If you were to assume that Jacques Heim, the bold and much-praised founder of the Diavolo Dance Theater was a choreographer, no one would blame you. Diavolo is, after all, a dance company, and Heim, a roguish Frenchman who talks quickly and passionately about his art, seems to fulfill all the prerequisites of the profession. But you would be wrong, at least according to him.
Choreographer Heidi Duckler isn’t content simply to make works for a stage. To her, the whole of Los Angeles, the whole of the world, even, is fit for dancing. Why leap across a theater floor when you can glide around the lobby of an office building? Why spin atop sprung wood when you can frolic in a laundromat?
When artist Sharon Lockhart traveled to Israel in 2008, she wasn’t searching for Noa Eshkol. The Israeli dance composer and textile artist was not well-known outside her own country. In fact, Eshkol isn’t terribly well-known within Israel, where companies like Batsheva, Inbal, Bat Dor and the Israel Ballet hold far more cachet than Eshkol’s humble troupe.
Barak Marshall didn’t want to be a dancer. A lawyer, a singer, a scholar — anything but a dancer. “It was what she did,” Marshall says of his Yemenite mother, Margalit Oved, the one-time prima ballerina of the Inbal dance company, a giant of the dance world. And so he resisted. He sang in a choir; he went to Harvard and studied social theory and philosophy. But like most stories in which a man tries to flee his destiny, the world had other plans.
At an airy dance studio in the San Fernando Valley, couples dressed in black moodily tango across the floor, stopping in frustration now and then. Hadas Fisher stands out: She’s wearing a bright coral dress, dangly gold earrings and a brilliant smile. Her dance partner, an elderly gentleman, is 3 inches shorter than she is. Fisher guides him through the cha-cha with a gentle patience.
A sell-out crowd packed the American Jewish University’s (AJU) Gindi Auditorium on April 3 and watched as Rabbi Zoë Klein of Temple Isaiah tangoed her way to the inaugural “Dancing With the Rabbis” trophy. An ecstatic Klein, cheered on by her family, wowed the audience with her passionate routine with professional partner Daniel Ponickly.
Dancers simulating the behavior of horses gallop across the stage, stepping, prancing, tossing their heads as though shaking their manes. Their performance is mixed with spoken text, music and vocals in “Tov,” a dramatic dance work by choreographer-director Rosanna Gamson linking her Jewish heritage with the attempted reviving of the extinct Tarpan horses by the Germans in the 1930s. The work has its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall’s REDCAT through March 27.
Courtesy of Diwon, the artist formerly known as DJ Handler and otherwise known as the executive director of Modular Moods and Shemspeed.com, comes this fresh mix of pop, hip-hop, electronica and . . . Yiddish?
It is not a secret that many beachfront homeowners in Malibu have a disproportionate sense of ownership of the surf and turf that fronts their properties. They pay millions for the illusion that they own the beach. It's also not a secret that they don't.
At 52 and the new dean of California Institute of the Arts dance program, Koplowitz is currently preparing to make his Los Angeles debut with what he calls his most ambitious project to date
Spring arts calender.
Calendar Girls picks, clicks and kicks for February 16 - 22
Next July 6, more than 1,000 Lithuanian folk dancers decked out in authentic woven costumes, representing close to 40 dance ensembles, will perform the windmill, the scarf dance and other traditional dances at the XIII Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival, hosted for the first time in Los Angeles.
Brief descriptions of upcoming events.
Ethan Margolis, co-founder of Arte y Pureza (Art and Purity), a Seville, Spain-based flamenco troupe, says three influences stand out as soon as you begin reading about flamenco: Sephardic, Arabic and Indian.
Since she began her career in the 1970s, Suzy Evans has been on a mission to educate the public about a dance form "that is so much more than what you might see in a restaurant or in a class." As the founder of the now 11-year-old International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED), Evans is producing her fourth "This Is Belly Dance!" concert at the Ford Amphitheatre on Aug. 11.
Café Danssa opened for business in December 1965 on a nondescript block of West Los Angeles on Pico Boulevard. The name of the business was a morphing of the first three letters of Dani Dassa's first name and the last three letters of his last name.
Ohad Naharin, choreographer of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company credits a back injury with helping him develop a new language of dance.
7 Days in the Arts
Considered one of America's leading and most distinctive contemporary dance companies, Hubbard Street will display its trademark eclecticism when it debuts at the Hollywood Bowl on July 25.
Choreographer Keith Glassman always wanted to learn more about his grandfathers and why they both pursued boxing careers in their youth. Known for dances that blend natural, athletic movement with sociological commentary, Glassman decided to make a piece that would allow him to explore whether other Jewish men in his grandfathers' generation also boxed "to make money. I was surprised to find out that there were a lot of Jewish boxers," he says. "It was an immigrant's way of trying to make it in America."
