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Puppets, Music & Dance Conclude REDCAT's NOW Fest

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photo of Michel Kouakou by Aba Pge
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photo of Victoria Marks courtesy of the artist
The third and final weekend of the New Original Works Festival (NOW) at REDCAT unfolds tonight with uniquely different live theater and dance contributions created by three (really four) artists from our own backyard.

The puppet theater company Tandem collaborates with Timur Bekbosunov and his band the Dime Museum to concoct Zoophilic Follies, a new puppet opera that probes the mythic mind of Daedalus, the legendary inventor of Icarus' ill-fated wings and the craftsman who fashioned the confounding Labyrinth of the Minotaur. Promotional materials reveal that against Kurt Weill-inspired songs written by Daniel Corral, the two adventurous ensembles will shine the solar light on the innovator’s legendary strengths and fatal weaknesses.

In Sack, choreographer and solo performer Michel Kouakou/Daara Dance seamlessly glides through movement derived from both traditional and contemporary African dance to connect the everyday with the dark, the dead and the unknown. As a burlap bag sways between the metaphoric seen and unseen, the artist shifts from sharp and precise action to arresting moments of suspension.

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Considering loneliness and loss as well as life fully lived, Alpert Award-winning choreographer Victoria Marks sets the intimacy of a delicate motion against a larger canvas of collective action in Smallest Gesture/Grandest Frame. Citing a nuzzle at the neck, a collapsing body, “archeological artifacts” and formal arrangements for nine performers, Marks claims to reveal and shed individual moments of humanity in her new work.

Now, this is something quite different from this year’s preceding two NOW programs: movement-based explorations and puppet theater. Marks’ work has a strong history in the dance world, and this is her second NOW production. Kouakou has been described in the New York Times as “a luscious dancer”, and the LA Weekly calls the Dime Museum “architect[s] of tension.”

Check out these clips and head below Disney Hall! Michel Kouakou, Victoria Marks, Timur and the Dime Museum.