March 24, 2015

Trip to LA, CA to attend Rochelle's American Contemporary Ballet company's lecture/demo on the dance form of Ballet

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Lincoln Jones, choreographer for the company, lectured on the fundamentals of dance that are incorporated into ballet.  One dance demonstrator faultered but made a quick recovery.

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My introspection:

During Saturday's 6 0' clock presentation, a dance demonstrator broke her fall by resorting to the basic step and jump of human locomotion, thereby avoiding her complete fall from grace.  The unfortunate incident served as an illustration on how, even as the adept ballerina performs at a level that seems to defy gravity, layers of muscle control and coordination from the most fundamental are operant in order to achieve  such complex aesthetic form and expression of the human figure.

-Rodney Chang, Ph.D., Art Psychology

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A review of a 'Dance and Design' lecture and demonstration by American Contemporary Ballet in downtown L.A.

Dancing a Balanchine ballet is hard enough. Explaining Balanchine aesthetics to a lay audience should be even harder.

But Lincoln Jones made the most complex issues seem like childfs play in a beguiling gDance and Designh lecture and demonstration by members of his locally based American Contemporary Ballet on Saturday in the intimate Gensler rotunda downtown.

Beginning with nursery rhymes and the simplest of movements, Jones showed how the relationship between music and dance could open what he called ga world of meaning and substanceh as well as gnew dimensions of thought.h

Accompanied by Chloe Kam (violin) and Stephanie Ng (piano), solos from Balanchinefs 1961 gRaymonda Variationsh were broken down to show the relationship between Balanchine's steps and the music by Alexander Glazunov.

Whatfs more, at one point Jones drafted an audience member (airline pilot Jim Buss at the final performance of the day) to illustrate the difference between poses executed by a non-dancer and someone trained in the intricate muscular relationships of ballet body-sculpture.

This foray into dance literacy faltered only when Jones tried to illustrate bad (or insufficient) dancing. Yes, everyone knew what he meant, but watching a fine dancer negate everything she had been trained to do simply wasnft convincing or pleasant. In a satiric context---a ballet such as Jerome Robbinsf gThe Concerth--- we could have enjoyed the deception. But as a demo, no.

Now in its fourth local season, the company ended the hour-long program by showcasing Rochelle Chang, Cleo Magill, Carrie Ruth Trumbo and Theresa Farrell in gRaymonda Variationsh solos that heightened the special heroism of classical dance---what Jones described as its gunrelenting defiance of gravity and inertia.h

At close range, Changfs steely elegance through every sharply etched shift of position or hop on pointe proved particularly impressive.

Afterward the event wound down in a reception offering wine, cookies, strawberries and a chance to meet the dancers, plus an opportunity to cruise the architectural wonders on display near the seating area.

Indeed, the Gensler space at 5th Street and Figueroa (reportedly donated to the company) provided a show in itself, especially its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a cityscape dominated by the Los Angeles Public Library.

One glass panel is inscribed with the image of martial arts virtuoso Jackie Chan, who jumped from that window in the 2007 film gRush Hour 3.h Breaking down Chanfs moves might be a worthy task for Jones in the future. However, his next American Contemporary Ballet forum (May 2 and 3) will explore the dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers---so dust off your top hat, white tie, tails and, above all, your tap shoes. Feathered gowns optional.

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