Saturday, November 20, 2010

Irvine Valley College's Dance "Perspectives"

My lunch hour detour to Irvine Valley College's relatively new performing arts center far exceeded my expectations. Full disclosure: I'm not an enormous dance fan. I appreciate it as an art form. I've even seen some of the great artists & companies live, like American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, to name just a few--plus plenty others on video. It just takes a lot to keep my attention riveted, as I'm a verbal-oriented person, which is why theatre has been my artistic medium.
That being said, I responded to an 11th-hour invitation from Marie de la Palme, IVC's Artistic Director, to attend this hour-long performance of 6 short pieces with brief remarks by the choreographer of each. I had met Marie for the first time a few months ago in the ArtsOC offices, but was not familiar with her work.

I have to say that what I saw convinced me that Marie is an extraordinarily gifted choreographer--5 of the pieces (all very different) were hers, and each was substantive in content and in style but, most of all, clear--something I find so often missing from dance works I experience. Some of her pieces are exceptionally acrobatic, and she was fortunate to have two men and a woman who were fully capable of executing her moves.

The one piece by guest choreographer Teresa Avina, "Unplugged," had a terrific concept in which the dancers were turned on and off again (symbolized by light fixtures on their costumes). Avina spoke of wanting to show the distinction between the two: on=robotic, off=fluid. In actuality, there was not as sharp a delineation between the two styles as I thought was called for, but it may have been her intention to be more subtle.

Here's to more lunchtime arts experiences!

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