Body Traffic in L.A.

On Thursday night I was invited to an L.A. preview of Body Traffic‘s upcoming New York premiere. They’ll be performing in N.Y. at the Joyce (Chelsea) June 6th and 7th (they just received a $25,000 grant from the Joyce) as part of the Gotham Dance Festival, and I very highly recommend them.

Being new to L.A., this was my first experience with the four-year-old company (which is co-founded and directed by Tina Finkelman Berkett and Lillian Barbeito) and they weren’t at all what I was expecting. (I guess in L.A. I tend to expect to be surrounded by popular entertainment dance – hip-hop, the kind of contemporary modern showcased on So You Think You Can Dance, etc.) This company is more Batsheva, and the work is very intelligently choreographed and intelligently danced.

I don’t want to write much about the program right now; I’m just anxious for New Yorkers to see it and it’s work I think the New York critics will actually like, for a change!

The highlight, for me, was Israeli choreographer Barak Marshall’s And At Midnight, the Green Bride Floated Through the Village Square… which was kind of a cross between a dance and a play with multiple speaking parts (very funny, clever repartee) interspersed with ensemble dance. I loved it. Marshall gave an onstage interview during intermission. He has an endearing personality, as well as a beautiful voice. He sang a lovely, haunting-sounding song for us, in I think he said Yemeni, at the request of the interviewer.

Also on the program was Dutch choreographer Stijn Celis’s Fragile Dwellings, a poignant piece with four dancers dedicated to the homeless people of Los Angeles, and O2Joy by Richard Siegal set to music by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, and the Oscar Peterson Trio and just about the best homage to the pure joy of dance I’ve seen.

If you’re in New York, please do not miss them at the Joyce (June 6 & 7)!

To give you an idea, here are excerpts from an earlier Barak Marshall work:

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