Backstage building, courtesy of Karen Sherman @ CAP UCLA


Los Angeles dance fans have been tickled by Matthew Bourne’s front/backstage machinations in “The Red Shoes,” now on at the Ahmanson Theatre. Bourne cleverly uses a freestanding, and rotating, proscenium arch to physically separate the backstage drama from the show-biz pizzazz of performance.

It’s a timely moment, then, to seek a smaller-scale, perhaps quieter, variation on this same theme. That will be explored in “Soft Goods,” the choreography of Karen Sherman this Saturday evening. The show is this season’s opening dance presentation at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.

Sherman, a Minneapolis-based dance maker, uses real-life backstage workers and dancers in the setting of a tech rehearsal to lay bare bare the behind-the-scenes intricacies of a dance performance. “Soft Goods” illuminates the choreographic elegance of manual labor, the loneliness of theaters, the spectral beauty of a lighting focus, and the human hand behind all stage activity. The work has been described as an examination of work, life, and loss. It sounds pure, purposeful, and good.

photo credit: Sean Smuda

Karen Sherman Soft Goods | Freud Playhouse, UCLA | Oct 7

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