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The dancers who lunch

By Kristin Aoun

April 9, 2008 9:04 p.m.

Lunch does not usually include a heaping side of dance, but the world arts and cultures department is serving them as a combo.

Today at noon, dance and lunchtime will come together with “Talking Dance,” performed by Simone Forti and Carmela Hermann, as part of WAC’s In The Garden series.

“The Garden series celebrates creativity,” said Lynn Dally, UCLA WAC professor of tap dancing and producer of the In the Garden series. “It gives students a nice taste, an introduction. It’s good to taste different things.”

Dally was asked to produce the series three years ago, after the renovation of Kaufman Hall, as a way to utilize the Kaufman Family Garden Theatre that replaced an existing courtyard.

This new and unconventional performing space consists of a dance room with one slide-away wall that overlooks the garden in the center.

Usually WAC faculty and graduate students perform in the six stylistically diverse dance presentations each year, which often include short question-and-answer sessions. All of the events are one-hour long and free for everyone.

Hermann, who earned her master’s in choreography at UCLA in 1999, will perform “Talking Dance” along with Forti, who has been teaching improvisation in the WAC department at UCLA for the past 10 years.

Forti is a dance revolutionary acclaimed for her creation of the narrative and improvisational dance form “Logomotion.” Forti first created the dance form as a way for dancers to connect what they are thinking with how they are moving.

“Often our words don’t have access to what we know in our bones and our dances don’t have access to what’s going on in our minds,” said Forti. “It is not mime or symbol gestures for things, but it is more noticing how your body is energized by a jump in thought.”

“Talking Dance” will include two solos as well as a duet, all performed to speech instead of music. The duet will be an improvisation for Forti’s “Logomotion.”

“We try to pick a subject like food and just try improvising and speaking. Like if you are going to talk about potatoes, your body feels different than if you are going to talk about a souffle. Why not roll around in a salad?” said Forti.

The duet will loosely explore Hermann’s daily life with her newborn baby and Forti’s recent interest in her own family history, contrasting new and older family generations.

Hermann will be performing an autobiographical choreographed solo, examining how anything can happen at any moment, which utilizes what she learned from Forti as a student at UCLA.

“As I tell the story, I name the body parts that I am moving so that there is the juxtaposition of storytelling and naming of the physical actions,” explained Hermann.

Next month’s lunchtime performance will be a significantly different flavor, with a hip-hop performance by Rennie Harris on May 15.

As Dally says: “Let’s have some tasty dancing for lunch.”

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Kristin Aoun
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