By Steven Woodruff
“Celebrate Dance,” producer Jamie Nichols’ 9th annual showing of L.A. choreographers and companies has become the best snapshot of what contemporary dance in the city looks like. The program traced a thought-provoking trajectory from Marrow Dance soulful and luminous homage to humanity, “Brother,” choreographed by Jason Gorman and Nicole Hogg, to Glyn Gray and Nathan Sheen’s raucous, improvised urban tap mash-up for BPM beatsperminute, which came fitted out with a three man, live on stage band. It was the first time for tap as part of the popular program that offers a platform for companies on the contemporary dance scene.
LEVYdance (San Francisco) and Mizerany Dance (San Diego) were also in the lineup. Mizerany’s solo work “Tin Soldier” (music by Gorecki) which debuted in Los Angeles in 1994 got an emotional and muscular treatment as performed by Justin Viernes. “Holding Pattern” for three dancers made exceptional use of the dancer’s bodies and imparted momentum to create evolving, sustained, fluid movement. They danced inside a low-hanging matrix of suspended light bulbs.
SoleVita Dance Company (Joelle Martinec) in “Divine in Nature” ranged widely with music by Bjork, Glass, and others in an ensemble work with mythic overtones. In “NexuS 4/6” for Commonality Dance, choreographer Adam Parsons molded dancers in male and female phalanxes, riffing on shared and individual impulses. Both fused modern and jazz idioms in their work.
Ate9dANCE (“EXHIBIT a”) and Lollieworks (“Interval”) brought finely crafted choreography and deft, shifting patterns, and exceptionally inventive movement. “Interval” choreographed by Lindsey Lollie made masterful use of an eerie score by Paul Matthis. “EXHIBT a” by Danielle Agami, set to a minimalist Radiohead piece, featured a trademark high octane, omnivorous movement vocabulary. Two soloists, Rebecah Goldstone and Scott McCabe were exceptional. The program was lit by designer and technical director Eileen Cooley.