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Company Ea Sola visits Royce Hall

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Anticipation was high as people entered Royce Hall on Friday to watch Vietnamese-born/French-raised choreographer Ea Sola bring her company of eight dancers and five musicians to the stage in their Los Angeles debut. They presented “Drought and Rain Vol. 2” and I don’t think this turned out to be what people expected.

It wasn’t a European, Asian or American company filled with athletic virtuosi, dramatic visuals and a densely layered product. The music, composed by Nguyen Xuan Son, was spare and supportive without being insistent. The movement was simple and often pedestrian, sometimes balletic and frequently laced with idiosyncratic and repeated gestures that, I think, sought to reveal an emotional quotient from the effort and commitment of the performer. It was group choreography with eight modest soloists.

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“Drought and Rain Vol. 2” began in silence with a stage-wide video image of Asian (maybe Caucasian) eyes that searched the space. Underneath, the dancers entered one at a time from the wings at both sides of the stage. They walked in sideways with their faces to the audience and mostly in silhouette. Eventually, some turned to face profile and continued walking in bare feet and on half toe. It was quiet, unfettered, yet somehow aimless, as if each performer wasn’t sure where he or she was going. Or not sure on their legs.