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Arts and Entertainment

NOW Festival Continues with a 'Dancerly Daring & Visually Provocative' Trio of Troupes

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NOW Festival 2010
photo of Rae Shao-Lan Blum & Tashi Wada by Mark Lannen

photo of Rae Shao-Lan Blum & Tashi Wada by Mark Lannen
After the opening week of performances at REDCAT’s 7th annual New Original Works Festival, I get the picture more clearly. Articulately described by curators as “a vibrant performance laboratory,” I now see that as a “heads up.” Be prepared for just what that means. Though the artists selected from the throng of applicants come with good credentials and great ideas—on paper—not everything always works on the stage. In the tradition of true artistic progress, however, the performers, composers, writers, multi-media-ists and dancers/choreographers are diving into new waters. It’s the way all things move forward, push the envelope and aspire for bigger, newer and better. And, I think it’s part of the REDCAT mission.

This week’s show, which opens for three nights on Thursday, sounds dancerly daring and visually provocative! Starting off with Christine Marie & Ensemble’s optical feast Ground to Cloud, the program moves to a collaboration from choreographer Rae Shao-Lan Blum and composer Tashi Wada entitled Systems of Us and on to hip hop dance theater with Raphael Xavier’s Black Canvas.

Christine Marie and her collaborators investigate the history of electric light using live actors, an innovative sound score and large-scale imagery created by simple handheld lights and props. Self-described as “an incandescent work of expressionist theater,” Marie and her colleagues blend projected shadows, religious folklore and magical trickery to create what the LA Times calls “a literal ocean of surprise.” Click here for a preview.

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Follow that with Blum/Wada’s interdependent movement and musical scores for three dancers and five musicians. Systems of Us presents a structure of “spontaneous elegance” as the performers delve into the complexities of what their promotional materials call “intimacy interrupted.” Choreographer and composer “weave repetition, disruption and transformation into a vigorous exploration of the nuanced negotiations that keep relationships alive.” Click here for the teaser.

Oh, and there’s more.

Master break dancer Raphael Xavier propels a narrative into conventional breaking as he continues to lead the vanguard of hip-hop dance theater in Black Canvas. Previously a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement and now a co-founder of olive Dance Theatre, his new work draws parallels between the performer's body and the stage itself. Click here for a preview.

Let’s see how this all turns out and back those artists as they open the gates!