When we got the call from Leigh Ann Hahn (wait, a text? a Facebook message?) asking us if we wanted to curate an evening of dance, our response was immediate: Are you kidding? Yes! Yes to free, outdoor performances! Yes to accessible arts! Yes to being a part of the far-reaching vision of global performance that has inspired L.A. for more than 30 years!
We called upon four dance artists who we think everyone should experience, and gathered them for a visit to this stage. Inspired by the open, circular form of the Marina Pavilion, we put together this program we call No Side Now, honoring the borderless visions and insightful repositions that connect the work of tonight’s four choreographers. These artists celebrate dance’s capacity to deflect, refract and repurpose a viewer’s presumptions in works that abandon boundaries and blur binaries.
Each of the artists here tonight offers multifaceted dances that revolve around the complex ways our identities are expressed and perceived, contained and re-framed. Through physical and formal experimentation, they create works that draw upon movement styles from wide-ranging sources—including street dance, studio practices, and girlhood games—to construct spacious new visions of what we can, and do, embody.
—George Lugg & Miranda Wright
Director, Los Angeles Performance Practice
Milka Djordjevich // ANTHEM (excerpt)
Choreography by Milka Djordjevich
Performed by Laurel Atwell, Jessica Cook, Dorothy Dubrule, Devika Wickremesinghe
Music by Chris Peck
Costumes by Naomi Luppescu
Questioning contemporary dance’s predisposition towards neutrality, authenticity and the de-sexualization of the female body, ANTHEM embraces theatricality, virtuosity and the performance of invented female personae. Four dancers strive to perform multiple contradictory tasks, while gradually taking on gender-bending alter egos. Set to an original score by Chris Peck, ANTHEM attempts to dismantle the gaze through its reclamation, with dashes of pizzazz and a deadpan sense of humor.
Milka Djordjevich is a dance artist motivated by a desire to blur the distinction between “dance” and “non-dance” by attempting to un-choreograph choreography and to choreograph spontaneity. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues including REDCAT, Machine Project, HomeLA (Los Angeles); the Kitchen, 2010 Whitney Biennial, American Realness Festival, Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project (New York); and at venues in Berlin, Belgrade, Paris, Vienna, Milan and more.Djordjevich was a Movement Research Artist-in-Residence and a danceWEB Europe Scholar.
Chris Peck’s music explores voice and friction, both as material and metaphor. Each voice expresses an identity, as well as the body’s hid- den aspect—an extension of the breath stemming from internal actions. This material is explored directly in relation to the movement, as well as through the abstractions of amplication, recording, and layering.
ANTHEM is commissioned by the Chocolate Factory Theater and Los Angeles Performance Practice and premieres as part of the LAX Festival in October 2017. ANTHEM is produced in partnership with LAPP.
• • •
Micaela Taylor // POPMADNESS
Created by Micaela Taylor
Performed by Sam McReynolds, Julienne Mackey, Austyn Rich, Micaela Taylor
Music by Beytone, Black Peace; Nipsey Russel, If I Could Feel; Ø - Metri, Twin Bleebs.
Micaela Taylor and her company The TL Collective have gained a reputation for formal precision and a distinctive movement style that freely interwinds contemporary dance with theatrical hip hop and popular forms. In POPMADNESS, Taylor and her dancers forge a hip, millennial fusion of shape, line, and gesture, with a virtuosity fueled by the energy of a generation—one wired for infinite intersections and far-reaching connections.
Micaela Taylor is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Los Angeles, where she trained at Marat Daukayev School of Ballet and Los Angeles County High School of the Arts. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance in 2014. Upon returning to Los Angeles, her choreographic passion led her to found her own company, The TL Collective, in 2015. Her distinct movement style, which incorporates hip hop and contemporary techniques has emerged as a style she describes as "Contemporary Pop." Taylor has been commissioned to choreograph and teach a range of regional companies, and her work has been presented internationally, and on the West Coast at Highways Performance Space, Gelsey Kirkland Performing Arts Center and Raymond Kabaaz Theatre.
• • •
Amy O’Neal // OPPOSING FORCES: SOLO REMIX
Choreographed and performed by Amy O’Neal
Music by WD4D, originally created for Opposing Forces
Jacket design and construction by Wazhma Samizay and Danial Hellman of Bobojan
Special thanks to Stefanie Karlin, Ben Zamora, Amiya Brown, Wazhma Samizay, Danial Hellman, Waylon Dungan aka WD4D, and the dancers who co-choreographed the show this solo is based on: Michael O'Neal Jr, Fever One, Brysen "Just Be" Angeles, Mozeslateef Saleem, and Alfredo "Free" Vergara. Eternal gratitude, love and respect for you.
In OPPOSING FORCES: SOLO REMIX Amy O’Neal takes to the stage with her signature curiosity, vulnerability, and force to reflect on, and reexamine, her most recent group work, Opposing Forces, developed in collaboration with a company of b-boys. Following its multi-city U.S tour, O’Neal remixes and recasts her original choreography, which confronted fears of the feminine in the hyper-masculine world of breaking, into a solo that navigates the complexities of physical, cultural and creative power.
Amy O’Neal is a physically multi lingual movement artist based in Los Angeles. As a dancer, choreographer, movement director and educator, she equally participates in street and club dance culture, along with contemporary dance and performance. She is passionate about the intersection of these forms while honoring their unique and complex histories. A sought after artist for eighteen years, she teaches and performs nationally and internationally, choreographing for stage, commercials, live music shows, galleries, dance films, and music videos. Her work is an amalgam of her diverse movement and life experiences presenting social commentary with dark humor and heavy beats.
The source for this solo, Opposing Forces, was co-commissioned by On the Boards, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the National Performance Network, and created with support from the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, James W Ray Project Venture award through Artist Trust, and 4 Culture.
• • •
d. Sabela grimes // ELECTROGYNOUS (excerpt)
Choreographed, composed and written by d. Sabela grimes
Performed by Nina Flagg, d. Sabela grimes, Brianna Mims, Austyn Rich
Video art by Meena Murugesan
Digital illustration by Mr. Maxx Moses
Through a synthesis of ancient AfroFuturistic soundscapes, video projection, and kinetic poetics, ELECTROGYNOUS circulates speculative realities that counter historically imposed notions of femininity and masculinity. Imagining the inclusion of liberated Black bodies at the center of the work’s “now,” ELECTROGYNOUS renders a dynamic testament to the multiple worlds that Black people simultaneously inhabit.
d. Sabela grimes is a choreographer, writer, composer and educator whose interdisciplinary performances reveal physical and meta-physical efficacies of Afro-Diasporic cultural practices. A 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, his AfroFuturistic dance theater projects consider invisibilized histories and grapple with constructed notions of masculinity and manhood, while conceiving a womynist consciousness. His continually evolving movement system, Funkamentals, focuses on the methodical dance training and community building elements evident in black vernacular and street dance forms. He is currently Assistant Professor of Practice at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
Meena Murugesan is a choreographer, dancer, video artist, and arts educator based in Los Angeles. Meena creates experimental non-linear narratives with moving images at the intersection of live performance, video art, and activism. Meena is currently designing multi-channel video installations for live performance with Marjani Forte-Saunders, Sita Frederick, d. Sabela grimes, D'Lo, and Nicole Klaymoon's Embodiment Project.
ELECTROGYNOUS was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and will be presented as part of the LAX Festival in October 2017.