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Vampires to Dance in Westwood on Saturday

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Photo courtesy UCLA Live and Helios Dance Theater

Photo courtesy UCLA Live and Helios Dance Theater
Opening up the UCLA Live dance series for 2010/11 season is the local contemporary company, Helios Dance Theater, led by choreographer Laura Gorenstein Miller. The group is the first Los Angeles-based troupe to grace the Royce Hall stage in a decade and they will premiere the seasonally-inspired Beautiful Monsters this Saturday night!

Promotional materials describe the new work as a “haunting dance dreamscape [that] reveals the furious abandon of a body transformed by magic” and it is performed by seven of the best movers in the area. Presented for only one night, the evening includes an array of high profile collaborators: score by Hollywood film composer Paul Canteleon, stage backdrop painted by visual artist Sharon Ellis and a hand-drawn animated film by the choreographer’s husband, Chris Miller. All of these Los Angelinos have lengthy film and TV accomplishments or a recognizable gallery and museum exhibition history. Possibly, all were enticed into this production’s theme—a look at the pop-culture obsession with vampire mythology.

Also contributing to the picture that we’ll see is costume designer Rami Kashou (from Bravo’s “Project Runway” and the creator of many celebrities’ red carpet gowns) and Grammy-nominated Scottish singer-songwriter Angela McCluskey. Principal dancer for the piece is Melissa Sandvig, who gained national acclaim in 2009 as the first ballerina to compete on Fox’s hit television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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Now, that’s the way to bring the local art workforce into live dance theater!

Helios has been around since 1996 and has performed in venues large and small, from REDCAT and the Getty Center here in LA to the Joyce and Lincoln Center in New York to London's Royal Opera House. Its director/choreographer has made dances for other companies as well as her own, including ABT Studio,and the Milwaukee Ballet and her work has been shown in several international locations. A few years back, I saw the company do an interesting take on the Diary Of Anne Frank and I remember enjoying watching the dancers undress while dancing full out around the stage. The image of sliding a sweater off while leaping has stayed with me for quite some time. Let’s see how this Halloween reference catalyzes the unexpected!

Click here for a preview and bring your cloves of garlic!