Jewish Tango Cabaret -- a performance at the New JCC at Milken in West Hills on Saturday, May 13.
For 2,000 years, Jewish music has been a hybrid compounded of elements picked up from our neighbors. Salamone Rossi created Italian Baroque settings of Hebrew texts. Chasidic niggunim drew on Viennese waltz music and Eastern European military marches. Sulzer and Lewandowski wrote like German Protestants. In the Diaspora, Jewish music has always been a hyphenate.
7 Days in the Arts
It is not only illegal immigrants for whom the Passover tale holds appeal. The story of the Exodus can be easily updated for any of the numerous people in the Third World seeking freedom from oppression.
Not that there's really any question about it, but bang Improv Studio poses it just the same. In the arena of funny, only one religious group can reign supreme, and tonight, bang hosts its biannual showdown of "The Jews vs. The Christians" for the title of Funniest People.
When they first started dancing together, Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras used to lock themselves in a studio for somewhere between five and seven hours a day. Together, they tried to make their bodies react in "authentic ways," irrespective of how high they could jump, how fast they could turn or any other techniques their dance training had already taught them.
Saturday, February 4
It’s the year of the gay cowboy, so why not the privileged lesbian? Head to the Geffen Playhouse for the Los Angeles premiere of David Mamet’s, “Boston Marriage,” titled after the Victorian euphemism used to describe a long-term, intimate relationship between two unmarried women. The play about two upper-class women involved thusly is also directed by Mamet and stars Rebecca Pidgeon, Alicia Silverstone and Mary Steenburgen.
Through March 12. $35-$69. 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-5454.
Sunday, February 5
Israeli musician Ehud Banai comes to the Avalon Hollywood. Hear songs from the folk/rock/traditional songwriter’s album, “Answer Me,” which won Best Album of the Year at the 2004 Israeli Music Awards, and other favorites tonight only.
9 p.m. $45. 1735 Vine St., Hollywood. (323) 462-8900. www.groovetickets.com.
The dance, called "Missa Brevis," premiered the following year in a bombed-out church in Budapest and would become a masterpiece of the Limon canon. The June 1958 issue of Dance Magazine declared "it has been a long time since modern dance has produced a work so profoundly stirring and exalting." Carla Maxwell, artistic director of the Jose Limon Dance Company since 1978, called it "one of those rare, perfect dances. Poland moved Limon profoundly, and from it, he created some of the most glorious choreography."
There were always Jews in punk, even before there was punk.
"It really begins with Lenny Bruce," says Steven Beeber, whose new book "The Heebie Jeebies at CBGBs: A Secret History of Jewish Punk," will be published next year by A Capella Books. "Bruce sort of epitomizes the attitude, the whole smart-ass, clever truth-telling."
In fact, the punk attitude is also a Jewish attitude that begins with the midrash, in which Abram smashes all but one of his father's household idols and blames the sole survivor for the wreckage.
7 Days in the Arts
As a 50-year-old white high school teacher, I'm well outside the hip-hop demographic. I can't dance, have increasingly little fashion sense, and can't pull off the permanent scowl required by the true hip-hoppers. But here I am, in the packed and noisy Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, wondering if these two Jewish guys got some innate rhythm sense that I don't. And wondering if I can stand the embarrassing spectacle if it turns out that they don't.
7 Days in the Arts
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Arts in L.A. Calendar
Opportunities to view Jewish-themed dance by contemporary choreographers, however, do not occur every day and, in the case of Duckler, "Narrow Bridge" represents the first time she has explored issues of Jewish identity.
Our most beloved alien alights on planet Earth once again as Steven Spielberg's "E.T.: The Extraterrestrial" screens under the stars tonight in Pasadena.
For a more tolerable Barney that the kids'll still enjoy, take them to the Geffen's Saturday Scene this morning.
At every age, we must be connected to life's fun side, and Purim, the boisterous and tumultuous holiday that begins this year at sundown on March 24 and celebrates the triumph of the Jews in ancient Persia over enemies determined to destroy them, gives us that opportunity.
I thought about the implications: I take this tie, and my hands are tied. I'd forever have to remember that one night a Palestinian gave me an expensive tie, and that he was nice to me. I'd have to question all my stereotypes and generalizations, and recognize that there are good, normal, generous Palestinians who just want peace, who just want to be my friend, who just want some fun.
Get straight talk this afternoon, followed by dance, comedy and more talk in this weekend's "Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival: Roots and Identity."