pedro. Another project partner is marine research incubator, AltaSea.

So what does all this maritimey stuff have to do with art? Duckler has fashioned “a dance opera of sirens and sailors” to take place on two tall ships and the wharf. Composer Juhi Bansal, and three singers from LA Opera will perform alongside the six Duckler dancers.

Just to add another dimension, Beyond the Waterfront pays to homage Leonard Bernstein’s inimitable music for ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) by inhabiting the circumstances in which the iconic film was shot: on the docks, longshoremen working in the background, and all the natural sounds of the port — birds, horns, water and wind. Seems like a stretch  … except that any occasion to hearken that searing soundscore is a good one for me.

Beyond the Waterfront | Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre (with) LA Opera | City Dock No. 1, the oldest pier at the Port of LA | June 24 only

Leave a Reply