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Arts and Entertainment

What Happens When You Take the Word 'Bittersweet' and Choreograph a Dance to it??

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photo of David Rousseve/REALITY by Jorge Vismara

photo of David Rousseve/REALITY by Jorge Vismara
Dance/theater creator David Roussève has come a long way from his Texas/Creole roots. He and his LA-based company REALITY have been invited by a small conglomerate of sponsors and presenters to present Saudade in Freud Playhouse as part of the UCLAlive current season this Wednesday through Sunday night. A Herb Alpert, COLA and Guggenheim award winner, the artist has performed all over the world, though his company hasn't performed live on the stage at all in the last ten years.

This new work was created as an ode to the idea of "bittersweet," the single moment when the greatest joy and agony are experienced together. The word saudade, itself, is a Portuguese expression used to convey the longing, wistfulness and nostalgia inherent in Fado music, the blues music of Portugal. Unfolding through the juxtaposition and fluid intermingling of dance and spoken word, the mosaic of images, stories and movement emanates from a uniquely southern, African-American perspective (Roussève's) that is grounded in folklore, historical fact and personal experience.

Performed by a small world of eight movers from disparate global locales, each with expertise in their own cultural dance form (including Bharata Natyam, Indonesian and West African dance styles), the evening length dance/theater piece includes monologues written and spoken by Roussève, contemporary music, traditional Portuguese music and mystical video images of flight, the night sky and the southern bayou. Exploring the complicated intersection of postmodern dance and traditional world dance, the work has been touring throughout the US this year, earning many favorable reviews in the process.

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Not surprisingly, Roussève is currently a member of the faculty at UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department. Though he teaches here in our own backyard, these performances offer a rare opportunity to see locally made professional dance/theater that's served on the national stage.

previews of what's to come: