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Arts and Entertainment

Coming Home to Wasteland!

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Oni Dance to perform Wasteland

Maria Gillespie has been dancing in LA for the past dozen years, exciting audiences with her strength, power and fluidity in the work of other choreographers. Forming Oni Dance in 2005 to showcase her own dance-making, the company has performed in venues as prestigious as the Getty Center, REDCAT, the Ford Amphitheater and Highways Performance Space, as well as several other venerable locales. The company has spent the last two years bringing work to New York City and returns this weekend with their latest evening-length dance, wasteland ( arrival.

A project for the four member company with original music by LA-based collaborating composers Ginormous (Bryan Koniezko), Deru (Ben Wynn) and contributors Lusine (Jeff McIlwain) and Tim Hecker, the new work is performed in the round at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club. Promotional materials say that this dance is about grappling and about making sense of an unfamiliar territory whose borders are untested. Though Gillespie says the dance is inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, wasteland "creates its own world with its own idiosyncratic characters."

Considered one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2005, the artist’s work has been supported by grants from the Durfee Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and honored with four Lester Horton Dance Awards. In her last local show at the Ford, she dimmed the lights and brought the audience gently into her unpredictable world, surprising us with a moving sculpture and dancers hanging on and around it. This new piece sounds viscerally and intellectually intriguing and definitely worth the trip to Santa Monica.

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Who: Oni Dance
What: wasteland ( arrival
Where: Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 4th St. Santa Monica 90401
When: January 23, 24, 25 Friday/Saturday 8pm, Sunday 7pm
Tickets: $20, $17 students
Purchase tickets at, or reserve for will call at

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Photo credit: Scott Grolan

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