Monday, September 23

Dance, music unites for purification of art

Dance, music unites for purification of art

Ballet, orchestra appear together at Schoenberg Hall

By Rebecca Zell

Like listening to "Vivaldi on the beach," uniting classical
tradition with modern style is a simple idea which produces strange
and wonderful results.

With electrifying results, the Los Angeles Modern Dance &
Ballet and the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra perform this blend of
classic and modern this weekend.

Instead of attempting to tell a story, the LAMD&B will
showcase purity in dance ­ moving for the sake of dance
itself, rather than moving for the sake of carrying a theme.

Every gesture and step in pure dance defines itself. The
immediacy of this kind of movement is thrilling. The Los Angeles
Modern Dance & Ballet embraces classical dance styles while
masterfully combining them with unusual settings and modern

In an ideal match, the LAMD&B will be accompanied by the
Illustrious Theatre Orchestra: five chamber musicians who blend
clean, minimalist style with classical traditions.

The two companies seem to be made for each other, as both groups
have made a special study of the absolute.

"Absolute music has no story, it is just pure sound. Our pieces
are about music itself, rather than about symbolic meaning or
themes," explains Shane Cadman, artistic director of the
Illustrious Theatre Orchestra.

The 6-year-old post-modern chamber ensemble is made up of tenor
and baritone saxophones, keyboard, violoncello and clarinet. They
have been influenced by Philip Glass and Michael Nyman, especially
in leaving more traditional, academic music.

The totally original compositions of this company’s three
composers are exciting and "more immediate to audiences," says
Cadman. The group emphasizes the composers as artists. Their music
speaks about itself, making one look at forms and gestures within

Both companies excel in this kind of pure experience. Working
with the ITO is "constant discovery. It is entering into an
experience," says artistic director Naomi Goldberg. She compares
her experiments and achievements in dance and choreography to
"listening to Vivaldi on the beach.

"It is taking a classical form out of the past and being able to
put it anywhere. Experienced purely and now, classical movement and
sound can exist anyplace … in a gym, on the street, in sneakers
or on a formal stage.

"We are embracing the idea of concert dance, and it does not
matter where that happens, as long as we have strong dancers and an
enjoyment of the art."

The LAMD&B is fortunate to have as a guest artist for this
performance Nicholas Gunn, former principle dancer with the Paul
Taylor Dance Company. "Nicholas is an extraordinary dancer," says
Goldberg, "He is a very rich mover, and an amazing performer."

The two will appear in one duet together, as well as in separate
pieces, most of which were choreographed by Goldberg.

Her style evolved out of a classical dance vocabulary. She
became attracted to certain movements and certain groupings of
dancers. Gradually her choreography became known for its clean,
modern feeling.

"In the end, we are all hoping for some kind of emotional
statement," she explains.

Indeed, this is the essence of "pure" dance. The dancers seek
the emotional components of the dance, and how these classical
structures can be made appropriate at any point.

PERFORMANCE: The Los Angeles Modern Dance & Ballet will
perform with the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 4
at Schoenberg Hall. Admission $22, $18, $9 for students. For
tickets please call CTO at (310) 825-2101

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