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Home > Dance Events Review

LA Contemporary Dance Company Review

LA Contemporary Dance Company Presents: Modern Myths and Monsters

"Clippings", "HyperSuperUltraNow", "The Wagon Train is Divided" and "Animus"
Diavolo Dance Space at the Arts Brewery, April 19th

Tonight was going to be raw. I could feel the vibe when I entered the building. It was the official stomping grounds of Diavolo Dance Company, but tonight LA Contemporary Dance Company was going to be here performing their World Premiere Spring Repertoire. The space was intriguing: it was a costume/ prop storeroom, a concession stand, an artist loft, a rehearsal area, a stage… and a seating auditorium. All performing arts buildings have these elements, but this one was completely translucent, and un-compartmentalized. It was an open closet, magnificent, a photographer’s dream. I arrived early since I’m notorious for getting lost in my very own home-town city (shhh don’t tell anybody). I just wanted time to absorb the atmosphere.

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
Photo by Sise Photography

Soon thereafter people started arriving; a unique, fascinating and engaging crowd summonsed by LACDC. Fellow dancers, artists and industry folk inevitably added to the ambiance. The buzz of the crowd and the low, intimate stage, hinted that I was going to witness something really special.

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
LA Contemporary Dance Company's Kate Hutter and Kevin Williamson: Photo by Sise Photography

Michelle Mierz, the Executive Director, anxiously and proudly initiated the show with a few words, while a mischievous dancer (otherwise known as Kevin Williamson), cruised out to straddle Michelle while she spoke. Not a moment after Michelle concluded, the music crashed in and out sailed Kate Hutter (LACDC's Artistic Director), the other half of the duo who created Clippings. This smart comedy was a smorgasbord of amusement. Bits of vaudeville surfaced as did thoughts of Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy. The cheeky wit of the choreography, paired with the London inspired costume selection, painted a milieu of times passed. Clippings can be described as dance with amnesia: stories would begin just as fast as they were abandoned. As Kate (the spitting image of Goldie Hawn in Shampoo), playfully invaded the personal space of her beau, an automatic reciprocal would meet her delight. She was simply whimsical and charming, while Kevin remained devilishly charismatic. The duo was just brilliant, a real pleasure to watch. As it concluded, I realized I had been smiling unconsciously.

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
Kate Hutter and Kevin Williamson in Clippings: Photo by Sise Photography

Now to change the mood entirely, Kate decided she would pair Clippings, with her new twenty-seven minute masterpiece in the first Act of the show. Introducing: HyperSuperUltraNow. If you weren’t prepared to evolve, tough; this piece will lift you upside down, dump everything out, and throw it all back in (completely out of order). This colossal piece produced energy like a desert storm. From the placid and angular movement of Michael Crotty, to the robotic, emotional fits of Natalie Hurter; the fidgety, bold movement of the eight dancers lent itself to another dimension. It not only communicated the unspoken truth of our collective internal landscape, but it demanded revolution. This was the Holocaust of the human spirit on display. A powerful, eye opening piece that not only pushed the bar of expression, but of technical ability. The crisp, dense progression of movement revealed an awakening from spiritual sedation. The costumes were fascinating and ever changing. The restricting, white space-suits were stripped off, to bare colored fabric-pieces (that hung from the sternum of a tan body suit) creating the illusion of an abstract spiritual metamorphosis. Kate Hutter is a true pioneer, a kinetic alchemist. This magnum opus needs to be presented in a larger forum asap!

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
HyperSuperUltraNow Group Photo: Photo by Sise Photography

After the break, and one champagne cocktail later, I settled into my chair for the second act, starting with The Wagon Train is Divided choreographed by guest artist Mecca Vazie Andrews. Boy was this was a different ride. This trancelike piece was a cross between Cabaret and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. The costumes and colliding plots were so incredibly opposite in fashion, that it was surreal. Paulo Alcedo erupted in a whirlwind frenzy (as master of ceremonies), amongst the backdrop of the 18th century. He took a peek into the life of westward explorers/pioneers as they struggled with the subliminal figures of their mind's eye. The goal of this piece was to represent the “effects of westward expansion and the effects of social constructs of humankind”. In my mind, that was only one of the stories. This was a bizarre playground holding so many games/stories that I didn’t know which I wanted to play/listen to first. I think the piece pleasantly evolved into much more than intended. It was a unique and original composition.

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
Michael Crotty and Devin Fulton in The Wagon Train is Divided: Photo by Sise Photography

Bringing the last Act to a close, Animus, choreographed by Nichol Mason, gave a few final thoughts to chew on as the night ended. The focus was the subconscious of a cruel human spirit, and the ability it has to block or damage another. It portrays the guard one tends to create and the harmful gridlock that can occur in certain circumstances of emotional abuse. The dancers were one hundred and twenty percent committed to the inner dialogue required of them throughout the piece. The energy was thick and heavy, I could slice it with a knife!

LA Contemporary Dance Company, Kate Hutter
Animus group photo: Photos By Sise Photography

On that note, I was ready to change scenes, get some food, and discuss the events of the night. The only thing I wanted to be slicing was a quesadilla… It was certainly a ride and I walked away knowing I’d be seeing much more of LA Contemporary Dance Company. Not only for compositional review, theoretical exploration and reflection, but for pure and simple enjoyment. It’s so bizarre how they even began, that alone sparked my interest. Interested in their story? Visit www.lacontemporarydance.org and click on history.





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