Tonight I was able to take class with my absolute favorite people! Okay I know I say that a lot, however LA Contemporary Dance Company has a very special place in my life. Every single member of this group is extraordinary. The energy they bring and the beauty they create through their work is just exquisite. A simple improv session with them can change your whole day around. I was lucky enough to perform in a show with them this last winter called Urban Nut. It was a twist on your ordinary Nutcracker and man was it a ball! The lovely Kate Hutter directs the company. This evening she reminded us of what it’s like to sense things in the body. Instead of trying to ‘look’ different, it’s better to sense and feel what your body is inclined to do.
Mmm now this seems to be the theme of my entire week!
On Monday I was able to train under one of Israel’s Batsheva dancers. Now if you haven’t heard of the Batsheva Dance Company, I highly suggest you do some research! I first heard of this Israeli dance group in College. Ohad Naharin – director and creator of one of this preeminent contemporary company – believes in finding movement from within. One of his dancers, Shahar Binyamini, happened to be teaching at the Edge and ML this week. Thanks to Tasha, I heard about the free class being offered to the public. In fact her mother Irina is the reason why it even happened. Thank heavens! This form of dance is iconic. Might I add that I worked Ohad directly while studying at the University of Utah. He had a residency for a few weeks in our department, and I was able to take class from him two to three times a week. Ah!
Ohad’s method is ‘about making the body listen.’ He even created his own movement language, knows as Gaga technique (no not Lady Gaga).
‘Gaga is an experience of freedom and pleasure. The work improves instinctive movement and connects conscious and unconscious movement, and it allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way, in a pleasant space, in comfortable clothes, accompanied by music, each person with himself and others.’
The quality and simplicity of the movement is so incredibly gorgeous and organic. It just makes sense. Nothing is forced. It is all about efficiency and sensation. He wants your body to feel warm on the inside, while appreciating both understatements and exaggerations. Ultimately it is about becoming more aware of your body and all of its parts and systems, with everything being based on feeling. Take a look for yourself: http://youtu.be/qD8R4yj3f1s
All of this makes me think about how small-minded we can really be. Seriously think about it. There are so many artists and dancers in the US who honestly don’t know what is going on out in the world. People have a tendency to get stuck in one style and one way. Even if the dance world is growing out here, we need to know what people are doing elsewhere. Often, what others are creating is completely innovative and we can really learn something from them. After all, we have to be open to that. This also ties in with knowing where and what you’ve come from. Dance history, or the story behind anything that has been created, is extremely important. I believe it to be completely necessary in our knowledge and training behind our craft. If you want to be an expert in what you do you have to know everything about it, and I mean everything.
Speaking of history, I was privileged to experience the Pantages Theatre for the first time this week. Now that is one special place! Primarily it was a movie house for many years, until television cameras brought the Oscars to this beautiful building. Decades later, it still maintains it’s character and luxury. Although it has been restored and refurbished, the theatre upholds the same look, as it’s original creation. What’s even better is that I got to see The Book of Mormon Musical with my amazing roommates! Back in September they gave me a ticket to see this musical with them for my birthday. Talk about the best gift of all time! Obviously since I am from Utah, I found it to be quite hilarious. Matt and Kevin were so excited to see it with me because they knew I’d get many of the inside jokes. As soon as they mentioned Elder Cunningham (my Mom’s maiden name), the Florida mission (where my brother is) and the Utah Jazz (my previous employer), I was in for it. Literally I did not stop laughing the entire time. Five minutes in and two hours later I was still rolling. It is so accurate it’s scary! Now I don’t want to offend anyone and I won’t mention my view on the religion or my beliefs but I will say this: If you can’t make fun of yourself and what you know, then you just might be taking your life a little too seriously. Everyone has a different lifestyle and you can’t help but make fun of some of the things we say and do. I mean come on!
Live a little
Laugh some more
Know your roots
Realize what’s out there
Be a part of this crazy, remarkable life and world around us.
Love us! xoxo