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Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

A Terpsichorean Take on the Great Gatsby

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

MIXED eMOTIONS THEATRIX Presents GATSBY REDUX

With a lovely introduction by Janet Roston, the Director, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Mixed eMotions Theatrix, standing outside on a beautiful California sunny day atop the Glendale Library and Arts Center grounds in Glendale, we are given a verbal road map about what we are about to see. The setting alone makes me want to take the trip already.

Such a beautiful location to watch dancers experience the freeing and exhilarating feeling of dancing or flying through the air with the freedom of no walls, barriers or roadblocks in and around natural surroundings with beautiful architecture and sculptured landscaping to form patterns around. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

This performance was filmed and presented over a weekend, the third of three, of dance activities at the Center on June 26 & 27, 2021. Absent last year because of the pandemic, it was at least safe enough to pre-shoot following strict Covid rules, although a little too early in the reopening of L A County to safely have a total in-person experience.

Through the cultivation, never-ending sponsorship and tutelage of Jamie Nichols, the Curator for these ever-growing assemblages of talent on display amid natural and pleasing architectural surroundings, has created a niche that I hope will continue to grow and thrive going forward. It is certainly a way we can reconnect with each other, as artists, lovers of beauty and expression, to strengthen community and shared interests.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center So thank you to ~ Jamie Nichols ~ and the Glendale Library Brand Associates Dance Series 2021

GATSBY REDUX is a compilation of scenes that give us a glimpse into the evocative and excessive world of Gatsby; the sights, sounds and excitations of the Roaring '20s, filmed throughout the areas within the grounds and in and out of the library interiors and exteriors. Based on the novel "The Great Gatsby," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, we are privy to the shenanigans and tomfoolery of Jay Gatsby, his lover Daisy Buchanan, her husband Tom, his lover Myrtle (you see where this gets complicated) and the Narrator, Nick Caraway. These were the days of wild abandon and exuberance, the birth of the flapper, and a titillation of women's freedom... an awakening of sorts...

It's a journey and presented in a 1920's cinematical way, which gives cohesion to each of the dance pieces. The perks of delving into history and authenticity, or rather the writings of a noted novelist have beautiful creative results, in this delightful portrayal of an era and an interesting time in history. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

Wealth, Power and Love are the main themes that run throughout the different scenarios, each at a different location explained through movement, and give life to the characters aforementioned.

This piece was constructed as a "site-specific immersive," work, meaning normally, the scenes and locations evolved by changing locations for each segment and the audience follows to each destination, but because of the pandemic the camera deftly does your audience participation for you.

And well-shot it is. Everything about this dance piece is well done, polished, with a cherry on top.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center Each section is first introduced on black-and-white film by a sign that you would see in the silent movie era introducing the next segment. Puts you right there, in the early 1920s. The tinkling, tinny sound of a honky-tonk piano plays "As the Guests Arrive"... A steady stream of couples making their entrances and dancing, jitterbugging their way toward the party. The guests (the dancers) are animated and fully into their flapper portrayals with excitement and energy pulsing through them.

"In Daisy's Boudoir"...or rather, right outside Daisy's boudoir, where we find her in a tizzy, running back and forth, distraught and nervous about something. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center Dancing, flitting about daintily and airily to a delightful ditty, "I Won't give up My Heart," we feel her dilemma.

"At Nick Caraways' House"... Two decked-out-in-white gentlemen dance a duet on the stairs, posing and using flowing movements with aplomb and style, sometimes in unison, sometimes as the initiator, sometimes the shadow. A lovely flapper suddenly appears, dancing her way lightly down the stairs, to join them in a playful repartee of movement.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

A '20s song plays as our flapper flirtingly poses and beckons to one of the gentlemen and a dance duet on the stairs ensues, as they capriciously romp together oh so happily and carefree.

