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Heads Up! LA Improv Dance Festival This Week!

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Jazz performers improvise in front of an audience all of the time. At each sitting, different combinations of instruments and players create unique variations of existing sounds and tunes or develop something brand new to our ears. It’s thrilling to listen to the artists search for their individuality within the known arrangement of tones, scales, rhythms and meters. Or, it can fall flat. Still, when you bring the best together, even flat can be amazing and beautiful.

The Los Angeles Improv Dance Festival (iD Fest 2008) is a gathering of movement improvisation specialists from all over the country. They’re here for a week long event at the Diavolo Performance Space in the Downtown Brewery Arts Complex. With classes for movers of all levels during the week, the festival culminates in three different open-to-the-public performances this Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoon (January 18-20).

What I find great about watching dance improvisation is that I get to witness the performer in her/his unscripted nakedness. I watch as she discovers movement and other solutions to real or pre-arranged scenarios. I get to look at the stage from her perspective and see how she deals with the challenges there. Sometimes a title in the program will tell me what her motivation is; other times, she will announce a concept I can hang my hat on and marvel as she explores that idea. Music may be a collaborating element, or the space, itself. There’s no limit to the jumping off points that each artist chooses.