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Stephen Petronio Dances Back to Royce!

photo of Stephen Petronio Company by Steve Schriber
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The New York-based Stephen Petronio Company returns to UCLA Live this weekend for a pair of performances honoring the acclaimed company's 25th year anniversary and, as the choreographer says, "[ride] the awesome and unpredictable force of now." Inspired by natural events that "affect us from without and within," I Drink the Air Before Me,has been described in the New York Times as "a sonic ephemeral wave...ferocious speed, rigorous structure and dancers who ravel and unravel like ribbons."

Collaborating with contemporary composer Nico Muhly, Petronio describes the piece as moving from "a calm world through swelling peaks . . . and onto an invocation . . . of calm and hope." He attributes the title to a line from none other than William Shakespeare's The Tempest, but makes it clear that there is no narrative in the work. Hmmm . . . glad he clarified the lack of a story line. Otherwise, it almost sounded romantic, which is, perhaps, the last thing I'd expect from this explosive dancemaker.

What excites me about Petronio's body of work is that he and his dancers can start fires onstage with their brilliant machinations, there's always something moving and I can feel the energy up in the $5 seats. The company has performed throughout the world at all the most prestigious venues and their visit with us is in the middle of their west coast tour. So, let's catch 'em while they're hot!

Drink some of THIS and head over to the westside!