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Edward Scissorhands lived near Los Angeles

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It's CalArts lore -- and most likely true -- that Tim Burton, an alumnus of the art institute in Valencia (now a neighborhood in the later incorporated City of Santa Clarita), based the setting of Edward Scissorhands on the dichotomy between the blessed cookie-cutter Mormon Los Angeles bedroom suburb and the psychedelic Playboy-rated party art school on the hill. Even today, while Santa Clarita has become more diverse and the school has become less liberal (well, in terms of orgies at least), the juxtaposition is still there.

You're too "out of the box" a man told me on the Red Line subway ride after the dance version of Scissorhands at the Ahmanson when I told him that Matthew Bourne has never excited me as much as Alvin Ailey did or how it didn't interest me in the same way Merce Cunningham can. Of course I liked it "weird", I went to CalArts just like Tim Burton and after four years of composing music for dancers' avant-garde movements, it trained my appreciation for dance a bit differently then the general audience's.

However, as the WeHo man on the subway pointed out, Bourne is for the masses and I agree with that. As everyone left the theatre, they carried a smile that felt like it would take them to the water cooler the next day. And after a standing ovation that forced the cast three bows (maybe it was four), you knew LA was in love.

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While I always enjoy my time watching a Bourne dance, I do find his strength in telling a story through movement is like no other. You do not need to see the movie before seeing the dance unless you want to see the small variations in the story. Every emotion and character trait is smacked in your face without saying a word.

In all, Edward Scisscorhands is visually beautiful. From the solid dancers on stage to the Valencia-esque vanilla skies, Bourne will pour LA denizens in and out of the Ahmanson theatre with ease. If it isn't already sold out, best to act fast.

Photo by Bill Cooper