BWW Review: REVELATIONS UNDER A FULL MOON MOON& BY SZALT (DANCE CO.) at The Ford Theatre
I would classify szalt Dance Company as avant-garde, eclectic, modern in approach, sound, philosophy and technique. Though not my specific style of expertise, I was fascinated by the exploration of ideas, body movement and thought processes the dancers expressed. Stephanie Zaletel is the founder of szalt (dance co.), after much experience as a dancer, rehearsal director, teacher and now choreographer. The company was formed in 2015, which purpose it was to examine the feminine psyche, that includes body memory after trauma, reaction to other people's energy and feelings, and letting free haunting memories to be able to move forward.
The six rock-solid technicians that make up this tight company of terpsichorean wizards are: Stephanie Zaletel, Sarah Prinz, Amir Rappaport, Lindsey Lollie, Eden Orrick and Mecca Romero. They are all strong, purposeful and driven performers, with the stamina of an ox. The piece, although listed in sections, mostly blended together to become a continual thread of evolution, signified by the full moon out that evening (August 26th, 2018) and the symbolic lighting, formations and attitude of the dancers. Some say the lunar body in our sky has an affect of a magical or whimsical nature, a forceful pull if you will, changing tides and currents and in general, messing with the normal order of things. That is one theme I felt throughout the performance, as some of the physical reactions to certain movements bordered on weird or tweaked out emotional-embodiment, a sort of momentary freak-out or spasm, that either resolved in a collapse to the floor, or the transition to a different physical position of understanding or acceptance and strength.
For the most part, the choreography was very angular, off-center; reaching... stillness, bursts of energy, slow-motion movement leading to discovering... new nuances and balance in between movement and standing still, emotive, with much pantomime mixed in with modern dance poses and positions. Each dancer gets to stand out individually while we are moving through the eight phases of the moon: New, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter and Waning Crescent. And then back into New. The cyclical patterns we move through in life.
That it is all a mystery, to all of us, and we are ever searching for a new phase of existence to fit our changing needs, seems to be the message imparted, but as an observer, I can't really be sure. We reap what we sow, and we borrow from the past, hoping for the wisdom and endurability we'd like to present into the future.
Part of the audience was seated on the sides of the main stage, although I did not see why this was necessary, as they did not interact at all with the company and it's performance.
Moon& was made possible with generous support from Jim Rodney and Case Van Rij and was created in residency at Loyola Marymount University and LA Dance Project's inaugural 2245 Choreographic Residency.
Lighting Design, by Pablo Santiago-Brandwein was interesting and effective, Sound and "Music," by Louis Lopez and Jonathan Snipes matched the sense and style of the choreography, but left me wanting some sort of melodic tie-in to help my senses feel more connected. It all seemed a bit sterile, in it's effect. The Costuming, by Stephanie Zaletel and Sarah Prinz, was simple and useful, giving the dancers full range of motion for the acrobatics, extensions, deep plie's and pitches being executed.
This was presented for one evening, on August 26th, 2018, at the Ford Theatre.
Exploratory, Experimental, Evocative and Evolutionary are terms to ascribe to this Enthusiastic, hard-working and Energized dance company, and the Creativity involved will hopefully shape new works for the future.
Photos by Timothy Norris, courtesy of Ford Theatres