"A Private Salon in Gatsbys' Mansion"... Under a sculptured archway another playful moment - In a pink crop-top and shorts, a dancer does an adorable Kewpie doll turn, skipping merrily and gesturing to the lyrics, as bubbly as champagne, hips swirling, brightly executing Charleston moves we all know and love. She's just a delight! Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

"A Spectacle for Gatsby on the Mansion's Front Lawn"... A trio of ladies in white begin a ceremony of sorts waving flowing banners of pink and white chiffon in formations and patterns, adding others, finalizing in the coronation of a lovely balletic soloist dressed in a bright yellow flowing dress, portraying the Goddess of the Wind, ethereal and graceful, being lifted up and carried forward as harp glissandos highlight her airy movements. All in front and lined up with a long row, going back, of very tall palm trees. A beautiful scene.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center I've noticed a captivating pattern in the choreography of Janet Roston's work. I have previously reviewed an excerpt of this piece that was done at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the past, as well as a bang-up production of "The Producers" she choreographed that was just sensational. Specifically, the abstract but purposeful placing of the dancers so that the camera frame, or proscenium view is giving us interesting asymmetric shapes and formations. It adds much to the richness of the jazz era, the syncopated dance done with your preferred music and cohorts, and the desperation lurking underneath for individuality and feeling relevant...

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center "A Hot Hotel Room"... Three couples are slow-dancing to a sultry muted trumpet, very amorously, the sounds of the trumpet heightening their senses as they press closer together, executing some very nice partner work and complicated lifts; some involving three or four dancers that I have never seen before. Very innovative yet keeping with the style of the era. As they are dancing and romancing, they dance through the exterior halls, stairs and archways. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

"Meet the Elite of East Egg"... Perfect scenery, absolutely perfect setting for a garden party gathering of the "upper class." Made to order. Three of the ladies are sitting, under expansive blue skies, upon a velvet chaise lounge, on the sprawling front lawn all decked out and enthused to meet their suitors. Three gentlemen stroll toward them across the lawn to a Honky-Tonk piano with an upbeat vibe which turns into a trio in a triangle, very cleanly and precisely performed to "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." They just have a merry time, posing, gesturing, swaying and acting "suave and debonair." This was one of my favorite numbers.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center Switching gears a bit, a sexy, moody blues song comes in, and they get down to business with their coed picnic on the grass. A series of solos and exchanges and some wonderful couch-ography heats things up even more. Another thing I noticed, watching this performance, never did I want to look away ~ the interesting and researched choreography, the ever-changing patterns, tempos and genres all kept me engrossed. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

The use of many lifts, which, unless they are done really well, is usually not a good idea. In this case, the technical capability of the dancers had the opposite effect, and in partnership with the excellent choice of musical selections and the creative and spot-on costuming, this endeavor was so satisfying.

"Tom & Myrtle in a NYC Low Rent Hotel"... Myrtle and Tom's seductive pas de deux gets steamier and more tempestuous until the bitter end (of the number). Their tryst waning, Myrtle takes solace in her sister, as they two of them dance together to a lamentful song, moving expressively and technically proficient.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

"An Entertainment In the Mansion: Cabaret"... Cute and entertaining, four lovely ladies in one-piece lingerie dance on the landing of the exterior steps to a jazzy, jitterbug tempo, exuding everything this era stands for. Ms. Roston's choreography always manages to be joyful, and all of her well-trained dancers understand that. It's a joy to see a performance where everyone is genuinely enthusiastic doing uplifting and eye-pleasing movements and feats, full out and all in. Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

"An Intimate Meeting"... Daisy, all in white, alone, inside, awaiting an arrival, whirls up a curved stairway, showing her emotions through her movements and longingly stares out a window...

Jay Gatsby arrives and they dance until interrupted by her husband Tom, who struggles with Gatsby and a fight ensues.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

And as the garden party continues, the party guests make the most of their frivolity and merriment with fierce commitment, dancing away.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center

You can view and learn all about MeMT (Mixed eMotions Theatrix), their performances and upcoming events at: http://memtheatrix.com/gatsby-redux.html or http://memtheatrix.com/index.html.

Directed and choreographed by Janet Roston, Assistant Choreographer Sarah Wines, Costumes by Allison Dillard, Edited by Kate Colman and Music Editing by Brian Lucas and Mark Governor, all were top notch and made the variety of scenes gel together perfectly.

Review: Mixed eMotions Theatrix Presents GATSBY REDUX  at Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Center The fabulously enjoyable Dancers were Camal Pugh as Jay Gatsby, Tiffany Wolff as Daisy Buchanan, Michael Quiett as Nick Caraway, Daniel Valentine as Tom Buchanan, Sarah Wines as Myrtle Wilson, Annika Alejoasas as Jordan Baker, Olivia Perez as Catherine, Jacqueline Hinton as Goddess of the Wind, and Jesse Klick and Hana Bible, Ensemble.

Photos courtesy of Barry Weiss, Ellen Herzog and Jamie Nichols.



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