Yes, it’s sad. It’s a sad moment. The closure of a boutique dance company, a precious organism, is depressing especially if it is for just one reason: it’s too hard to keep it going. That is the difficult decision choreographer Jessica Lang reached after seven years running her well-respected Jessica Lang Dance (JDL).
Los Angeles is one of 19 nationwide cities, in 2019, to give the company a worthy send-off. The swan song for JDL will take place Tuesday, March 5, at the very dance-friendly house of Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre.
Lang launched Jessica Lang Dance in 2011, doing what comes naturally to any choreographer: gathering a klatch of hand-selected dancers to work with, people who are simpatico to the particulars of your look, feel, style, message. She had already established herself as a freelance gun for hire, contributing pieces to major dance companies around the world. At those top shops — — Lang’s fluid creativity gave birth to nearly 100 ballets. They display what critic Susan Reiter described in the Los Angeles Times as “Lang’s lucid vocabulary, which draws equally on ballet and modern dance, her gift for craftsmanship and her flair for incorporating visual design elements into her work.”
She told Reiter: ” After about 10 years of that, I just started to question myself. I was thinking, ‘Is there anything else?’ I was creating as many as 12 works a year. It was nonstop and exhausting.”
Now, it seems, like Trey McIntyre a few years before her, running her own company on a meagre budget that straddles the precarious line between paying dancers and having staff to help, she has opted to throw in the towel.
Since it is always different, and actually a superior experience, to see a choreographer’s own company — with these dancers she has clocked hours, she has hand-picked soloists, she has repeated and honed her repertory. So it’s a big event, a major call to action to journey north on the Pacific Coast Highway for the March 5 performances of Jessica Lang Dance. I’ll be there. Please join me.
Jessica Lang Dance | Pepperdine Smothers Theatre | March 5