Saturday, July 28, 2007

Guangdong Nights

I am completely enthralled with season 3 of "So You Think You Can Dance" and I really like Mia Michaels modern dance routines. Her costumes can be somewhat distracting but some of her pieces are so lyrical and moving. And my dance vocabulary is increasing with each episode now (I can comment on a dancer's musicalityfor example). And these kids are really good. Danny is power and grace in motion and Sabra is about as radiant as a shining star wrapped in pixie dust.

So when I saw that the Guangdong Modern Dance Company was going to be a part of this summer's season of Grand Performances I put it on the calendar. The wonderful thing about the Grand Performances summer series is that the venue is the Water Courts of the California Plaza on Grand Avenue, and that it's always free. You show up with your picnic and a bottle of wine and enjoy wonderful and unusual performances as twilight hits the city skyline.
From what I read about the Guangdong Modern Dance Company is that it is the first modern dance company in China. The Artistic Director is renowned and award winning. And this is their first time in Los Angeles. The performance took place in two acts; the first called Heaven and Earth inspired by poems from the pre-Tang to Song Dynasties. Now I have no idea what that means but it says that these poems were full of passion and feeling. Unfortunately that didn't translate to the dancers. The movements were beautiful but I felt a distinct lack of feeling and emotion. No one broke through the routine to bound out of the synchronicity and precision of the routines. It was more gymnastic than lyrical and moving.

One routine though was pretty striking where the principle dancer was center stage with her skirt stretched to the far corners lake a net keeping her bound to the earth. It was performed mostly with her back to the audience and in a low cut dress her back, long neck and graceful arm movements were
emphasized beautifully. The second act was called Upon Calligraphy. The passages of movement were again slow and precise. I kept waiting for some one to break free and soar, but it never happened. Still is was a beautiful night and a rare opportunity to see this dance company from China in our little town.

When the performance was over we walked around and took shots of the Water Court, the still closed Angels Flight, the Walt Disney Concert Hall down the street and its fine gardens, which was a special treat to see at night, nicely lit with a centerpiece fountain made of a mosaic of blue and white china shaped like a huge water lily or something with pools of cool water resting within its petals.
More on Flickr from me and my Sweetie.

No comments: